Story Dynamics – Stories » Having confidence

What Keeps a Storyteller Going?

In many ways, we performing storytellers don’t live easy lives.

So, why do we do it? What’s in it for us?

Could it be something about the mysterious ways that stories pass through us, conveying meanings of which we may be unaware?

Relating to Your Listeners

In this third installment of “12 Skills of the Storyteller,” I take up the two key skills of relating to your listeners. This is where the magic happens!

In the Darkest Times, Stories Remind Us…

Here at my home near Boston, we just had our first major snowstorm. The nights are long now and the days are cold.

Given how dark and cold it feels, it’s easy to ignore the solstice, which occurred without fanfare yesterday at 5:45 pm. Nothing flashy happened. It was dark before 5:45; it was dark afterward. And, after all, the solstice happens every year.

But the solstice can be a reminder that events go in cycles, undulating like waves. And story can be a powerful reminder…

Your Thanksgiving Stories

Two years after their first Thanksgiving feast, the Pilgrims faced starvation, living for a time on a ration of five kernels of grain a day.

Gratitude is sweeter when we remember times of scarcity. And scarcity is sweeter when we season it with gratitude for what we do have.

Stories are, themselves, a form of wealth. And telling our stories – both of scarcity and especially of gratitude – is a form of wealth no one can take from us.

Have You Suffered from Time-Off Poisoning?

Taking time off from storytelling can be a good thing. But watch out for “Time-Off Poisoning.” It can sap your confidence in your telling, and even cause you to quit altogether!

Have You Been Throwing Away Your Story Seeds?

Everyone can make up stories. If you think you can’t, it may be due to the “seed and the tree” problem.

When you are faced with the seed of a story, you may not recognize it. This is in part because story seeds can vary so much from each other.

But it’s mostly because, until you’ve made up a lot of successful stories, you probably haven’t had many chances to connect story seeds with the stories they grow into.

The “Comforter Method” of Storytelling

When I was six and a half, my parents, my brother and I moved from our little one-bedroom apartment. We left behind the bedroom that barely held two single-sized beds and moved to a house in the suburbs. Our parents got a double bed. It seemed enormous!

Even more miraculous, my parents’ new bed was covered with the most luxurious object I had ever come across…

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