YOUTHFUL VOICES: National Storytelling Festival in TN

A message for teachers, parents, storytelling groups, and any other interested parties:
"Greetings to all Storytelling Guild representatives! I hope this holiday season finds you well. We are in the process of planning for the YouthfulVoices segment of the 2008 National Storytelling Festival and hope you will know young talent in your area who you can encourage to apply to tell inJonesborough!
The link to our online informationabout Youthful Voices is http://www.storytellingcenter.net/festival/Youthful-VoicesApp_08.pdf- please check it out! The deadline for response is March 31, 2008. Becky Brunson, Program Administrator." Becky Brunson
Program Administrator International Storytelling Center
116 W Main Street Jonesborough TN 37659
Direct Line 423-913-1343Toll-Free 800-952-8392, ext. 282Fax 423-913-8219
E-mail: becky@storytellingcenter.nethttp://www.storytellingcenter.net"


Winter Tales : Feb. 15-17, 2008, OKC

Stage Center in Downtown Oklahoma City
Be part of the 27th WinterTales Storytelling Festival in Downtown Oklahoma City celebrating the art of storytelling. WinterTales features music, stories, and workshops. Enjoy the stories of nationally-acclaimed tellers Syd Lieberman, Nancy Donoval, and Dovie Thomason, and a special performances by singer-songwriter Steve Poltz. Info at:



The long, cold nights of winter are perfect times for individuals and families to gather around glowing candles or flickering fireplaces and share stories of childhood, the fish that got away, or tales of heroes and tricksters.
To get started here are some ideas: tell your children the story of how they were born, why they bear their name, how mom and dad met, share the story of how you learned to ride a bike, your friends as a child, or your favorite memory...gather with friends and the school yearbook and let the stories flow!....encourage children and teens to share stories they have learned....use stories to teach values of courage, faith, love, and kindness...share the things your families values by sharing the stories of your history...create traditions for your family to treasure for generations....



Bonnie C. Smith (shown right at a special costumed performance) has a tremendous background in storytelling. Holding a master's degree in reading she has taught language arts in middle school and enjoyed the opportunity to give her students the simple gift of story to inspire and motivate them. Bonnie presents any number of stories : "Mama Baked the Bread" about a boy, five loaves, and two fish; "Are We There Yet?", the ark and Mrs. Noah. She has crafted Oklahoma specific tales such as "My Heroes Have Always..." Real cowboys of Oklahoma, "The Tree Within" about Oklahoma's naturally simple gifts, and the hauntingly touching, "Long Journey Home", a sailor's trip home in 1942. She gives simple gifts of laughter through the adventures of "Otis and Sylvester". Contact Bonnie: Bonnie C. Smith 1800 West Midway Rd., Paen, OK 74860; phone at 405.932.5406 or email at bodu@brightok.net.


KATHRYN THURMAN is an Oklahoma performing artist sharing both music and stories. She is an experienced actress, musician, and storyteller who has been actively performing for over 20 years. She blends her heritage, experiences, and training as a music teacher into stories crafted with grace, humor, and highlighted with music. Contact her for a performance or workshop for your library, school, scouting activity, church group, women's luncheon, community event or festival. For more information contact: KMThurman@aol.com, or by cell phone at 1-405-308-7349; or office phone at 1-405-672-5050.


It's November and that means it is time for stories! Tellabration" is an internationally celebrated emphasis on storytelling held each November. Events range from casual family style events to more formal and adult focused entertainment. They are always entertaining and a time for storytellers to shine. For a list of events being held in Oklahoma, visit the Territory Tellers website on the subject at http://www.territorytellers.org/News/News. Plan on attending one of these events this month!


Red Dirt Book Festival: Statewide Events Unite Writers, Readers, Storytellers

Red Dirt Book Festival, Shawnee, Oklahoma once more was the place to be in Oklahoma. The state storytelling organization, Territory Tellers were on hand to provide information, participate in workshops, and encourage people "to talk". The link between writers, readers, and tellers is so close that sometimes it is hard to see where one ends and the others start, indeed several wear several hats simultaneously! It was also a popular stop in the exhibit hall.


