Monday, June 27, 2016

10 years already?!

I have been a professional storyteller for ten years today. 

Ten years ago on this day, a lazy summer break afternoon, I registered to the Storytell mailing list, and sent them the following e-mail:

My first "official" gig
with the Renaissance group
Hello everyone! Sziasztok!
I've just subscribed:) I'm a 20-year-old Hungarian girl, and I'm sooo gald to have found this list at last... you know, professional storytelling doesn't exist in my country (well, as for me, not YET:) and I'd really love to find people like me... I've been telling stories for some 5 years, mostly to children in summer camps (and to my roommates in other camps and univerity colage:). I'm also a writer (first book published last week!!!:) and a member of a Renaissance group (as things are now, maybe I will be the storyteller of the group:). And I'm still a beginner. And I'm sad that I could find no one in entire Hungary to help me with storytelling... I don't even know if I could find jobs as one (I'm not helped with this by univerity either: I study Archeology... as for that, I still gonna starve to death...:))) (we call storytellers "mesemondó" in Hungraian, you like it?:). If ANYone has ANYthing useful to tell me about what I'm beginning now, thanks a lot... maybe I could pay it back with some Hungarian stories if you'd like that:) And I hope I will find some friends here too...:)
Oh, and I am not a native English speaker (maybe you've already fihured that out:), sorry for spelling and grammar...

(I left the typos and grammar mistakes in there just to show how much my English changed in 10 years... to be fair, my English was better even back then, but I was typing the email in a nervous frenzy.)

Boy, did they have "anything useful" to tell me.
This email was solely responsible for kicking off my life as a professional storyteller. Dozens of amazing, friendly, helpful, and loving people answered it within a day, and ever since then they have been giving me continuous support and encouragement on my journey. I will never be able to fully repay the Storytell community for responding to my wobbly email with so much enthusiasm.

And this is me at the book launch interview for my
newly published book on international storytelling last week

I have come a long way since 2006. Three books, three degrees (including one in Storytelling), three blogs, two continents, several festivals, even more conferences, hundreds of performances, the Holnemvolt Foundation, MythOffs, TED talks, a place on the FEST Executive Committee, an epic-telling grant, and hundreds, hundreds of storytelling friends to share the travels, the stories, and the joy. I briefly considered making a list of highlights from the past ten years... but really, I could not just pick one, or ten. Or even fifty. If you want to browse through them, scroll down, and keep scrolling...   

I still love telling
in costume
Fitting for the ten-year anniversary, this upcoming year promises to be eventful. Finishing my PhD (fingers crossed) I will have some big decisions to make, new roads to travel, and new things to learn. I have a new book in the works (a collection of Hungarian folktales in English), and I am loving my dissertation research on digital storytelling and role-playing games. But wherever I go next, or wherever I will be typing the 20 year anniversary post 10 years from now, I know that storytelling will still be in the center of my life.

Thank you, all of you. Thank you so, so much. You know who you are.

Here is to the next 10 years. I'll see you all on the road!


  1. Cool! I'd forgotten calling you 'Maczek.' But that clears a mystery I had about why I wondered who you were when I met you as 'Csenga.'

  2. Yes, I remember that post and the beginning of our subsequent storytelling stellar collision. It's been a great ride watching you develop as a storyteller and your ability to challenge yourself at every turn. May you embrace the next 10 years as the muse opens new doors to the world of story.

  3. Congratulations on hitting the ten-year mark as a professional storyteller! And best of luck for the upcoming years!

  4. Congratulations. I remember hearing a professional storyteller years ago when my kids were young. She was amazing and I am sure you are too. It really is a great talent to have (which I don't).

  5. What a joy it must be for you to look back and see all that you've accomplished by forging your own unique path. Can't wait to hear about what the next 10 year will bring! Congratulations!

  6. This so wonderful. I find oral storytelling a little bit magical. It feels like your are a keeper of a very old, and very important tradition. Congratulations on all you've accomplished (and your new book! yay!) and best of luck with your PhD and all your future endeavors! :D

  7. Congratulation on your first ten years, and a wish for many decades to come!
    It was wonderful that you could find your way with the help of people who love storytelling like you do.