Story Navigation – Heart to Heart

Story – the place where life is as it is; Change Happens – a new normal unfolds.

Story; a taste of heart a touch of love. A juicy, creatively bubbling throb wells up from within. Storyspirations ignite the brain’s image-filled imaginations. Then it happens. Ideas talk. You talk. Others listen.

A Story begins in the heart, travels up through larynx’s vocal accordions.  Once released, for those willing to receive,  this story finds its new, heartfelt home in the pulsating arteries and rhythmic chambers of yet, another’s heart. Story’s vivid realism and outrageous adventurous as wildly zanny as any of us are.


In the wisdom of the ancients, Chinese Medicine sites the lips and hands as the heart’s external, visible components. By extending a hand or a kiss, we let others know; welcome, from my heart to yours.

Through some heart reaching research, the Heart Math Institute researchers found proof of the brain’s neurotransmitters hanging out not only in the brain but also on the heart. Upon wombs egg hatching fertilization, it’s the heart which tells the brain when it’s time to develop. Definitely one of those awkward ‘who’s really in charge’ type of moments. Life is experienced first through the heart, then transmitted to the brain for more in-depth analysis and processing.

When choosing to develop and tell a story, select one which excites your toenails, tickles you earlobes and ruffles your eyebrows. If you don’t love, don’t tell it. Every story we tell is apart of us, a part of who we are, apart of our heart’s experiences. The more enthusiasm, the more romance, the more love we have for our stories and their awe-inspiring adventures, the easier it is to tell. By living in the heart of the moment of the story’s life living reality, we naturally delight and engage our listeners.

So join us in extending a hand, embracing a kiss and/or sharing a story as a gift from our hearts to yours.

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!

Folktales Impacting Nature’s Conservation

botoFor centuries stories and storytelling have played critical roles in preserving, transmitting and changing cultural standards and values on to its people. Storytellers, once high-ranking on the “Most Wanted” to be captured list for invading armies. Too, highly paid entertainers in the local lavatories – I guess if you are just sitting there, you might as well be entertained! Storytellers, the keeper of the stories, the newscasters, the culture bears, the genealogists and the historians of ages past.

While researching some of the folktales for my Bug-a-Bration Bug Swapin’ Tale and Tunes and Luminous Lagoon: Buggy Tales and Tunes I became acutely aware of how much of the rain forest in different had been destroyed in my lifetime. In crafting the story-line and the Afro-Caribbean folktales for two kids storytelling CD’s, I developed these stories around  the geological context of the type of rain forests in the countries where the stories were told. After collecting basic information on the history of the rain-forests, their endemic and endangered species, including insects, and other fun plants, I began adding them in to the story-line, as a tribute to these amazing creatures and the world they live in, as well as honoring the integrity of these stories. As a result, I got to meet wonderful creatures such as the boto, pictured above, or the pink river dolphin found in the Amazon rain forest as well as black pineapples, lemon tasting termites and the Victoria Rega, a six-foot giant waterlily. In the limestone rainforest of Jamaica ; the lampid firefly, stinking toe trees and cho cho’s, as well as Luminous Lagoon in different section of the island.

Through my research I learned that the Amazon river’s Boto, or pink river dolphin, is endangered.  Local stories and legends gave the people warnings of what might happen if they did not take care of the river. For it was said if anyone hurt the river in any way, the Boto  would come to the land in the form of a human. In this new form, the Boto would visit the village of the offender and cause unwanted pregnancy,  war and other types of illnesses as punishment for hurting her waters. One Amazonian man interviewed wisely said: “When people stopped believing the folktales and legends, they stopped taking care of the rivers and the land.”

