Monday, December 10, 2007

Home from WOW weekend

Did I say I was going to write twice or thrice a week? I guess I wasn't thinking about this past week.

I worked like crazy until mid-day Thursday, on Storytelling Magazine, the publication of the National Storytelling Network. I'm the guest editor for the March/April issue, and I had to get all the articles in, which meant herding nine contributors, making sure all the pieces were put together and coherent. (By the way, I think it's going to be a good issue--all the contributors did a great job.) I got it sent off by the afternoon.

The articles in the magazine were on the theme of retreats. On Friday, I got up early so I could go on retreat! I left home at 6:30 a.m., bound for southern Indiana, with two stops in Kansas City to pick up two other storytellers. They made the road shorter. Still, it was about ten hours driving. I hoped I wouldn't fall face down asleep in my supper when we arrived.

We arrived in Bethlehem, IN at the Storyteller's Riverhouse, ready for a WOW weekend. WOW? Working on Our Work, the storytelling retreat set up by Mary Hamilton and Cynthia Changaris. The Riverhouse is Cynthia's B & B. This was their 27th retreat since they began offering these supportive coaching weekends.

My third WOW weekend did not disappoint. Nine of us gathered to work on our work in storytelling. Cynthia and Mary have designed these retreats well, so that each participant feels completely cared for and heard. We each got an hour of undivided attention from the group for whatever we wanted to work on.

I worked on Queen Berta and King Pippin. The story is still rough, but coming along. The comments of the group were helpful, reminding me of where to slow down, where to shine the light a bit brighter, where to allow the audience to settle in to the images.

What I've discovered about the supportive coaching model is that I learn in every session, not just my own. I first learned about supportive coaching from Doug Lipman, years ago. The model used at the WOW weekends is slightly different, but just as effective. The goal is not to correct storytellers so they all tell the same way, but to bring out the very best that the storyteller has to offer. Deep listening is at the heart of the coaching style.

We fit nine sessions into Saturday and Sunday, ending just before lunch. Wonderful and exhausting. After a delicious lunch, thanks to the excellent chef, we packed sandwiches for the car. Then we loaded up and got on the road.

The trip home was a little longer, a little more tiring, due to rain and then sleet. I'd gotten new tires and all kinds of car repairs before the trip, but neglected to get the windshield wipers replaced. Dang. In a case of closing the barn door after the horse is gone, I got new wipers today.

I got home at 10:30 p.m. last night. I'm really tired. That's it for now.


Sean said...

You are so gentle. Some of us cats needed to be hit with a stick, and yet, you didn't. Great working with you. Thanks.

PriscillaHowe said...

Not gentle, just wily--I know that if I tried to hit my cat (or any cat, for that matter) with a stick, I'd get no work out of him.

Wait a hold on...he's not working either way. At least you contributors did your share. And that part is done, whew! Thanks!