Monday, January 17, 2011

And another great site for stories, storytellers and articles about storytelling

Last week I got tagged on Facebook in this entry:
Who has the most searches at in the last 30 days? In order, Michael D McCarty, Jim Woodard, Linda Goodman, James Nelson-Lucas (as Patchwork Players) and Priscilla Howe.
I thought I'd written a blog post about, but looking back, I see I've only mentioned it. This site is another that ROCKS! Sean Buvala dreamed it up many years ago, even before Google. I think I joined back in about 1997 or 1998. What is it? is the place to find storytellers' information, recorded stories, texts of stories to tell, interviews with storytellers, articles on the artform, and tons more information in one easily accessible place. Whew!

I wrote a few of those articles. The first one I submitted was the one on the tyranny of themes. I'm also in a bunch of the ampitheater recordings--the most memorable for me was when I called Sean from a stairwell at the National Storytelling Conference in San Diego in 1999 to report on how the conference was going. That might even have been from a pay phone!

I've been recommending to storytellers for years that they have a page on this site. I want to make this an even stronger recommendation, especially for the Premium Pages (and no, I get no kickback from recommending this). Yeah, yeah, you might be saying, "But I have my own website. Why would I want to have another over there?"

Here's one reason: I've been booked and have sold recordings from my page even though I have a pretty nice site of my own. The more places I put my name on the web, the more likely it is that people looking for my kind of storytelling will find me, especially on a site that is dedicated to storytelling. It works even better if I keep that page updated (I'm saying this as a prod to get myself to do just that). Premium pages allow me to have audio and video, while a basic page is just that, basic information. My page also includes a link to my main website.

That has been enough of a reason for me to have Premium Page. There's another, one that Sean has just offered: Premium Pages give you exclusive access to videos and other information about the business of storytelling. I just watched the January video today. Sean always provides useful info about the nuts and bolts of what we do--this video is no exception. I'm looking forward to the February video.

So if you're a storyteller and you don't have a page on, why not?

P.S. Sean says he's working on a facelift for the site.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Where to find even more stories and storytellers

I was given an iPod for my birthday, my first ever. It has been fun to load up with music and podcasts for those long trips on the road (or for housecleaning). Of course, I did the equivalent of googling myself--I looked myself up in the iTunes store. Sure, my three recordings are there, but if I were looking for storytelling recordings in general, not categorized by storyteller, I might get frustrated with iTunes.

Ready for one-stop story shopping? Here it is:
iTales rocks! You can search for stories by keyword, by storyteller and by category. You also can listen to a sample of the story. I just subscribed to the iTales podcast. Over 60 storytellers have contributed to iTales, so the choice is broad. It works with all kinds of mp3 players.

And if you're a storyteller and you don't have your recordings on iTales, why not? It doesn't cost to put your stories up and it's one more way your listeners and potential listeners can find you.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Personal stories

I almost always think the glass is half full. Yup, I've always been a Pollyanna.

Though I tell personal stories (often personal fiction, as I don't adhere strictly to the facts), I haven't written much here about them. Most of my personal stories start with a seed of truth, which may take years to live in the compost of my brain before I water them and they begin to grow. Sometimes what was initially a painful life experience changes completely. The first one I ever told, Chester Parker, was about being teased when I began telling it. The more I told it, the less it was about teasing and more about differences in social class.

Personal stories are rarely ready to tell immediately. Usually they need time, perspective and sometimes even therapy before they are tellable--and listenable. I forget which storyteller said, "If you're doing therapy on stage, you should be paying the audience." I never want the audience to feel like they have to take care of me. I also want my stories to have the right balance of specific and universal, so the audience doesn't listen and say, "So what?" at the end.

I've been thinking lately about the particular story I've been living. It's not ready to tell yet, but someday it--or part of it--might make a good one. A cautionary tale, maybe.

Here's the very short version: I upended my life and moved from Lawrence, KS to Kansas City, KS in September with my beau. We'd been together for almost two years. In October, I broke up with him. Before you feel sorry, know that this was absolutely the right thing to do. Not easy, but right. He stayed in the house for two months while I stayed with my fabulous family and friends.

So, the glass is half full. I'm now back in my new house (I like it!), settling in to a new life in a new city, with a new cat (more on him in another post). I'm exploring Kansas City. Lawrence is only 40 minutes away.

In stories, as in life, growth comes from transformation. For the story to be interesting, the main character has to change in some way. I guess it was time for me to grow. We'll see what happens next.