NSN L. A. Conference Swaps and Workshops

Story Musings

NSN Conference Swaps and Workshops


 August 4, 2010

Storytell Swap  Thursday 9:45  (felt like 11:45 to Central TZ people, so I was a bit foggy . . .)

I didn’t print out Padraic’s Swap Host responsibilities because I thought there would be copies in the room — didn’t matter . .  . Story-Tellers have our procedures worked out through years of practice: put name on board, gift on gift table, relax and enjoy.

Gifts: many people brought extras, so there were plenty for all, even left-overs, which as we were picking up the room, went in a bag for someone’s (Joyce’s) grandchildren on her return trip.  I brought two of my CDs and a Queensboro Storytell hat, which matched someone’s (Yvonne? — it was really LATE) Storytell shirt perfectly.  BTW, several people liked my black “jacket” — it was actually a long-sleeved shirt, extra large, in case anyone is planning to order one (they run a bit small).

Terrific Stories and Great Fun!!

I (Mary Garrett) opened with a short story combining “St. Louis Blues” and “Worry Bundles.”

Melanie the Seanachie Pratt shared editing woes and the perils of technology (always warn someone if you put them on speaker phone)

Kate Dudding  —  the connection between Feenamint and Porgie and Bess (marketing advice?)

Mary Grace Ketner — Turtle of Coca — lovely and oh-so-tricky!

Dianna Waite — her father’s adventures in farm work with an old and tricky tractor

Bobbie Japka — once had a lingerie party business.  You had to be there to fully appreciate it.  Dr. Ruth watch out!

Kate Franckle — Thurber’s moth parable, lovely!

Joyce Geary — fun with grandpa and his very entertaining bald head.

Marilyn McPhie — as a young, tired mother trying to manage a dose of Triaminic for her  resourceful child

Shelby Smith — Amazon story — lovely trip, but that poor, poor monkey!  (This seems a good place to write down a new favorite phrase, “Stretching the truth”).

Nick Smith  — Jack the Thief (and wife and baby!)

Yvonne Young — liars’ contest with golden apple for prize — ending with a lovely blessing, the perfect final note! *

*so perfect that I completely forgot that I had intended to end with Elizabeth Ellis’ shortest story: bird, boy, stone, threw, flew(and my students added, “poo” because they felt the bird should have revenge) — I came home to news that a band had ended a performance because of pigeons in the rafters, alas.  Elizabeth did not make it to this conference . . . missed her.

— Other Story Tell-ers present at Conference!

Sue Black  Co-Presenting — Old Tales for a New Millennium

Kate Dudding

Tim Ereneta

Cathryn Fairlee  resource table (a hard job handled with grace)  and designed the Conference Logo!!

Wendy Gourley  presenting Cracking the Story Code

Mary Hamilton & Charles Wright

Sarah Hauser

Priscilla Howe  “Queen Berta and King Pippin” Fringe

Mary Grace Ketner — “Don’t be Stymied by State Standards”

Audrey Kopp  Fringe  Tales for Teens

Marilyn McPhie   panel – producing and marketing cd.

Melanie the Seanachie Pratt  hosting “Bars, Cars and

Dating Scares” swap on Saturday night

Linda King Pruitt

Jo Radner  “Art of Gathering and Performing Oral History”

Ellie Shinham Swap: Good Witches & other Wild Women Shelby Smith


Diane Ferlatte   Storytelling — The Tool of a Culture

Many cultures/many stories — collect the cares and worries.

Knowing only one story is incomplete, leads to prejudice.

Not how you listen but how well you hear.

Mary Grace Ketner — workshop “Don’t be Stymied by State Standards”

How to use state test standards, making storytelling connections to help teachers and students to reach the objectives.  Amazing how many direct connections this teller/educator found!

I ran into Gay Ducey after the Yvonne Young’s “Oregon” story — Gay said she wouldn’t mind if I had to leave her“Backstory” session early, so I got to hear about libraries and little people (our “natural peers”).  The  backstory sessions were an interesting idea, granting the freedom to just talk (or as someone said Syd defined it “gossip”).  At the Sunday morning panel, Celebrating Tellers with Disabilities, Syd said he wouldn’t be following the description because “I’m a sub!”  I had to leave that one early because I was assigned to help in the bookstore, but I heard it was wonderful!  I would love to have more details . . .

Old Tales for a New Millenium was phenomenal!  Crafting new messages with traditional tales is exciting.  I loved Sue Black’s Turkey Lurkey, standing up to bullies with his friends and related fully with Linda Garham’s “singing for myself!”  Even with the extra time allowed by an intensive, I’m going to need to invest more time with my notes and the handouts (they had to make many more!) because it’s a rich topic with much to learn.  The workshop rooms had sound systems also, and it really helped in larger workshops like this one.  Kudos to the sound crew!

