“Tell! Tell! Do tell! Tell me a story!” The very words which catapult storytellers into action. Spinning stories into life, the tellers immerse themselves into the reality of story’s journey. Listeners quiet, gasp, quake, laugh, cry and nod, as they too experience the reality of the story’s unfolding.
This is all great, but now, I want to be the one telling a story and engaging the audience. Where do I begin? How do I get started?
Listen, for all great storytellers begin by listening. Listen to conversational stories told by the people around you. Listen to professional storytellers tell from stages. Listen to their stories, their cantor, their words, their emotional expression and to how their stories are crafted.
The delightfully twisted, unimaginably convoluted and predictably intensified conversational stories streaming from the folks around us we can catch on our own. Yet for today and over the course of the next few blog posts, let’s listen to a few tales from some professional storytellers.
The first one is a folktale entitled, The Well at the World’s End, adapted and retold by an unidentified storyteller.
Until next time … Let a Storyographer’s Journey Continue!
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!