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

Atmosphere – Story’s Presence

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones’ company at the end of a film clip states: “Atmosphere doesn’t just happen. It takes the human mind to create atmosphere.”

lion-617365_1280Atmosphere, the mode or the ambiance enveloping an individual or group of people such as; relief, uncertainty, fear, tension, romantic, chilling, humiliating or terrifying. Atmosphere also defines the gaseous envelope surrounding the planet earth. Atmosphere a powerful word. In the art of storytelling and the artistry of story development, it also means the establishment of a the prevailing mood or tone of a character and their impact on the people and events in the story’s story-line.  Atmosphere, setting and plots have a few interconnecting points or maybe potholes, depending where in the world you live, as each significantly impacts not only the characters within the story, but the storyteller and their audience members receiving the story.

You, the storyteller set the atmosphere of your story. You too both set and bring forth the atmospheric gauges of the character’s within your story. In the story you are telling, ask yourself: “What is the dominate atmosphere of my main characters? What happens when they enter a room? What changes in the mood or the tone of conversations or the general activity of the people around them? How does the atmospheric presence of these characters impact me, the storyteller? Atmosphere has the power to impact the mood and tone of the people around you.

Play with your character’s atmospheric gauges. Strong atmosphere is expansive and envelopes the audience.

But . . . Waite, aren’t we like that too? How many times have each one of us walked into a room of people and impacted the tone, the mood and the feelings of a single individual or the group of people? Atmosphere is power. What type of powerful impact are our characters making in your story? What type of powerful impact are you making your audience members?

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

Telling a Story? – Tips and Tidbits!

A storyteller, though voice and jester, invites people to join him/her on a guided tour of images, the place where a story begins, change happens and where life or someone’s awareness will never again be the same: knowing that the beginning will never be the same as the ending.

  1. Choose a story, myth or tale that you love – if you don’t love it, don’t do it. Ask your self, why do I love it? Why is this important for me to tell? What is the most important part of this story to me?
  1. If it is a myth or a folktale, then look it up in other sources – book and/or audio. Every storyteller adds his or her own unique style and flavor to a story. This might give you some more ideas as you work up your own version. Try reading it out loud to yourself or to a friend to hear the cantor of the story.
  1. Make an outline of the key events. Know your story – never memorize it. Remember every story has a beginning, something that happens that changes everything, now what – how life is different from when the story started.
  1. Practice by telling a friend or a family member. The more you tell it in front of others, the better your story becomes. Watch your story grow and come alive as you “listen” to what your audience is hearing.
  1. Become familiar with and research key elements in your story – main characters, geographic locations, plants, animals . . . Or try changing the setting or the main character in your story ie, retell it from the mouse’s, wicked step sister’s or tree’s perspective. Maybe the tortoise and the hare decided to race through the plumbing in your school!
  1. Review your original sources. It is important to keep the integrity of the storyline.
  1. Remember the ending to your story.  That way you know were you are going.
  1. Have fun. If you love what your are doing and love your story, your audience will too!

“The mythology of Greece survived for centuries before Gutenberg invented the printing press. To know the stories, one had only to listen to keepers of tales – the storytellers. Today, because we no longer need to rely upon the spoken work to know the stories, we forget that they were vividly entertaining vehicles of culture in a pre-reading era. The best written versions, I believe, remind us once again of the oral power of the ancient myths.” Barbara McBride-Smith in her book Greek Myths Western Style: Toga Tales with an Attitude.

Greek Myth's Western Style

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

Re-visualizing Bank Robbery’s Painful Replays

Wow! I was so honored by some many courageous people re-entering the workplace following a robbery. These courageous people went on to share their stories of what happened, how it effected them and how life is now different for them. So many individuals talked about the images, replaying the images of the robbery in their mind. A very normal response, for the moment.

Images, the foundational fabric of storytelling, their imprints on our minds eye and their impact on our lives. Maybe it is time, in our minds eye, to change the ending, or even the beginning. No one has the right to take up space in any one elses mind.

Yes, it is true, the armed robbers jumped the counter and instructed tellers to line up by the vault. No one ever expects a robbery to happen, but at that moment it did. Laying awake at night, or even during the day, seeing the robbers coming over the counter leaves one in a continue state of feeling powerless and vulnerable. Finding the courage to acknowledge that you did exactly what you needed to, knowing that you have nothing to do with the robber’s desire for the bank’s money, then changing the course of action in your own mind.