Membership Meeting  — NSN in Good Shape Financially!!!

Antonio Sacre — “Honest Stories Meet the Real World”

Funny, honest, insightful — our “edgier” performances can impact on the tamer side of our life and work, especially if taken out of context and sensationalized.  (youtube “Kid Owns O’Riley”

When at a Festival or other venue, it’s their home, respect their wishes . . .

Alexander Technique for Storytellers

Fascinating stuff!  Even though they opened by telling us we would need to work a long time with a teacher to actually benefit from the techniques, I left walking taller and breathing deeper.  The concept/process of going from intention to energy to movement, allowing the body to move more naturally, makes good sense.  Breathing more deeply by exhaling completely, letting the diaphragm fully elevate (internal massage) — then letting inhalation just happen, not the muscle breathing of “take a deep breath” — interesting and effective.  Doing that and allowing relaxation to lengthen the spine and neck, my voice was deeper, and I was told louder as well.

Opposites: inhibition (let go, relax) and excitation   Tension/release = lighter

Head leads, body follows (true of all vertebrates)

Choose response to our experiences

Resonance of room is awakened by the air as we speak . . .

(Eyeless in Gaza by Aldous Huxley — need to find a copy)

Laraine had already mentioned the hunching over involved in most close work like knitting — no wonder I need to take breaks from that and sudoku and computers.  I’ve raised my desk chair so my hands are more parallel — still trying to figure out how to do computer stuff on the non-latex exercise ball.

Odds and Ends — Socks and Hats

Kate Dudding was a ray of sunshine and joy whenever I saw her.  She brought beautiful and  much-vied-for socks for the auction.

I took an apple hat for the auction, but it decided to hide  from us until after the Conference.  It will appear, with storyteller earrings, at a future fund-raiser . . .

I also made . . .

Two  blueberry hats!!  Finished amidst many good stories, modeled on one I had made for . . .

<< Mary Grace’s Emanuel<<

One hat was for TLC friend Kerry’s new grandchild,  and the other for Shelby, who has a marvelous story of her post-conference adventure . . .

I delivered my grandson in the back seat of her car on the way to the birthing center at 3 am! Mom and son are good and already home.

No rest for the weary!

Walk in Sunshine,

Shelby Smith

Marilyn McPhie brought me a stack of books (including Briar Rose) and a HUGE Folkmanis dragon, saving me shipping costs but adding the dilemma of fitting everything in the suitcase . . . thank goodness for the extra bag we were given at registration which held the oh-so-sad unsold CDs very nicely.  Of course, I could have carried Spark on my arm.  I’ll bet that would have enlivened the wait times at the airport . . . and I’ll bet he would have preferred it to being smashed in with pillowcases in the suitcase, but he made it!

(I’ll admit that I was a bit sad not to have sold any CDs, but I did trade one with Carrie Sue Ayvar (love her Spanish!!) and gave a few away.  I left two on the bed along with my tip for housekeeping, and gave some to parents of lovely children in the airport and to my traveling companion on SW, and two, with a nice tip, to the cab driver who brought me home from the airport.  He had been having a terrible day with ridiculous short trips, most of the day spent waiting his turn in line, until his last passenger, me, going all the way to St. Charles ;-).

Everyone I encountered on this trip was wonderful, at the conference, of course, but on the plane, in the airport, on the shuttles, everywhere — an enchanted journey!  I even saw a family playing cards in the airport — you know, with real cards, not on an electronic screen.  Someone had asked me when I would rehearse my story (well, I’ve been rehearsing it for 20 years), but the woman next to me on the plane asked what I would be doing, had never heard Sheherazade, so she was my rehearsal performance!

8/2  This morning I went to “my” Y to tell stories to the campers — also great fun. I told them I was still on California time, so 10 felt like 8, but once we got going with Wide Mouth Frog and tall tales and such, the energy flowed.  My sound system was being touchy, but one of the counselors stepped in as sound tech and made it work right.  I guess I have to learn more about sound because I’m not always that lucky.  (Then I came home and took a long nap . . . )

8/3  Took a lovely mailbox frog to a tree this morning (It got to 100 degrees today, not good weather to be in that metal/brick oven), taught aqua-aerobics at the Y, and did not manage to reserve/replenish enough energy to safely drive to Illinois for Lynne’s party.  I hope everyone had a wonderful time!!  I’m sure they did . . . and I’m sure Lynne understands.  If I can’t have teleportation, I’d settle for a chauffeur.

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