Story’s Setting – Where to Begin


Knowing where you are is as important in everyday life as it is in story. Much like a building’s address, the setting of your story lets the listeners know where they are going and what they can expect when they arrive. Through the vehicle of story, the storyteller transports their listeners into the physical reality of story’s journey. Story’s location and characters live in the physical reality of story. They too have emotions, lives and physical and emotional challenges like any of us experience.

When developing a story orally, you have only a few simple sentences to quickly bring your listeners into the reality of your story’s setting, unlike authors who can fill pages or even chapters about the setting of their stories. Storytelling happens in the moment. It can’t be repeated, re-run or bookmarked for future reference.

In the beginning of the story as well as the ending of your story, a few carefully crafted and memorized sentences will ensure a strong start and the arrival of your designed ending or story’s destination. The middle, just like any road map, the roads, waterways, back alley’s or fight patterns depends on you the storyteller. As in life, as in story, there are many roads to get to a single destination.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Listeners – Story’s Fertilizer!


Storytelling is an interactive art form. One which can not exist or happen without a listener. The interaction between you, the teller, and the listening members of your audience ignite and liven the images of your story’s story. For in the moment it is told, the world of story becomes the listener’s living reality. A story, like our experiences in life, can never be duplicated or experienced in the same way again. The faces of story are as varied as the faces of our audiences. Each time we tell our stories the words, their impact and the audience’s responses will be unique to this moment in time.

Grab a listener and ignite your storytelling jet packs. Take a few minutes and think of a few people who are able to listen. Listening meaning no talking, no editorial comments and no unsolicited remarks. Their job? To listen. To simply listen. Once everyone is assembled, tell your story. Enjoy. Watch and take note. In this moment your story will grow in unexpected ways. Images will become clearer. Your voice tone and canter much stronger. See how unexpected and unrehearsed bits of humor, internal dialog, and moments of awareness or newly inspirited story-line twists and turns happen when you tell and retell your story. By seeing what your audience is hearing and the unique gift of this audience’s interaction, your story’s story-line continues to bloom. Also how easily your story ripens and grows inside of you; the teller.

In the early stages of my story’s development, I ask my responsive listeners to just listen, as I tell my story. Other times, as my story continues to grow and unfold inside of me, I ask, “What do you like about the story? or What did you like about this experience?” Again, I am not asking them for a cirque. I am simply asking what they like about the story and/or the experience. Storytellers through the responses of their listeners are able to see what others are hearing. Storytelling is an interactive, experiential journey into the world of story and the vivid reality of is characters and their lives.

This may also be a great time to secure the services of a storytelling coach. Information on storytelling coaches can be found online or through the National Storytelling Network.


Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!


Words: Do They Speak the Same Language?

Words, the only thing that oral language and written language have in common, yet each one possessing their own kind of life impacting, story filled magic!

Word, a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.

Storytelling – oral language, expressing the timelessness of now, connecting life’s passing moments to future’s infinite streams of possibility.  Voice’s heart sinking, unspoken meaning: That tone – busted, no further explanation required. The “wave of fear” – courtroom’s witnessing verdict. “I love you” between two lovers in passionate embrace. Human expression, gestures, eye contact, voice tone, facial characterization and physical language takes one beyond the scribed letter of any written word.

Literature – the written word: “All the magic of writing is conveyed with those five kinds of elements. All the passion, logic, imperiousness, inevitability and humor of written language is shaped, like sculpture, from the simple clay of words, punctuation, typography, pictures and materials.” Master Storyteller Doug Lipman

Until next time . . . let a Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Armed with Nothing but a Handful of Quarters . . .


Every day brings each one of us so many unique and amazing stories to both share and tell!

We have all been there. Watching our time pieces in fear of the dreaded swing of the parking meter’s arrow. Its ill-fated consequences should we dare go over our allowed, pre-paid time limit. Looking at our watches, we gasp. It’s later than we thought and the metering meter is farther than expected. Rapidly surveying all possible. all most immediate and all practical building entrance and exit options and wishing we had a spare parachute for just such an emergency, we run.