Hum, robbers entering the building at the precise moment the sheriff walks in to deposit his paycheck. The robber’s now startled, pause, pausing  just long enough for you to hit the silent alarm button. panicked, the robber runs out the door, with out the cash, unexpectedly  into the backseat of a local police car. A smile crosses your face as you watch the police car fade out of sight on its way to the police station.

The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them and learn to give them away where needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other’s memories. That is how people care for themselves. – Barry Lopez

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

The Old Man and His Young Son – Aesop Fable

As Adapted and Retold by Storyteller Grace Wolbrink – All Rights Reserved @2010

donkey-310798_1280Standing in a narrow, splintered wooden pen, an old man and his young son assisted a first time Mother giving birth to . . . OH MY! . . . Yes, I guess it is . . . Sniff, Wow! A lavender-scented, pink polka doted, pork-a-belly donkey! Quite sure to be the first, possibly only one of its kind ever conceived, birthed, delivered. The day came, as it does for many a growing donkey, to make its way into service at the local market place.

Riddled with fear and uncertainly of the Market buzz and marketability of such an animal, the old man, his young son and their lavender-scented, pink polka-dotted pork-a-belly donkey started on their journey. Stopping along the road way, they meet a large group of well-meaning travelers, also on their way to the market place. The old man and his young son heard:

“Nay I say. Nay I say. Who would pay for a lavender-scented, pink polka-dotted, pork-a-belly donkey?”

“Ah, thought the old man, who would pay for such a creäture.”

Entering a small village, the old man and his young son found a stand with a sign which read:

Common Sense Marketing:
Donkey Abb Toner – Permanent results guaranteed!

“Hum,” thought the Old Man, “yes, there is nothing better than common sense.”

Purchasing a bottle, they continue on their journey.

Passing some well-meaning merchants along the way, the old man and his young son heard:

“Nay I say, Nay I say, who would pay for a lavender-scented pink polka-dotted tight abb-ed donkey?”

“Ah,” thought the old man, “who would pay for such a creäture?”

Passing a traveling salesman, the sign on his cart read:

Common Sense Marketing:
Donkey Hair Toner – Permanent Results Guaranteed!

“Hum,” thought the Old Man, “yes, nothing better than common sense.”

Purchasing a bottle, they continue on their journey.

Hearing their music, looking up, the old man and his young son smile at a band of wandering minstrels passing on the other side of the read. The old man and his young son heard them say:

“Nay, I say. Nay I say. Who would pay for a lavender-scented, chemically treated, tight abb-ed donkey?”

“Ah,” thought the old man, “who would pay for such a creäture?”

Passing a vendor set up on the outskirts of the market place, they see a sign which reads:

Common Sense Marketing:
Authentic Donkey Scent – Permanent Results Guaranteed!

“Hum,” thought the Old Man, “yes, nothing better than common sense.”

Purchasing a bottle, they continue on their way. Entering the Market Place just before nightfall, they pass through the front gate. Above their heads hangs a huge banner which reads:


Featuring the worlds, quite sure to be the first, possibly the only one of its kind, ever conceived, birthed, delivered – WORLD FAMOUS – Lavender Scented Pink Polka Dotted
Pork-a belly Donkey!

Wealth equaling Millions!

Owner, please sign here. Sale of donkey not required for payment. First in line photo-opt in exchange for payment.

The Proud Sponsors of
Aspiring Beyond the Myth of Common Sense  Marketplace Conformity

For the last time anyone knows, the sign still hangs. The promoters still in search of the stories they once heard of a rare and unique lavender-scented, pink-polka-dotted,
pot-bellied donkey.


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

The Power of Story Within – Storyteller Bill Harley

The power of story truly lies inside each one of us.


Images ignite our stories and link us with our audiences and transform our lives.


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