Kevin Cordi’s “Permission to Play” Workshop!


Kevin Cordi’s “Permission to Play” Workshop!

July 21, 2010  U of MO St. Louis


— very random reflections on the experience by Mary Garrett  (Kevin will be doing this workshop at NSN later this week).

Mom always said not to play with our food, but Kevin had us all pledge, giving ourselves permission to play with stories!!  The benefits were wonderful!

Some partner work opened us up to playful possibilities —

I would never . . .  have a cat . . climb a mountain . . .

I would always . . . (the same — with grand new insights!)

Joined by a purple elephant . . . and I think we all liked our elephants very much!

Working on stories with this collaboration/elaboration technique showed us new aspects of the stories, insights and possibilities . . .

We were told to bring new stories, with less investment from previous “work” on the stories and more room to PLAY!

(I think that it would open up familiar stories as well, and add fresh insights).

We never got beyond the first few lines of my story, which was fine.  In playing with the story, we discovered why the barber had so many problems (hands shaking out of control) and explored the wonders of the wedding gifts to the princess!  (“Barber’s Clever Wife” from Fearless Girls . . . by Kathleen Ragan).

Flavia’s work with “Sody Sallyratus” was marvelous! This was a new story for her, familiar to most of the rest of us, but by the end, new for us all.  Kevin and Flavia fell into an improv bickering dialogue by the old couple about who should go look for the children — we were laughing out loud!  Flavia’s bear got funnier (and more over-fed) with each scene.  It was a riot.

Ric worked on a story of coyote flying with borrowed feathers, ending with us all soaring and (oops) falling . . .  It felt real to me, even though I had missed part of it as I went outside to call to warn Spiro’s about our delay (organizing storytellers is like herding cats) and got locked out of the building until a kind custodian let me in.

Becky and Stephen visited and helped adapt Linda’s  tripod for Kevin’s new camera.  Sue was the “scribe with the camera.”  Lynne participated in the improvs and discussions.  Rosie had to leave early . . . to help a homeless veteran find a safe place to be (that’s so very Rosie).

We had to be extra-physical to stay warm. . . the a/c works a bit too well sometimes.  I almost always have a lightweight pareo with me, which I loaned to Flavia, who was turning blue.  She would have gone outside to warm up, but there was a most dramatic storm, which cleared up by the time we left.

I had a sun precautions shirt to wear over my “Cleverly Disguised As a Responsible Adult” t-shirt, nearly worn out, but it fit the theme of the workshop well.  Now Flavia wants one, and I don’t think Signals has them any longer, but she’s clever enough to make one.  This is the closest I could find with a Google search

At Spiro’s we did not play with the food, but we did enjoy it* along with great conversation and storytelling.  We shared many teaching stories, and I realized that one of the reasons I enjoyed my years of teaching was that, along with storytelling, I had given myself and my students “permission to play” at least part of the time.

*Dinner was delicious!  Spiro is a conscientious chef.  When asked to prepare shrimp with the dijon sauce offered with the salmon he said no “because I do not know that it would taste right” and suggested shrimp scampi, but provided some of the dijon sauce on the side.

Spiro made special moussaka for me, sans potatoes and untouched by latex.  In gratitude, I gave him my CDs on the way out.  He was ecstatic!  His wife collects frog items, and he’s always looking for new and different frog gifts for her.

Spiro also shared stories from his little village in Greece:

the man who wanted to hear what would be said at his funeral . . .

the brother who told the priest that if heaven is only for those with no sins, only babies must be there . . .

his grandmother reading fortunes with coffee grounds — with some advance information from young Spiro, a good listener.  . .  We turned our cups over and watched the pictures change.

We left the restaurant at closing and continued talking as staff left to go home, so much fun that we didn’t want to let the evening end . . .

(P.S. This morning, the very tiniest little frog, the size of my baby finger nail, was in my mailbox.  With temps already high and heading for the high 90’s, it did not need to be in the metal and brick oven of my mailbox.  It was so cute that it was hard for me to let it go, but it seemed happy to be on a tree, and then in true tree frog fashion, it became invisible).

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