Monday, September 5, 2011


I spent as much time at the storytelling festival as I could--from 1:30 to 10ish on Friday, and from 4:30 to 11ish on Saturday.

I loved every minute.

I took notes, because I am nerdy that way, and I learned there aren't a lot of differences between oral storytellers and writers--although oral storytellers can make magic with their voices (Susan Klein's smooth, rich words, Mitch Capel's masterful dialects) and gestures (Antonio Rocha's miming!) and music (Willy Claflin and his guitar, and singing, and kazoo...).  But storytellers, like writers, use alliteration, timing, repetition, rhyme, carefully-crafted tension, humor, characterization...I don't feel left out of the storytelling, even if I'd probably quiver myself off any given stage, because storytellers like what I like.  The most memorable stories--well, there were so many excellent stories, but the taxidermy story by Kevin Kling had me laughing so hard my sides hurt, and I loved the poetry of Susan Klein's Beauty and the Beast folktale, and Charlie Chin's work with a fan made his stories on marriage even more hilarious.  Donald Davis's tale about cookies and sweets and Mitch Capel's Bear and the Weasel and "The Ghost With the One Black Eye" were favorites with my three-year-old, who acted them out all weekend.  I loved the atmosphere, the people, and the beautiful canyon location.  Bringing two children was a mistake--there was the moment when the three-year-old knelt by the microphone box eying the buttons, and the space of time when the baby wanted to eat delicious sticks and got a bit angry when I had the effrontery to stop him--but as they get older, they'll get longer attention spans, and then all will be perfect.

And the stories I'm writing fit the storytelling pattern.  I wouldn't want to read them in front of an audience--not yet, anyway--but I will use my notes to preform them at home and perfect their rhythms.

Right.  We'll see how that goes.

This is Donald Davis.  He is funny.  And if I could do this in a story (have bowties and clawed hands and that awesome facial expressiveness), my books would be automatically brilliant-er and filled with life and joy!

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