Torn between the professionalism of our trades and the desperation of meeting our doom at the hands of an unknown, often unidentified ticket bearer, the second option talks the lead. Choosing to leave rigid and motionless clutches of professional uncertainty the metered race continues. Unstoppable we race down towering flights of stairs, across semi-vacant rooms littered with people and through hinged doors. Coming face to face with the elements we race on. Our goal, to get there before anyone else does, with our pocket full of quarters.

Yet, unknown and never will be known to any of us, a man, in a simple brown suit armed with a hand full of quarters secretly and effortlessly impedes on the city’s parking violation funds. Without a cape, or a telephone booth to aid in his hidden identity changes he stealth-fully walks down the street, one parking meter at a time. Coming around the corner, continuing on to the road ahead, he stops. He stops next to metalized chunk of rubber-wheeled, motorized containment, called transformation. The very kind and the very one that got you to your current location. Like those meters before, he once again drops in a small handful of quarters just seconds before the parking meter’s ill-fated, needle pointing, predetermined expiration times. Hat’s off and flags a waving to this mysterious man in brown, who walks just footsteps ahead of city’s hired, meter-ticketing collections agent.


Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Story Harvest – Daily Conversations

24034069-circuslionsI love sitting around large gatherings of people and listening in to their conversationally inspired memory flashes. A treasured garden filled with ripening, story igniting images.

A grow man, with two teenage sons of his own shares his father’s first known driving experience. “My Dad got his first truck driving job when he joined the circus. The work was hard, but in these days, work was work and most people didn’t have it. Early morning routines consisted of shoveling manure, setting up tents, wooden planks for audience seating and generally, what ever else needed to be done. The key to having a good job and keeping it is doing what ever your boss wants you to do. I still remember the time when they needed a driver for one of the trucks and they asked me. I watched people drive those things everyday, it didn’t look that hard. No problem, I told them. I grabbed the keys, climbed into the driver’s seat. I looked down at the floor boards;  clutch, brake and gas, the only thing I needed to know. After getting things going, the only thing I really needed to know was how to keep it running. Red lights and traffic signs on pre-historic roads made keeping up and keeping the engine running a tougher job than I expected and getting lost was not an option, so I decided that running through red lights, whizzing past stop signs, was a better option. Later in the early morning hours, terrified with a white knocked grip on the steering wheel, the circus lions arrived at the fair grounds.”

MIA (Missing in Action) a soon to be identified suspect showed up missing at a mandatory family photo-shoot appointment. But wait, the over 50-year-old suspect was just here not more than 30 minutes ago! An all adult family gathering photo opt is now put on hold as the great search begins. Where could he be? How could he do this to us! I mean everyone is waiting! What is the purpose of cell phones if your don’t even carry it with you, as the ? What they did not know,suspect’s blue backpack gleefully range in the presence of its callers. What did not know then, but would find out later, is that the identified suspect had recently been picked up by none other than New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) finest men in blue. The identified suspect was found lost on the streets of Queens, NYC. When questioned he had no known local address, telephone number or mental image of his desired location. Talking non-stop in the back seat of the squad car, police officers continued circling the area. In a moment of desperation and their need for mental sanity the two officers contemplate taking him to the downtown police station until further information as to his residence uncertainty could be solved. The impending reality that he might indeed end up “downtown” sent his heart rate beating faster, increased his blood pressure and forced his brain into gear. “Excuse me officers, my brother lives in the Midwest, I know his telephone number!” Radio-ing into dispatch, the number is dialed. “Hello” Yes, this is the NYPD, what is your relationship to . . .” With the family’s printed itinerary attached to his refrigerator, his brother was able to give the address of his brother’s residence in Queen’s NYC. Thank him for his time, the officers turn around once more. “Hey wait!” I thought this place looked familiar!”, came a relieved cry from the back seat. Police Officers exchanged knowing glances, replying, “We drove by several times over the course of the past hour. Actually ten to be exact, but who is counting.” Once safely inside and the family photo session being now complete, a Mother pulls her son,  the 50 plus year old suspect aside, scolding him saying, “Don’t you know it is rude to get lost when people are waiting for you?’

To all your special story moments!


Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Improving Your Storytelling Beyond the Basics for All Who Tell Stories in Work and Play

Doug Lipman’s book Improving Your Storytelling is both comprehensive and inspirational. His work addresses virtually every aspect of storytelling from performer preparation, to audience interaction, listener significance, voice care, oral language exercises, story crafting and image enhancement. Being introduced to Doug Lipman’s work at the beginning of my storytelling journey, while written primarily for experienced storytellers, gave me an incredible introduction into both the dynamics and art of storytelling. A veteran in the field of Behavior Health and Forensic Therapy, I found the chapters on imagery and oral language vs written language invaluable in my work with clients and how story, professionally or personally crafted, is developed through repeated tellings and listener interaction. Lipman’s masterful explanation of his MIT (Most Important Point)formula greatly impacted my work in the behavior health field as well as inviting me to put “who I am” into my stories. His inspirational chapter on imagery further ignited my imagination in “trying on” various characters and what it might “feel like”‘ to become these alter egos. Reading his vivid, sensory filled words in the introduction to Snow White I sat back wondering, imagining . . . What if I were the evil Queen, peering through this ebony black defined window pain; staring intently into the mesmerizing back drop of winter’s whiting perfection, my heart welling with the immense satisfaction of my husband’s timely demise . . . ! Then moving from here into the inner essence of each character in the story. Wow! What an incredible experience and insight into the breathing life dynamics of story interlaced with the interactive nature of storytelling. A must read for anyone desiring to expand their awareness and skills in the areas of oral language, imagery, and story as well as the dynamics and art of professional storytelling.

Thank you Doug Lipman for this comprehensive, dynamic and inspiring guide into the field of storytelling!


Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Down the Rabbit Hole – An Endless List of Possibly Impossible Things


I absolutely love Timothy Buron’s Film production of Alice in Wonderland.

OK, let’s face it, the book is great. The movie is great. The movie about the book is great. The story is great. The characters are great. OK, it’s all great.

The entire intrigue of the story is being dumped down a rabbit’s hole. The finding yourself living in a serial world of talking creatures, drama queens and non-sensical characters.

Spinning into the major turning point of the story, Alice triumphantly meets the insanely crazy challenges of rabbit hole living. Changing her physical size, outwitting insane advocacies and organizing life-threating getaways.

Then it happens. Alice’s worst fear appears as a Jaberwalki. A gigantic, winged, creature with teeth half the size of her physical being.

She’s been told, she has to kill the Jaberwalki if she wants to go home. Through the encouragement of the Mad Hatter, Alice remembers her father’s words;  “6 impossible things before breakfast”.

Looking at the day, she realizes she’s already done 5 impossible things before breakfast. She fell down a and insanely large rabbit hole and lived. She ate pastry mix that made her grow instantly grow larger and smaller and lived. She discovered the key to the tiny room and go through; and lived …  She lists them off until she reaches the number 6 – killing a Jaberwalki.

Courageously, she raises her sword. During a daring claw to sword combat, she realizes its kill or be eaten. Not wanting to become someone else’s dinner, she stabs and kills the Jaberwalkie.

Collecting Jaberwalkie’s blood, she says her good-byes. Holding a vile of Jaberwalke’s blood, she spirals up the rabbit hole and returns home.

In the movie, returning home means meeting the social and financial pressures of a forced marriage proposal.

Dusty and dirty, yet filled with new found confidence, courage and determination Alice courageously says no to a marriage proposal from a man she never loved and a man who never loved her.

Seeing the confidence, vision and raw courage of this amazing young woman, her almost father-in-law forms a business partnership with her. He then adds a side note stating if her ideas had come from anyone else, he would have said no to them.

Alice’s story changed when she changed.

So what is number six on your list of impossible things to be accomplished before breakfast? Now here is a great story to tell!

Until next time . . . Let Your  Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Tiger – A Goat’s Identity Crisis

TigerIt happened, one of those strange tragic moments in life’s predator vs. prey cycle. A tiger, as hungry as she was filled with child. Spotting a herd of goats grazing in the distance she smells food. Capitalizing on a tiny grain of strength, she waits. She watches. She runs. She pounces. She collapses.

Terrified goats scatter in the direction they were grazing. Lying on the ground, the lioness heaves her last breath. With it she gives birth to her cub. In uncertain silence, her lifeless body lies, no longer a threat or a danger to the prey around her.

