Friday, September 12, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 35

Listen To A Professional Storyteller.  

The Boyhood of Raleigh by Sir John Everett Millais
The best storyteller I knew was my uncle. 

He’s passed away now, but thanks to him we retain some of our family history and have unravelled the mysteries behind many family photos.

In the absence of my uncle, I took myself off to the local library for Toddler Story Time.

I know this is a little bending of the Author Challenge. The storyteller in this case read from her stack of books. 
And even though she didn’t offer a script-less story, I was charmed to watch the modern librarian share her love of fiction with those just learning to embrace the power of words. 

Here’s what I learned. 

1. The Storyteller Will Always Get Kicked In The Shins...if she’s strategically perched on a small chair above an expectant crowd. 

She won’t escape without a few bruises. And neither will the story writer. 

There might be someone ready to mess with you if your story doesn’t match their expectations. Or perhaps their impatience might send an anxious foot your way. It may even be, in their enthusiasm, your audience can’t get close enough. 

Telling a story involves some risk. And by some, I mean exposing you flesh and bones to the mercy of your audience. 

Story Time ~ behind the library shelves.
2. The Storyteller Holds The Power...if she whispers and raises her voice accordingly. 

Little ears, and I’m sure big ones, hang on the tension when a story dips and soars. Our librarian used her inside voice to hold the children enthralled for the exciting beginning and suitably terrified them when the black moment evolved. Those baby-listener eyes widened and their rosebud mouths gaped in anticipation. (This is when they left her shins alone.)

3. The Storyteller Invites The Listener To Come Along With Her... if the story captivates and reflects their world. 

None of these toddlers knew a real life talking hog, but when Peppa Pig went on a sleepover, they all had tales to share of sleeping at grandma’s house. This is when the storyteller asked if Peppa's experience matched theirs. (And this is when the shin kicking picked up again.)

Excited toddlers saw themselves in the story and wanted to know what Peppa Pig did next, eager to taste the world through her eyes first... then maybe try some of the mischief for themselves. 

Story Time ~ Behind the library shelves

Story is a mirror. It holds someone else’s truth in a way which looks very much like our own. 

That’s why two dozen little people fought for the best spot on the librarian’s mat. Why they drank in the adventures, the fear and the happy resolutions on the last page. 

And why I loved to sit at my uncle’s feet... and listen.

His stories were not just about my family in the old country. They were about me. 


Do you have a favourite family storyteller?

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,