NSN Youth Storytelling showcased at Pigeon Forge

For several years, groups of storytellers have been encouraging the fostering of storytelling skills among young people, to carry on the traditions, and one result can be seen at http://www.mypigeonforge.com/youth_story.asp.



Oklahoma Storyteller webpages - If you are an Oklahoma Storyteller and have a webpage - please send your information or add via comments. ALSO, join the Oklahoma Performers and Presenters social network...great place to highlight what you are doing, planning, or availability.

Fran Stallings

David Titus

Sam McMichael

Molly Lemmons

Shaun Perkins

Darla L’Allier

Kathryn Thurman

Pam McGrath

Dwe Williams

Will Hill

Al Bostick

Dancing Eagles

Laurette Willis

Barbara McBride-Smith

Marilyn A. Hudson

Michael Corley

Myths & Storytelling: Bibliography. M. Hudson

Here is a brief list of books to use to begin investigating using mythic archetypes in your storytelling. Most are still in print, however, any no longer in print may be available through inter-library loan from your public library or in the collections of local colleges.

Anderson, William. Green Man: The Archetype of Our Oneness With The Earth. NY: HarperCollins, 1990.

Arrian, Angeles. The Four-Fold Path: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary. San Francisco: Harper, 1993.
Bieerlein, J.F. Parallel Myths. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.
Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Ring of Power: The Abandoned Child, the Authoritarian Father, and the Disempowered Feminine. San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins.
Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch’s Mythology. New York: Gramercy Books, 1979.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1948.
Campbell, Joseph. The Mythic Image. Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1974.
Campbell, Joseph. Transformations of Myth Through Time. New York :Harper & Row, 1990.
Cech, John. Angels and Wild Things: The Archetypal Poetics of Maurice Sendak. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania University Press, 1995.
Chinen, Allan B. Beyond the Hero: Classic Stories of Men in Search of Soul. New York : G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1993.
Clark, Susan H. and Valerie L. Swibert. Penelope’s Loom: A Metaphor of Women’s Development at Midlife. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education & Development, Fall 2001 (40:2):161f.
Ellis, Peter Berresford. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. New York :Oxford University Press, 1992.
Erskine, Richard G. The Psychotherapist’s Myths, Dreams, and Realities. International Journal of Psychotherapy, July 2001 (6:2):133f.
Ford, Clyde. The Hero With An African Face : Mythic Wisdom of Traditional Africa. New York : Bantam,1999.
Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of Criticism – four essays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1957.
Gibson, Clare. Signs & Symbols: An illustrated Guide to Their Meanings and Origins. New York : Barnes and Noble, 1996.
Goddesses, Heroes, and Shamans: The Young People’s Guide to World Mythology. New York: Larousse Kingfisher Chambers, Inc., 1994.
Gurian, Michael. The Prince and the King: Healing the Father-Son Wound, a Guided Journey for Men. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1992.
Harris, Kate and Dirk Mattson. “Forever Jung”. School Library Journal (March 1999):131.
Keen, Sam. “Peanut Butter Principles.” Utne Reader, Mar/April 94):119.
Keen, Sam and Anne Valley-Fox. Your Mythic Journey: Finding Meaning in Your Life Through Writing and Storytelling. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1989.
Kris, Jeter. “The Heart of the Story: Mythology in service of the Past, Contemporary, and Future Family.” Marriage and Family Review,(1993., Vol 18):279.
Lemming, David Adams. The World of Myth: An Anthology. New York: Oxford Press, 1990.
Leonard, Linda Schierse. Meeting the Madwoman: An Inner Challenge for Feminine Spirit.
Maguire, Jack. Creative Storytelling: Choosing, Inventing, and Sharing Tales for Children. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985.
Moore, Robert. The King: Accessing the King in the Male Psyche. NY: William Morrow, 1992.
Pearson, Carol S. Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991.
Pearson, Carol S. The Hero Within.
Von Franz, Marie-Louise. Archetypal-Dimensions of the Psyche. Boston: Shambhala, 1997
Woolger, Jennifer Barker and Roger J. The Goddess Within: A Guide to the Eternal Myths That Sharpe Woman’s Lives. NY: Fawcett Columbine, 1989.
Woodman, Marion. Leaving My Father’s House: A Journey to Conscious Femininity. Boston: Shambhala, 1992.
Zabel, Mary Kay. “Storytelling, Myths, and Folk Tales: Strategies for Multicultural Inclusion.” Preventing School Failure (Fall 1991):32.