Knowing the fields are now safe, the goats return to their grazing land. Upon their return, they discover a larger than average, newly born stranger in their midst. Being community oriented and parental-ly inclined, the goats take it in. Together they raise this stripped, hornless creäture.

A few years later, another larger animal stalks the herd. Pouncing, the goats once again scatter in all direction they were grazing. Yes, the goats, not the tiger, for the tiger remains undisturbed, quietly munching on clumps of grass. The larger animal taking full responsibility for his herd scattering endeavors, introduces himself as tiger.

“A vegetarian,” bleats a reply from the other tiger embodied creäture.”

“Embarrassing,” roars the Tiger, watching the awkward slobbering and dirt spitting grazing habits of this misguided carnivore.

Perplexed and stunned, the Tiger turns to the grass feeding one and requests a brief conference at the water’s edge. It is agreed.

The Tiger looks at the grass-eating one, “You too are Tiger.

This grass eater pauses, uncertain on how to respond. Tiger takes its face and positions it over the unwavering, un-shimmering depths of water’s pure reflection. Then too he places his face next to the grass eater’s reflection.

Stunned, the grass eater has to admit that he looks nothing like the animals he surrounds himself with . Too, that while he resembles Tiger in stripes and fur, he does not have the same fullness of shape, development of muscles or vibrancy of color or language that Tiger possesses.

Tiger then takes the grass eater home with him. Entering his den, oozing with the freshness of today’s catch, he rips out a chunk of blood dripping flesh and shoves it into grass eater’s mouth.

Choking and sputtering, the grass eater bleats out, “But I am a vegetarian!”

No cries Tiger, you are a Tiger”

Still choking and sputtering as the richness of the meat’s abundance enters his body, grass eater begins to step into his true being. The new food seemingly to giving him a strength and a health he has not known until now. Using all the strength and courage within his being, the once fleeting bleat, sounds much more like a mini roar.

Thank you Joseph Campbell!

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Unknown


Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

The Hero’s Journey

I love the Hero’s Journey! Filled with the fascination of a new adventure, a new life path – one never before entered, traveled or contemplated! Yes, the Hero’s Journey, filled with its victory enhancing obstacles,  those moments of seeming uncertainty and the triumphal celebration at Journey’s end. The Hero’s Journey filled with unseen helpers, the prevailing force winds that make us as kits fly higher than ever expected, and the personal transformation that happens from beginning to end. Life at the end never even being close to that at the beginning.

What new step on life’s next journey are you ready to take? What adventures, dream or goal is springing up inside, calling out to you, beckoning you to embark on this next life changing course in your precious life’s journey?

Climbing higher than Stand Cow Dividends!

The Hero’s Adventure, taking the risk of “falling forward” through the uncertain outcomes of the experiments that lie ahead. Believing in the unseen helps that lovingly join you on this magnificent journey. A Journey, once started, that will end in an life exhilarating, life enhancing destination!

“I will do today what others won’t, so I can live tomorrow like others can’t.” Unknown

When life gives you a cow – It’s makes me think about a choice: standard market value vs cloud top dividends. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to dust off those magic beans and experience the wonder, adventure and life’s golden treasures stemming from a one of a kind, top of the stalk, life living journey! Now there is a story to tell!

Until next time . . . Let a Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

New Road – 5 Chapters in Life

FutureI heard this incredible story in a presentation from Dr. Wayne Dyer, wishing that I remembered the author, but honored to have heard it.

At a seminar, participants were asked to write five chapters of their life on five separate 5 X 7 index cards. This woman’s story went approximately as follows:

Chapter 1

I walked down the road, never saw what was coming and fell into a hole. I was angry, bitter and blaming. It took me a long time to get out.

Chapter 2

I walked down the road, I a saw the hole, I fell in. I was angry. How could anyone leave a whole this size here? How come they did not fix it? Why don’t they have it blocked off  . . . It took me a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walked down the road, I saw the hole and I fell in any way. This time I knew it was of my making. This time it took very little time for me to get out.

Chapter 4

I walked down the road. I saw the hole. This time I walked around the hole and continued on down the road.

Chapter 5

I walked down a new road.

What an awesome story to tell!

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!