I’ve been away from telling stories for a while, and from listening to straight-up storytelling for the most part. Frequent visitors to the blog (all five of you, apparently. Bless your hearts!) will understand that I’ve been down recently on my own ability to spin a good yarn. I’ve been in that morass of discouragement that Ira Glass talks about (a reference that one day I must STOP USING).
I’ve been getting encouragement lately to get back into the game. Most recently, I was told once again at The Heart City Story Club that I have my unique experiences to share.
So now, I’m thinking again about setting up a storytelling show and speaking with friend of the blog Kerri Noack, we’ve come up with a few strategies. And, no, I will not lay them out here for you.
But I will give you one other strategy I’m thinking of employing to help me out of my rut. When learning to play a musical instrument, we tend to learn how to play by playing another person’s song. We don’t make up new songs to learn to play guitar — that’d be too challenging. So why is it that I must learn to tell stories by writing up my own? Can I not learn how to perform by starting with performing the great stories that are already out there? Musicians do this. Actors do this. Why not storytellers.
Now, this is a controversial thing to propose — to practice at home telling other people’s stories (no, not THAT Other People’s Stories). A comedian would be shamed if they used someone else’s material, and I’m sure a Moth storyteller would, too. But I’m not trying to get material for my own performances — I just want to understand the tools other, more successful, storytellers use to make their performances rock.
I know of no other storyteller who does this, but I’m sure there must be others. I’m not that original. If, dear reader, you know of someone, please let me know!!! I broached this on a post on the NYC Storytelling Facebook group, but no one responded. Maybe this is a super-taboo thing. Or silly. Or stupid. Who knows until I try, right?