Wednesday, August 29, 2007

First hint of storytelling

We were walking downtown when I heard Trang nagging Ngoni to tell her a story on the boat where we were about to have our lunch, so she wouldn't get boatsick, whatever it is. Ngoni kept glancing around for help and started pushing her towards me, "ask her, she will". I felt the smile appearing on my face.
"This is your lucky day. I'm a storyteller." - it just felt soooooo good to say it out loud. Then it all disappeared in an enthusiastic scream.
Short story for short trip: The King Who Loved Dragons. My first story told over here. It's not like it mattered, though. As brother Anansi would say, all stories are connected to each other. You have no need to pick a first one in the web.

Storyteller walking in

When we had been sitting on the plane for 7 hours and we still saw nothing but blue and blue and blue we started to think that maybe this whole America thing is just a huuuuge big joke and we're going to end up in India after all. We did not.
After spending 9 hours at JFK (killing time with admiring various things, just like state symbols on our brand-new quarters) we arrived to the enchanted midnight fairy tale called college campus, which, according to our rather random and half-asleep, full-jetleg observations, consists of many different things:
- crickets (millions of them actually, roaring all around)
- trees
- squirrels (dozens of them)
- lovely, old-fashioned street lamps
- redbrick houses
- beds (their importance increased a LOT after 30 hours of not-sleeping, that's how they made it to this list)
It was not really that "storyteller walking in with a single bag, a lute and a feather hat, whistling and smiling" kind of thing - it was rather like "the storyteller dragging herself with two backpacks and a suitcase, yawning uncontrollably and blinking like an owl with short-sight issues". But it still had a certain feeling of a beginning adventure.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The land I came from...

How should I describe the land I came from? I used to think that there was not too much to describe at all, but right now, collecting and arranging all the Hungarian tales and legends to bring them with me to the US, the possibilities seem totally endless. If it would be a real storytelling moment, I'd tell you the tale from the very beginning to the very time we live in, but that would definitely take more than a moment... several moments, in fact. I could go into J .R. R. Tolkien mode and describe the woods, the hills and the "stars uncounted" in long sentences all ringing like church bells. Don't get scared, I won't. Right now, I'm more into checklists (guess why!:)

Let's see what storytellers and story-lovers would probably be glad to know.

The land I came from...

... is the land of dragon riders. Yep. It sounds totally cool, and we invented it a waaaay before Eragon was even thought of. Come back later for garabonciás stories.
... used to be the Kingdom of Fairies. Not the teeny-weeny butterfly-winged ones.The real ones (I have no objections for butterfly wings at all! I could use a pair myself). From rivers and woods and caves and marshes they built themselves a kingdom in Szigetköz and Csallóköz. Yay, I love those legends. They are quite sad at the end, though.
... has a castle or a fort on every mountain, every hill, every rock, every mole-hill and most of the anthills too. And every single one of them has their own legend (except for the anthills, I guess, but never underestimate a storyteller. I already have the name for THE ant!). I can't get enough of them.
... has a unique monster called rézfaszú bagoly, but I'd rather not translate the name. Trust me, it's serious.
... has it's own sleeping king just like Finn Mac Cool, King Arthur, Holger Danske. Well hidden somewhere, saved for worse times, ready to be reloaded.
... has dragons who look like humans. Some of them have vast amounts of heads, though. But they are rather effective when pissed.
... has magic horses in any size, any age, any kind, all coming in copper, silver, gold and diamond, and the deluxe version includes shape-shifting and free advice.
... has rather nice and friendly devils. Really. And the less nice ones are still funny. And the dangerous are manageable.
... has legendary princes who can consume incredible amounts of alcohol. Just for the sake of politeness, of course.

There are still some more facts coming up to this list. Not now.

