NSN 2010 in L.A. Concert and Awards

Story Musings

NSN 2010 in L.A.  Concert and Awards

NSN 2010 Los Angeles — a Transcendent Experience!     Mary Garrett’s Reflections . . .

My comments will be scattered, long,  out of order, and from my own point of view (influenced by a concurrent rereading of Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose aka Sleeping Beauty).  I look forward to reading and hearing from others, to build a richer picture/collage of the experience . . .


It was only a few days ago, but it feels like “once upon a time” that some 300 storytellers from around the country (and farther) gathered in Los Angeles to share stories, friendship, and joy — powered by Michael McCarty’s energy and happy spirit, constantly inspiring and guiding the troupe.  Some of my friends made their leisurely way west by chariot, enjoying lovely experiences on the way.  I climbed aboard a magic carpet (Southwest — nice treatment and two free checked bags) and watched the green midwestern landscape magically change to desert  (like a lunar landscape) and mountains and finally ocean!!  I had sworn off planes after a torturous flight from Hawaii on American — I’m a believer in the fun of flying again.  I LOVE flying through and above the clouds and fully understand why young King Arthur, aka Wart, liked Merlin to change him into a bird.  (Odd detail noticed on the shuttle drive: motorcycles may legally weave in and out of freeway traffic, passing cars in the tiny little space between the lanes — major risky behavior, like knights going up against dragons, but for no discernible purpose . . .).

We stayed in the castle Warner Marriott, with beautiful views of the mountains and where all our needs were graciously attended to with comfort and kindness . . . a  lovely experience, beginning with the kind gentlemen opening doors and taking luggage to the room for the tired traveler (and pointing out the hidden coffee maker), just as the whole world should be.


Nice touch – the little sayings on notepads:  Leave a trail of genius.

and key cards:  You hold the power to open doors.  Get both feet in the door.

. . . and in our gift bags Friday night, besides skin products, a little book of love from Maya Thomas!

The All-Regions Concert on Friday night!!  This was the invitation that motivated me to get on a plane to attend the conference, and it was a fantastic, transcendent experience!  The blending of voices, the variety of stories, the smooth planning and organizing of the evening (thanks, Ellen Switkes and Elaine Muray!!) and the audience.  We’ve talked on Storytell about how the right audience can enhance a story (Gateway swaps are very good at this), and this was that sort of audience, sharing in the experience and building the stories with their listening (and sometimes chanting and singing).  Familiar (and new) friendly faces in the audience gave reassurance and support.  The sound was terrific also, True Thomas and John McKee worked hard on balance, not that easy to do with our variety of voices and effects (roars, whip cracking . . . )    It was altogether too much fun!!

I told third — Sheherazade, my favorite story, and I felt as if she had taken over my telling that evening.  It felt new to me, though I’ve told it many times, and the audience was immersed in the story with me.  Lovely!   (and available on my CD —  http://www.storytellermary.com/


http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/MaryGarrett   )

Other tellers were friendly and gracious, organizers took care of us magnificently, and we looked good, too.  It all came together in a most magical way!

Denise Valentine was stunning, telling a Hawaiian tale of the union of fire and water to form the continents — lovely! ** Wenlock Duane Free told a wild tale of pulling a cougar’s tale and howling with the dogs.  Karen Golden (with the golden shoes) had us almost falling off our chairs with laughter over the prizes from the big pushka  in the ladies’ room (and loving her mother’s gentle treatment of her).  Jane Hauser had us in tears of anger and sympathy in her reporting of a KKK meeting and the unmasking of evil.  Bill Parks brought a long story-poem of an amazing drover, punctuated by the cracking of his whip.  Rona Leventhal’s “Drop of Honey” reminded us that it often is “our problem.”  Mike Lockett’s King of Lions ROARED! and Mike ended with everyone singing “in the jungle . . . the lion sleeps tonight.”  (Sleep theme going on here).

