Saturday, March 1, 2008

Tellers and Tales at Timp - See you on the road

Of course we still had the evening concert to go. But that was only the fun part of it...
The auditorium was full, and once again we experienced all the cheerful people coming in, eager to hear some stories - young children of all ages, as Donald put it. The colorful little bunch of storytellers was sitting in the front left corner, chatting and smiling and sharing the experiences and highlights of the weekend... until the lights went out and it was time to go on stage.
Cherie Davis opened the show, with a personal story about her mother (yes we all wished we knew her, it was such a nice story); then there was Meg Gilman (another personal story, absolutely hilarious and still deep; trademark Meg) and Kate Dudding who showed a piece of that historical storytelling I mentioned earlier (life of Irving Berlin) and then Linda Gorham, aka Lady Attitude (she is such a blur of colors on the stage - and we had such a PaaarTay:) and Jo Radner, elegant as ever, telling about Sir Maxim and his Yankee inventions (wow what a story... and now I feel I'm not supposed to say it was funny, but it was... in an ironic way...)
And then it was my turn to tell a tale; and because I promised it to all the dragon-lovers the day before, I told the story of the Dragon Prince (with the new name the heroine got - she is now calles Kerkenez, little hawk...). It was such a great experience to stand on the stage in front of a full auditorium of people... it really was. I'm getting seriously addicted to it...
And it was David again who had to close the show, and the conference. If I had to summarize the story experience I had during that weekend, I'd say something like "fairy tales will never be the same again"- his Cinder Girl just so rocks. It is really a big deal if someone can make my like a story I was not really fond of before... and he did. "Ashes to ashes, we all fall down..." And he also told a sweet little story about a salt shaker (I doubt I'll ever be able to pass a salt shaker after this without saying hi...).
And suddenly and way too soon the conference was over. It was getting dark outside; people, laughing and chatting, left us in the auditorium. We were happy and wide awake; people hugged each other like family, we took photos, we talked and talked and talked, and exchanged cards and phone numbers and good wishes for the journey home. It was a happy scene; I was already sitting on the plane back to Hartford the next day when I started thinking about what just happened to me.
It was a scene that is thousands of years old - storytellers travel to a place to meet, and tell, and listen; they share their own tales, and spend a day or two together in their own colorful family circle, and then they are on their way again, and one can never know where they came from and where they are going, and when they will show up again...
And it was David who gave me the perfect sentence to close the post and the conference, and start the journey:
"See you on the road."

Tellers and Tales at Timp - Baptism by fire

There are only a handful of better ways to spend an early morning than sitting in a room filled with storytellers, munching on strawberry marzipan muffins, sipping hot chocolate and listening to Donald Davis. Doesn't sound that bad does it?... Especially when he talks about why storytelling is important - scratch that, essential - for human beings and children in particular (yeah, we all love kids).
So this is how my second day started at the Timp Conference. I was much less sleepy and much more nervous (you would have been too if you had to do a workshop after hearing all those performances the day before...) and ready for learning more...
For the first session I chose Nannette Watts' workshop about coaching young storytellers and organizing youth storytelling events. My main reason for that was that I'd like to start something like that when I go back home (I have a whole castle for a setting... seriously), and one has to learn from the pros... and pro she is, with lists and tips and advice and handouts, and lots of games and fun (besides she is a bundle of energy, always moving and moving - yeah, dance major :D - reminds me of a hummingbird). I can't wait till I can try all the games and activities she taught us... (poor kids will be so exhausted XD ). And I also bought her book and it's gonna be very useful (and no she did not pay for this post XD )
Box lunch, enough said, and the show was rolling again: the afternoon performance was by the Resonance Story Theater (aka Wendy, Karla, Nannette and Steffani). They told us in advance that their show was designed for kids - and then they turned us all into laughing and yelling and squeaking 5th graders for almost an hour... there was drumming and singing and lots of funny faces, and a pleasant amount of audience participation... yay!
And there was only one session left. Because Wendy swore that the best workshop of her life was David's The Storyteller's Compass, I asked him if he would let me participate for the first half (of the 3-hour double session). And he did, and he did it with a smile (yay). It was a small and friendly group - the whole thing started out as a game of words and ideas, and soon I realized we were actually learning, no not really learning, discovering new things. David is a good teacher, he lets do draw your own conclusions... I felt a bit sorry I had to leave halfway through, but oh well, I had my own workshop to do...
Really, it's not my task to write odes about my own session... all I can say is that I had fun, enjoyed telling the tales, and... ow this won't work. Okay, one more try.
The whole experience of sitting in a friendly circle with people who came to listen to my tales; who asked me questions even before it started (even the day before) and told me in advance how curious they were; to see their faces and eyes while I was telling my stories, and the way they listened even to the Hungarian parts they could not understand (they could not, but they did, that's what Donald taught us...). It was just plain amazing. I was not nervous, I was not lost in focusing - I just had fun sharing something that is my own with people from halfway around the world...
The stories behaved well enough, Fehérlófia got the best telling I ever had in English so far; I had some surprises though - I'd never realized before that a castle spinning on a duck leg must sound hilariously funny for non-Hungarian people... Well, it was over before I realized it, and... I felt like an official international storyteller who had just presented her workshop at the Timpanogos Storytelling Conference...
What can I say? Yay!