A Word from Wes Fryer: Workshops and More

I serve as an education advocate for AT&T in Oklahoma to provide FREE professional development for teachers on a variety of topics including DIGITAL STORYTELLING.
I have been working in the past year with Mike King of Enid Public schools and others on the Oklahoma Digital Centennial Project, which is providing 3 day workshops for teachers on the use of digital tools to help students become oral history archivists and digital storytellers. We've partnered with the Oklahoma Heritage Association and will be offering a facilitator training at their Oklahoma City facility in October, one at UCO in Edmond in November, and one in Altus in December.
Please let everyone you know in Oklahoma interested in storytelling, the centennial, preserving Oklahoma's history through the voices of its people, and digital storytelling/podcasting about this project. The website where people can get more info about the project and apply to participate is:


Please keep me in the loop about future workshops, festivals, or events related to storytelling or digital storytelling. My free workshop curriculum and resources related to digital storytelling is available on:


-- Wesley Fryer Director of Education Advocacy (PK-20) AT&T Oklahoma
Phone: 405-319-6267 Fax: 405-291-1163 Email: wesley.fryer@att.com Web:
www.speedofcreativity.org Skype: wfryer


PARACON 2007: Storytelling of a different kind

Some of Oklahoma's "ghost hunters" will be gathering for workshops, tours, and tales of the dark in the 3rd annual "PARACON 2007" in El Reno, Oklahoma. Not traditional storytelling but might be a venue for someone to develop.....
3rd Annual- PARACON-2007
"100 Years of Haunting History" Sep 29, 2007 - Sep 29, 2007 Historic Elk's Lodge El Reno, Oklahoma United States

EL Reno, OK : Tales & Stories

Tombstone Tales - October 18, 19 and 20, 2007
Located at Fort Reno. Admission is 5-10 dollars. Historic re-enactors portray individuals interred at the Fort Reno Post cemetery between 1874 and 1948. Chuck wagon dinner followed by guided walks through authentic 19th century encampments. Hours are 9am-4pm. Contact Fort Reno Visitors Center by phone at 405-262-3987 or by mail at 7107 West Cheyenne or by email at info@fortreno.org. Visit their Website at www.fortreno.org

Ghosts of Fort Reno Tours - March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, and October 20, 2007
This event is located at Fort Reno in El Reno, OK. Reservations are available and cost is $5 a person. By lantern light, hear stories of restless spirits of the old post, along with some of the unsolved mysteries and murders that occurred here. Event hours are 8:30p.m. Contact: Fort Reno Visitor Center by phone at 405-262-3987 or mail at 7107 W. Cheyenne or email info@fortreno.org. Visit their website at www.fortreno.org