You don't get a word? Start Googling;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Granny Squannit a-waitin'

When planning a trip to... anywhere, I always start by browsing through books and webpages to find something, a story, a legend or at least a faint belief to start with. It doesn't necessarily has to be something famous or huge, but it's important to find something special that captures my imagination. And searching is the fun part. If I find a legend too easily, at first click, I might leave it alone and search further.
This is how I started reading about Connecticut, and sweeping through the Constitution and nutmegs and Hartford and Mark Twain and Yale and more nutmegs I finally arrived to the Native Americans (I spent a lot of time with the nutmeg part though, which I find extremely facinating, but I'll leave it for later).
This whole Native American world is brand new to me, and I jumped right in, link after link, and suddenly there it was, the page with all the stories, and I had what I was looking for. The lady's name is Granny Squannit.

Here is the link:

I always loved every kind of Little Folk, and the minute I read this story I knew that I'll make Granny Squannit my imaginary host for the Hartford trip. It might seem that I've rushed into this decision, but I need a point to start, and I will be able to clear the view around me, starting with Native Americans and broadening the collection till I will be able to tell stories about Connecticut for hours and hours (and then I'll only have to figure out how to nail the audience to their chairs...) (and I still have a long way to go to the nutmegs. Gee, I like the word. Nutmeg. Nutmeg. Nutmeg.)
Besides, I especially love the idea of Granny being married to Moshup, a giant, and their fights making all the storms in the land. I can clearly imagine the tiny little shrew with her eyes like blackberries and moving like a bird, with deafening thunder pointing out her every argument... what a couple! I'm going to dig into that.
It's getting late. Three notes for my first day seem totally enough. Yawn.

Tell everybody I'm on my way...

God knows how I envy those wandering Medieval storytellers: no visa, no paperwork, no passports, no borders, none of that pack in - measure - pack out - re-arrange - pack in - measure - get pissed - pack out crazyness. All they had was a backpack (or something like that) and a lute (ow, I want a lute so badly!) and their multicolored coats and hats with feathers and the road. The Road.
On the other hand, I have to admit that I like it better this way. I'm the child of the 20th century, and let's face it, I wouldn't survive for a single week in the Middle Ages (I'm still working on that, though. Check out later.). And I wouldn't be going to the US either if it wasn't for the Internet and phone calls and e-mails - probably I wouldn't even know about the place! (thanks, Columbus!) Good news is, I can plan my trip, I can contact all those great storytellers all around the World, and find tons of places to visit in advance. And books. Yep, I definitely love the books. will be happy to have me in the US.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO ALL THE READERS: I started this blog as The Multicolored Lady, the Storyteller. There won't be many personal details about me, or long descriptions of my everyday life - I still don't believe in sharing them with the faceless crowd of the WWW. If you were counting on it, ye be warned. BUT there will be lots of stories; not just real tales I've learnt or written, but also tidbits and adventures of the journey of a storyteller, with experiences, interesting details, all the ups and downs, and yes, pictures and hopefully audio! If it sounds good enough to you, bookmark my blog and come back to visit once or twice a week - take this journey with the storyteller!

So, tell everybody I'm on my way (and don't tell them I got my topic line from Brother Bear OST - such a happy song!). I'll take all the 21th century merits (without such flaws as the packing process) and make them into a timeless journey with stories uncounted, places filled with legends, many people to meet, and I'll carry my own little backpack of tales wherever I go. On foot or by plane, it really doesn't matter.

Meet the Multicolored Lady!

"I’m the Weaver of Words, Teller of Tales, Traveller of Time. I’m the one who never keeps a secret, but always has plenty of them; I’m the one who can tell you the most beautiful lies but would tell the truth even if it cost my life. I’m the one who speaks the language of water and fire and all the words of mankind – but I never say a word if it does not have it’s time and place. I’m the one who knows how to tame a dragon, and how to fight an evil witch; but I wouldn’t shoot a gun. I’m the one who knows all the crimes and weaknesses, but I love mankind more than anyone. I’m the one who tells the first tale to the baby, and keeps the last one of the dead. I’m a link in the chain that connects people to themselves. I’m a storyteller."