Monday, March 21, 2016

The Great and Powerful A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

Some of you might remember that I actually announced my A to Z theme way back in October. It was all neat and tidy and it was going to feature folktale collections. I was super prepared and on top of my pile of books.

SURPRISE!
I changed my mind.

The books I read and wrote about will be re-scheduled for other times. However, I decided to address a topic that currently intrigues me more - it is something I use for my teaching work in Culture Studies, as well as a workshop I am going to present at the end of April at the Northlands Storytelling Conference. With these things in mind, here is my actual theme (for real this time!):

Tales of Many Shapes and Colors:
Representation and Diversity in Storytelling

Representation and diversity are much discussed topics in relation to movies, comic books, literature, and the media. People have been speaking up about having more stories that feature characters that have not been featured before - or if they have, only sporadically, in minor roles, or as stereotypes. Projects like We Need Diverse Books and Miss Representation have proliferated all over the Internet, and rightly so.

As I see it, there is no reason why there shouldn't be a parallel discussion in oral storytelling as well.
Here are some things I believe:

Knights of color
in shining armor?
People want stories.
People want diverse stories.
You can't be what you can't see. (Or, in our case, hear about)
People want to see themselves in the stories they hear.
People want to see their experiences and problems represented in the stories they hear.
Storytellers have a responsibility towards their audiences.

Here is the thing: First and foremost, I work with traditional stories. Myths, epics, folktales, fairy tales, legends, that kinda stuff. And people have been pointing out that there are many things that you don't see represented in these stories - simply because they were written down in times when these issues and identities were not talked about (or have been erased since).
BUT.
This does NOT mean that:
- stories like that should not exist
- stories like that have never existed (you just have to dig for them)

I want this A to Z to be a resource for storytellers and people interested in stories. Each day, I will pick a topic that has been questioned in relation to traditional stories, such as:

How about female knights?
Why are stepmothers always evil? Are there any kind ones out there?
Can you name any folktales that feature female friendships?
Why are there so few traditional tales with LGBT+ representation?
Are there any stories where a male and a female hero fights side by side?
What about legends where heroes of different religions coexist?

And I will take a closer look at traditional stories to see what I can come up with. Of course, there will be topics that are truly hard to fill with any folktale or myth (this is why we need New Trad, as my colleague and guest blogger Danielle Bellone so eloquently explained). But it can often be surprising what you can find when you scratch below the surface.

Happy A to Z!

(My other theme, on the MopDog, will be Crazy Hungarian Cartoons! Check it out here)

67 comments:

  1. That's really a good one.
    I actually belileve there's more in folktales than we normally think. Sometimes there are things we have misinterpreted for a very long time, simply becuase we don't care to look at the subject with our own eyes or because we don't knwo the culture or origin well enough.

    Can't wait to read!

    Have a fantastic challenge!

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

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    1. That is very true :) We'll see what I can rustle up :) See you in April!

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  2. This theme is really going to be interesting! Finding out real-life, modern age lessons from traditional stories is going to be a challenge. But nevertheless, I'm sure you'll be able to do it.

    Will be here all through April to cheer you on! <3

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  3. Fabulous theme. Of course there are loving non evil step moms, here I am, LOL. You're theme is going to the top of my list. I am so interested in folktales and I'm pretty sure most of the ones I know are misinterpreted or have been told wrong for generations.
    If you visit my theme reveal I hope you won't give up on me. I'm on the tail end of a blog makeover and my blog is loading really slow, but the design company assured me it will be working properly in time for the challenge, and probably by midday today. I'm so eager to read your topics.

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    1. Congrats on the makeover! I hope you'll enjoy my posts. :) I'll be visiting you in April!

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  4. Your posts are always so interesting and a joy to read and this year's topic sounds brilliant. I cannot wait to see your posts.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  5. Diversity is such an important topic. I look forward to your posts.
    Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

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  6. As someone in a few minority positions, I like this idea. I'll look forward to reading all about diversity in folktales, myths, etc.

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  7. This sounds like a VERY interesting theme!

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  8. I'll be hopping back this year, since I always find your themes engaging, and this one is no different.

    See you in April,

    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles | Wittegen Press | FB3X

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  9. A really interesting theme. I'm looking forward to it! :) Best regards!

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  10. What a great resource you'll be sharing! I look forward to tuning in.

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  11. What an awesome theme! I love myths and fairytales, and also know that the fairytales we "know" are not really the "real" ones. I look forward to reading your posts!

    http://www.dsavannah.com/blog/

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  12. You will be fantastic in whatever theme you take on...so I will be following it as I did before. Interesting questions.

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  13. That is going to be engrossing to read! I did much enjoy your last year's theme as well. Plan to come back in April.

    Best wishes.
    Nilanjana.
    Madly-in-Verse

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  14. wow! sounds very interesting and of course informational. I will be around to read more! All the best!

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  15. Now that's an interesting and an insightful theme. I will be back on 1st April. See you :)

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  16. That sounds like a great theme. I'll be interested to see what you come up with.

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  17. oooh am super excited, this promises to be a treat :)

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  18. oooh am super excited, this promises to be a treat :)

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  19. Hooray! I can't make it to Northlands, and was sad to know I'd miss your session there. I'm so looking forward to reading your posts on representation in stories and oral storytelling! So needed!

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    1. Yay! I hope you'll find it a useful resource :)

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  20. Oh wow! What a unique, clever and creative theme! I look forward to seeing what all you create! See you in 10 days! ~Lori~

    Lori @ As the Fates Would Have It
    Lori @ Promptly Written

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  21. this will be a great theme to read about. i can't wait. you always have some of the best blog posts. See you on the first.

