Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

Telling and Teaching; a Day at Boston Storytelling Festival

    The weather forecast is for blizzard conditions and the map where the most intense weather will occur is along a straight line from my house in CT. to Boston, it's all in the timing. Packing for a storytelling event includes the usual items, outline for workshop, handouts for participants, promo materials for other story groups & events, and my bottle of water and voice soothing lozenges. Packing for Boston Storytelling Festival included a car survival kit - images from horrendous traffic jams in Atlanta and NC recently have me prepared for Armageddon.

    The Boston Storytelling Festival  could be a new snow story for me! I have a bag with spare clothes and extra layers. I have a blanket in the car and a flashlight. Double gloves and hats and triple socks. I have packed my lunch bag to overflowing with  apples and clementine, nuts and trail mix, munchies and fruit juices and water.

    I watch the weather one more time before I  hit the road for the drive to Boston and keep my fingers crossed for the weather to hold, along the way I fill up the fuel tank. All right winter bring it on, this storyteller is ready! 

  I arrive with nary a flake in sight I am on time and hours ahead of the storm. Let the stories begin! Our host www.massmouth.com has a great location in Boston Public Library. I am excited as I walk down the streets of Boston the huge, gorgeous building in my line of vision.

     Registration and book sales are set up in a lobby, I am all set for the day to begin, a great team greeted me, love this massmouth friendly crowd!

     Rabb Hall is a beautiful venue for telling and I enjoyed my time on the stage there. I shared a family story as an introduction to my workshop later in the day. The audience seemed to breath in and out with a young George Story as he encountered the Ghost of New Haven. This story is from my new CD "George Henry Story - The Man Who Painted Lincoln" ( more on that at www.carolynstearnsstoryteller.com )

      I had a short break between performance time and my workshop on Collecting and Telling Family Stories.

  The room filled to capacity quickly with a group of 20 would be tellers of family tales. I broke the ice after a short intro by having them tell a story to a partner on the subject of the worst snowstorm they ever saw - yes the storm was still on my mind, everyone else's too I'm sure. Through the workshop we talked about how to collect, story prompts and memory triggers. Volunteers stood to try characterizations and voices for stories. Back with partners they used a story prompt to relate a family incident, the room buzzed with story excitement. They laughed when I used a large cow bell to rein them in from the story fun! We flew through suggestions on how to share and charging the next generation to keep these family stories alive. What a great workshop, my favorite group of attendees to date! I could see the characters, hear the voices, watch the gestures and see absolute joy in their faces.

    After the workshop I answered questions and chatted with the group who still had many family stories buzzing in their heads. I think a very positive seed was planted in this group on why and how to keep this story tradition alive and well. Then my thoughts turned to snow. I asked someone who had just come in if the snow had started yet.... No, but I am  1 1/2 - 2 hours from home, in the direction of the storm. I called home, yes the snow had started, very fine flakes not sticking to the roads yet. It was time to get out of Boston! As I walked out of Boston Public Library the first flakes began to fall, "there's no place like home...".  Along the highway there were flashing signs warning of the impending storm conditions and reminding us to get where we needed to be. I was making that effort with haste. The drive was uneventful and only the last 45 minutes was there snow on the roads, but the tire lanes remained clear. My eyes wearied from the snow pelting the windshield and the left- right play of the windshield wipers, but I was going to make it home! I turned off the main roads, so very close now and not worried, there's no place like home when a New England snow storm is barreling into town! There's no place like a storytelling Festival to fill mind and heart with great stories and new friendships. I got to do both in one day! Thanks Boston Storytelling Festival and massmouth for a wonderful event!

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Tags: Boston, Carolyn, Festival, Library, Public, Stearns, Storytelling, family, massmouth, stories, More…storytelling, workshop

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