Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sumer is icumin in

Those of you who know this song may be thinking, "Lhude sing cuccu." I may be loudly singing cuckoo at the end of the season! I've begun the wild summer ride, having done five of the sixty performances I have scheduled in June and July.

The first was story night in my backyard. Very fun, as it was my friend Janelle's birthday and she brought family, friends and cake. Afterwards, some of the kids told stories. One of my favorite moments was when Z. (maybe five years old?) was telling a combination of The Three Pigs and The Three Bears. He'd told the first two sentences or so and suddenly said, "Oh! Look!" He stood up, reached for a firefly in the air, and was gone. That was the end of storytelling for the evening.

It has been a great season for fireflies (lightning bugs here in Kansas). Last night I was in Mound City, MO where there were thousands on the walk I took down a country road with my friend Cynthia after my campfire performance.

Back up a bit. On Saturday I had a fun performance of scary stories for teens in Marshall, MO. I really love telling those, though I start to wonder why I have so many stories which feature severed fingers, hands or limbs. Odd.

On my way home from Marshall, I stopped in Independence at Cargo Largo, a closeout store that is like Big Lots times four. I found some great material there that I think will be perfect for my Punch and Judy stage. I'd been looking for red and white striped fabric that would do well outdoors. The roll I found is a little more maroon, but I think it will work.

This morning in Mound City, after a delightful breakfast with Cynthia on her sun porch, I did a show for the library summer reading program. Because the library doesn't have much space, I did the show at the senior meal site. That went well, because not only did I have some of the people waiting for lunch in the audience, the women in the kitchen listened. Some of the folks from last night's scary story performance around a campfire at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge (complete with s'mores) turned up, too. Most of the kids were up front and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

I'm sure I've written about this summer's library theme before: Get a clue @ your library. It's going to be okay, I think. You can read my rant about themes on storyteller.net, but I do work up a program to fit the theme each year. As for this one, every story is a mystery, isn't it?

This morning I told Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch (with huge thanks for the permission he gave me years ago to tell his stories), The Small-Tooth Dog (an old English folk tale), The Ghost With the One Black Eye (I promised one young fellow that I'd tell the old favorite), Now I've Gotcha (a campfire story on one of my recordings). We also did Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar. It turns out that Mavis the monkey puppet stole the cookies, though the evidence has disappeared.

Five more shows in libraries this week, one in my backyard.


Deb said...

Good rant!

Tim said...

Hey-- backyard storytelling. Why didn't I think of that. Do you do for your friends and neighbors? And is this where you try out new material?

PriscillaHowe said...

Yup, friends and neighbors, and often their friends. I don't advertise other than word of mouth. I get to tell whatever I feel like: new stuff, old stuff, requests, school inappropriate stories. I never know how many people will show up. I've had up to seventeen listeners. I only provide stories, but I don't mind if people bring food and drink. If it's raining, it's canceled.

Big fun!