There was an reporter from an LA paper (talk about a fun assignment!)  I answered some of her questions, and in reaching for my card to give her,  I noticed that the teller I had just spoken with was from the area — much better for her to get local publicity, so I connected them.  Good thing we were all properly schooled early in the conference to network and share  😉

My friend Laraine (from the TLC blog, so in a way, Elaine Viets brought us together) came to hear my Sheherazade and loved the whole concert  . . . and the food and drinks we ordered afterward by the pool.  I had been very disciplined in resting but not eating before the concert, having had a good lunch for proper fuel, so I was as hungry as Mike’s lion afterward.  Chicken satay and the lovely lava drink (coconut, rum, o.j. and I wish I knew what else*) satisfied.  Laraine’s sweet potato fries were wonderful even as leftovers the next day for my in-room breakfast with trail mix.

*from the Marriott:  Thank you Mary for the lovely comments.  We truly enjoyed your group and hope to see you back with us in a few years.  I asked our Food and Beverage Director about the Lava drink, and this is what he said

It’s basically a pina colada mix, with rum and strawberry puree mix all blended together.

Have a wonderful week!

** Denise Valentine Lovestory for Humanity: Romance of Volcano & Ocean is the story (You can find it on Youtube). And… thank you, Mary, for that beautiful telling of Scheherazade.

Kind words from well-wishers afterward felt so good.  Compliments through the rest of the weekend were a lovely reminder of a magical evening.  . . holding onto the good feelings like . . .

I was thrilled to see you perform that night. I really enjoyed your performance of the 1001 Nights to demonstrate the power of stories.


You delivered your story very well at the National Concert. I was so happy that you chose that story to tell. I hope tons of people want to buy your album now to hear it again. Best regards, your Normal buddy, Mike

from Laraine to our HMOH group:

Mary was practical in her preparations, calm and poised as the evening’s events got rolling, and beautifully engaging and flawless in telling the story of Scheherazade.  There was a nice array of colorful personalities and stories crossing the stage, Mary’s stood up splendidly amongst the group.

NSN is in a stable financial position.

(biggest news of the membership meeting)

It was a treat to see storytell buddies

at the National Storytelling Conference.

Psst…Mary Garrett did a wonderful job

in the All Regions concert.

May the Blessings Be.


Jane Crouse

I had brought with me the cute frog card that neighbor Mary Ellen made for me,

and the three pages of comments from friends arranged with pictures from Jackie Baldwin (with design help from the Apple gurus) — support and friendship

all around . . .


Oracle Awards Saturday Evening

So many terrific people received recognition — it was beautiful!  . . .  and of course, since I’m from St. Louis, the high point for me was the award to the St. Louis Festival (31 glorious years!!) and director Becky Walstrom, elegant, eloquent, and poised.  The award was presented by Roger Armstrong, he of the long white beard, a Storytelling Santa (and minister), so “yes Becky, there is a Santa Claus” . . .  in L.A. . . . in July.

I loved Willy Claflin’s comments about “listening stories into being” and Ghandi’s “consulting the silence,” and from The Tempest “Oh brave new world that has such people in it.”  It was fun that he ended the evening by sharing the stage with that verbose puppet (frog? or am I projecting my own frogs into the story?) and then Maynard the Moose.  (On Friday, Willy told the reporter that “if the Moose could travel without” him, he’d be invited to more places than Willy.  I said only in the sense of the punchline “no time for a boyfriend, but a talking frog is cool” — a self-animating moose puppet would be a sensation).

Awards were followed by desserts and dancing!!  . . . and a conversation with Joel ben Izzy — wow!http://storypage.com/


Desserts and Dancing — with Joel Ben Izzy

Life is good!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. storytellermary
    Jun 16, 2017 @ 18:49:51

    How it came to happen . . .
    The time to celebrate is when we have done our part, the rest is out of our hands. http://thelipstickchronicles.typepad.com/the_lipstick_chronicles/2010/03/thanks-to-team-rachel-im-going-to-la.html


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