Wear comfortable, yet dressy shoes and dress in layers (a jacket is perfect to dress up your look and provide warmth in case it is too cool in the venue).
Take along plenty of working pens, pencils, note paper, and business cards.
If selling: make sure you have sufficient change, receipts, tax information, etc.
Take more flyers, brochures, etc. than you will need.
Utilize images – have 1-3 dynamic, colorful photos blown up and attach to foam board (enlarge at Kinko’s for about 30.00 each). Attach Velcro and use the curtain as a ready made display area.
Be approachable. Look up as people approach, smile, and be ready to engage in light banter or a full-blown “sales moment”.
Create a checklist of “talking points” explaining what is unusual or unique about your product (i.e., why should I buy?). Slant it to the audience of the event. Storytellers might have sheets for “Storytelling & Literacy”, “Storytelling & Oral Language Development”, “Best Books for Storytelling”, “Storytelling in Business”, etc.
Use the space: most rented tables have color schemes of white, burgundy, black or blue. Develop promotional materials that will work with those colors and not be lost or jarring.
Always stand when customers approach: if traffic is heavy remain standing, or have a stool ready to lean on during lulls.
Have freebies (candy, mints, pens, posters, bookmarks, flyers)
Dress for success: casual business sends a very different message from faded jeans and a t-shirt.
Keep breath mints handy.
Pre-promote your booth. Have a “conference special” to entice customers to visit your booth before the event.
Invest in professionally prepared flyers, brochures, posters, etc. It pays off in the long run.
Provide information: brainstorm all the possible people who might be interested in what you have to offer and created targeted information just for them
Generate “buzz”: have a book signing, door prize, raffle, photo opportunity at the booth
If sharing a booth, be willing to move and condense to share a table, but then use the new feature to connect with new customers
Arrange for photographs to be taken at the booth for future publicity. It adds to your portfolio and helps to generate a little interest on the floor. Have a permission form handy and take photos with interested people for publication or promotional use.
Consider providing some level of support for the event so that your name appears with donors and increases your overall exposure.
Have a signup sheet ready to send people more information.
Save on paper costs by putting resources and information on a website and then invest in one or two good quality free items to lead people there: magnets, key chains, etc.


TELL IT LIKE IT IS: Guymon Storytelling Festival

"We are so proud to be able to offer a Storytelling Workshop with Tim Tingle as the teacher here in Guymon, Oklahoma!" This event will be in the schools and the community. There will music by Call of the West too. "It’s our first" says Melyn. They would love for you to come and join. For more information, call Melyn Johnson at 806-681-9881.

October 12-13, 2007, Guymon, Oklahoma

Friday, October 12, 2007
1:00 – 3:00 pm High School Performance in Guymon, Stan Paregien
1:00 – 3:00 pm Upper Elementary / Middle School Performance in Guymon, Tim Tingle
(public is invited to both, free of charge)
5:30 – 6:30 pm Commission Reception, The Gallery, 12th and Main
7:00 – 9:00 pm Evening Storytelling Performance
$10 admission

Saturday, October 13, 2007
9:00 – 11:30 am Storytelling Workshop, Junior High Annex
$20 registration fee
Lunch on own
Afternoon activities to take place at Draper’s Headquarters*
2:00 – 2:45 pm Falderal Medicine Show Performance
3:00 – 3:45 pm Tim Tingle, Native American Storyteller
4:00 – 4:45 pm Music from Call of the West
5:00 – 5:45 pm Stan Paregien, Cowboy Poet
6:00 – 8:00 pm Chuckwagon Feed, Draper’s Headquarters
7:00 – 8:00 pm Open Mic for “Fish Stories and Other Interesting Tales”
Terryl Gloden, Straight Community
Everett Long, former Guymonite, Phoenix
For aspiring and experienced storytellers.

· Draper’s Headquarters is where many community receptions and events are held. The community so looks forward to coming to this eclectic building filled with old cars, farming equipment, and other pieces of stuff!!! The ambiance is perfect for a storytelling festival.
· Wheatweaver Margaret McDonald will have a booth at the festival.
· Guymon author of “The Happy Immortals” will be at the festival with books to autograph and sell.
· The Oklahoma Centennial Quilt, Panhandle Style, pieced and quilted by Nancy Davis will be displayed at the festival.

Storyteller Workshop Registration
Guymon, Oklahoma
October 13, 2007 9:00-11:30 am
Junior High Science Annex NW 8th and James

Name: ____________________________ Address: ________________________

City, State, Zip: ______________________________________________________

Telephone: __________________ E-mail: ________________________________

$20 fee per person

Make check payable to: Guymon Community Enrichment Foundation

And mail to: Guymon Community Enrichment Foundation
Attn: Storyteller Registration
PO Box 481
Guymon, OK 73942

For more information: Melyn Johnson
(cell) 806-681-9881
(home) 806-339-0006


Highlight Stories, Storytelling, and Reading

No matter where you are think about settting up a display with books, props, informational flyers, and how-to's. It might be the lounge at work, the library, classroom, church foyer, hospital lobby, clubhouse, etc. The best promotion comes at the "grass-roots" level.