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  22. This will be interesting to read about. Very interesting. I'm always up exploring the world of literature from a different perspective.

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  23. This is SO up my alley!! I'm promoting a short story next month exploring diversity in characters *and green technology*! Will be here to learn more!!

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  24. An interesting theme for the #Challenge to return to in April. I look forward to sitting at your feet and learning more about story telling. I know it will inform my writing as well. Glad you changed your mind!

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  25. I'd love to hear about diversity in storytelling, and I think the folktale angle will be especially interesting. I bet a lot of the diverse parts really have been erased over time, kind of like the noses chipped off Egyptian statues...

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    1. Yes, probably (especially when it comes to gender or sexuality). I am always curious what gets buried over time... (then again, I have an MA in Archaeology... :D)

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  26. Sounds like a very interesting topic! I'm looking forward to your posts.

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  27. I look forward to your posts.

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  28. Awesome, awesome theme. Why am I not surprised? Count on you to combine timely topics with ancient tales. You go, girl!!

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  29. So there I was all set to add my signature to a comment on another blog and I decided to check the link. OMG. I must have been in the middle of visiting your blog when I set it up last year cause this blog was the link for my name. Must have copied your address and forgot to double check that I used my own. Lol. Looking forward to this year's posts.

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  30. Wonderful theme! I'll be stopping by to check it out!

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  31. I always enjoy thought provoking stuff. As a storyteller this blog fits right in. Looking forward to it.

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    1. Thank you! :) I hope you'll enjoy the posts!

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  32. It does sound like a very intriguing theme and one I haven't seen in my 3 years of doing the A/Z challenge! Great question about step mothers always being evil; would be nice to see a kind one nice and then in a fairy tale! Good luck with the challenge!

    betty

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    1. Yes, that one especially intrigues me too. We'll see where the research leads :)

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  33. What an interesting theme. Looking forward to your insight on the topic.

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  34. Love this. Can't wait for your posts! :D

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  35. Wow, what a great, ambitious theme. I look forward to reading your posts!

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  36. Brilliant theme!
    Diversity is so important.
    It has a universal appeal.

    I'm showcasing blogger books & book reviews...plus there will be loads of giveaways!
    See you around on the A to Z circuit!

    Writer In Transit

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  37. Why am I not surprised you changed your mind? Great theme, and looking forward to every day of it. Have a really enjoyable time, Csenge xxx
    Jemima Pett

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  38. Hey Zalka! Great to see you around..and look forward to reading your posts!

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  39. look forward to reading you through april on the a to z challenge

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  40. Ha, I've changed my themes so many times that I've got themes to use for the next several years if I decide to ever use them. I decided my "Manhattan" theme in January after having most of my originally proposed A to Z posts already outlined.

    Your theme sounds instructional as well as interesting. I was just thinking about something related to this recently. I'll be interested in reading what you have to say.

    Thanks for all of your hard work on the Challenge prep!

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I already have an idea for next year's theme too... but I bet I'll change my mind :D

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  41. Sounds good! I've always been a fan of folktales, theory, and diversity, so I'll be here in April.

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  42. You picked something challenging! Bet you had fun researching it though.

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  43. That's very cool to be looking at diversity. I can't wait - it's going to be an informative series.

    Thanks for dropping by.
    I LOVE your hair. =)
    Cheers.

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  44. This is the BEST theme I've come across so far! I'm really looking forward to reading your posts. I've loved folklore for as long as I can remember and I know there are so many layers to every story. We have to be willing to dig! I'm sure you had a lot of fun digging! Enjoy the Challenge :)

    ~Jen

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  45. you had me at why are stepmothers evil? I have my own answer, but we'll see if we agree. ha! This sounds quite ambitious. I look forward to reading your posts

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  46. This is so interesting! I can't wait to see what topics you bring up. This is something I've always been really interested in and also am constantly learning more about. Right on, and good luck!


    Jazminn
    Under Jazminn Skyes

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  47. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :) I changed themes (or at least patterns) about three times before settling on two!
    Ros
    Fangirl Stitches - Cross Stitch Alphabets
    Travel like a Geek - A-Z Tour of Harry Potter Film Locations

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  48. J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge - where I am part of Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team.
    Excellent choice for an A to Z challenge theme. Good job. My theme is the craft of fiction writing. Tips, lessons, and prompts from various writing reference books. I follow it up with a sample of my work.
    Your theme... I cannot begin to tell you how much I look forward to these posts, or how happy it makes me to just read this IS a theme.

    (Insert Robert Deniro image here... http://derekwinnert.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/590.jpg LOL)

    April should be exciting. I'm looking forward to the event. Best of luck to us both on meeting our goals of posting and hopping to other blogs.
    My blog has a giveaway. There's a bonus a to z challenge each day to encourage people to visit more stops.
    http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com

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  49. I love stories! Especially traditional ones. Can't wait to see more of this theme!
    JEN Garrett at Lexical Creations

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  50. I won't be posting on A-Z Challenge this year but am certainly looking forward to reading your storytelling posts - I've learned so much from your well thought out themes and posts!

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  51. Your topic sounds crazy interesting. My current WIP is a modern fiction but deals with issues not often talked about. My next series is a fantasy from what I believe is a whole new perspective. I can't wait to read your challenge posts. I'll be back. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for following me to the new blog!

    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

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  52. I'm coming late to the blog, Csenge, but the topic is spot on! We've just had the 35th annual Sharing the Fire conference, whose theme was Storytelling in a Changing World. It was opened with Milbre Burch's fabulous performance, "Changing Skins" (bring her to do it near you!), which builds a powerful message around (yes!) traditional folktales that explore gender-queerness. There's a lot more out there than we realize in the world folktale hoard.

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