Listeners – Story’s Fertilizer!


worm-310642_640

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!

 

Igniting Images Engage Listeners


19976402Thank you June Barnes of the Australian Storytelling Guild (Vic).

“Well, the story reaches out and touches each listener in a different way. Like an omniscient, it knows each individual’s needs at any given time. It will either speak to a need in the listener or brush by with a caress, or a tap on the shoulder.

The story can act as a catalyst in commencing the process of solving an emotional problem, enlightenment, preserving a culture, helping another, bonding families or communities. The story can generate the healing power of laughter and assist in the education process. Sometimes the story is a trickster, it pretends to entertain just to get inside the psyche, and then it jumps up at the listener with a timely message.

It seems there is no end to the power of the story to seek out that searching part of an individual’s psyche and touch it.

But do I, as the storyteller, know what the story is giving to each listener? No, I am not extended that privilege. Only the story and the listener know this. But wait, sometimes the listener doesn’t even know. The story sneaks in and finds a place to rest and then awakens at the appropriate time in that person’s life. So the story IS the dominant partner.

What about me then, the storyteller, what contribution do I make in this marriage? Well I provide a vehicle for the story to come to life. But the same can be said for singing and other mediums of presenting a story. How am I, as an oral storyteller, different? Am I different? Please say Yes! Well… as an oral storyteller I do act as a personal communicator, I form a personal relationship with the listener. The listener knows me, or a part of me, through the story. Is that my contribution, to assist in preserving the personal relationship in society? Is the listener more (or less) receptive to the story because of the personal nature of the relationship between teller and listener? Is that what makes oral storytelling unique?

Perhaps not! A singer, musician or dancer also establishes this personal relationship.

But do they allow the story to develop and mature because of the interaction between the teller and the listener. In other words do they give the story the freedom to live. Do those other methods of presenting story allow the story to change, in the way a living organism changes, according to the circumstances and community it finds itself in?

Perhaps this is the element which allows oral storytellers to claim their medium as unique. Perhaps, as the storyteller, my role in this marriage is not so passive after all.”

In oral tradition, the story grows inside the teller the more the storyteller tells the story to others. Stories come to live in the presence of a listener or listeners, for without them, a story can never become a reality. Responsive listeners allow us, as storytellers, to see what our audience members are hearing. Storytelling is also interactive, therefore, by its nature, stories require the presence of listeners as well as a storyteller. A storyteller is not a teacher, a preacher, a counselor or a reporter. A storyteller is simply the teller of a tale. How the power of story touches or impacts its audience members is up to each individual’s unique interaction with the story and its storyline.

 

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!