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The Spark of Your Story Fire

Imagining is the most important storytelling skill. If you cannot imagine a story, then you have nothing to communicate.

The words of a story are much less important: they are just a medium through which you stimulate others to imagine. In this sense, words are like a fireplace: the container that shapes the fire and makes it efficient, not the fuel that burns.

But, in another sense, imagining is the act that puts you in contact with the unknown…

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.

The Third Age of Storytelling: a Thank You

In a technological age, what is there for oral storytellers to be thankful for?

The Third Age of Storytelling is so new, we can hardly recognize it, much less be fully grateful for it. Let’s start by understanding the Ages that led up to it…

Why Don’t More Storytellers Succeed?

Success in storytelling isn’t just about being a good teller – as vital as excellent telling is. Equally important is avoiding three common mistakes when trying to reach new customers. The lead article in this newsletter describes the mistakes and how to avoid them.

Can Storytelling Customers Find Your Doorway?

“Most storytellers run their businesses like the impractical man who built a lovely house on a busy street, then waited in vain for visitors to come in – because he forgot to build a front door!”

What are the “doorways” for your customers to enter into your storytelling life? Is it possible to create new ones that suit you – and your ideal customers – perfectly?

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!

Traffic, Diversity, and Remembering to Tell Stories

Oklahoma has taught me lessons about storytelling, including to avoid “traffic,” to not be fooled by the appearance of sameness among my listeners, and to learn from Native American tradition to tell stories instead of haranguing.

This is part 2 of “7 Lessons Storytellers Can Learn from Oklahoma“.

A Storyteller’s Farewell to Oklahoma

As I move back to Boston after 5 years, I think over the 7 things Oklahoma has taught me about storytelling. This is part one; part two is at

What Can Storytellers Learn from Tulsa?

Compared to Bostonians, Tulsans have a different style of waiting. This has big implications for telling stories effectively, as this article describes. There is also an exercise you can do to determine if your storytelling stance is more Tulsa or more Boston.

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.

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