Encourage literacy by promoting books and reading, foster learning skills by honing listening and imagination skills. Create a sense of community by telling local tales.

Scope out the possibilities, get any permissions, and then set up a small space. Add to the event by pulling up a stool and telling stories as an added feature.

Encourage people to read, to tell, and to listen and everyone is a winner!


Favorite Resources for Storytelling

Professional Books:

Fujita, Hiroko. Stories to Play With : Kids’ Tales Told with Puppets, Paper, Toys, and Imagination. Little Rock, Arkansas : August House, 1999.
Holt, David and Bill Mooney. More Ready-To-Tell tales from Around the World. Little Rock, Arkansas : August House, 2000.
Holt, David and Bill Mooney. Ready-to-Tell Tales. Little Rock, Arkansas: August House, 1994.
MacDonald, Margaret Read. Shake-It-Up Tales! Stories to sing, dance, drum, and act out. Little Rock, Arkansas : August House, 2000.
McClure, Amy A. Books that Invite Talk, Wonder, and Play.Urbana, Il: National Council of Teachers of English, 1996.

Story Books (sources of easy to learn stories that "tell well"):

The Three Little Pigs (any version)
Jack and the Beanstalk (any version)
The Little Red Hen (any version)
Wat’s In Fox’s sack?
Amazing Pig.
Gingerbread Boy
Always Room For One More
The Great Big Enormous Turnip
The Lady With the Alligator Purse
Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett


Read it until you know it
Don’t memorize the text – learn the story, it’s characters, its action sequences, and its “mood”.
Step into the book until you feel it
Surround yourself with the story, “visualize” yourself in the tale. Play with it, change it, make it personal.
Tell the story like you were there
It is now your story. What is it like: what do you see, feel, smell, hear? Are you going to just stand there? Will you run from encounters, react to situations, recite advice or formulas, review options/directions, recognize similarities?

From: Off the Page! by M.A. Hudson (used by permission)


Storied Career


Pew Study Indicates Personal Storytelling is behind Blogs

Beth’s Blog

Internet Time

Chief Storytelling Blog

NSN Storytellers Blogs


1. Know why it is that you want to expose your students to the art of storytelling. As you clearly define what role you hope oral tradition will play in your class or school life you will also be helping the performer to know how to craft the visit for mutual satisfaction. “We thought a storyteller would be fun!” is a good reason but far better are: “ We were studying various art forms and wanted the oral arts represented” , “We’ve been studying folklore and myth and thought the students hearing stories communicated in a traditional and ancient manner would add to the lessons,” or “ We thought that since children learn in so many diverse ways that a storyteller –bringing an auditory component – would bring an excellent dimension to the event.”
2. Clear with your building administrator to make sure that there are no problems with your plans and you have their support for bringing an enriching program to your class/library/school.
3. Place on school calendar. Get the information out early enough so that everyone gets to learn of the event, that information goes out on any mailings, or send-home packets.
4. Know how much you can spend to bring a professional teller into your setting. Some storytellers have firm price packages. Others may be more flexible, especially if they are not full time tellers. What might you use to barter a price with a storyteller? Can you guarantee a spot on the local cable TV show, a big write-up in the newspaper, or a secondary storytelling job in the same area?
5. Make sure that everything is placed in writing using a standard contract format that defines who, what, when, where, and how much. Any special additions/restrictions/etc. will need to be added to this and both parties sign and receive copies of the signed contract.
6. Plan for problems. Illnesses, missed flights, sudden death or loss of funding can all happen without warning. Remain flexible and even the worst case scenario will be much easier to handle.
7. Check with the administration about any special forms/clearances required by your system or administrative offices before a performer can a) visit your school and b) receive their check. Make sure your performer gets a copy of this in a timely manner so that payment is not unnecessarily delayed.
8. Advertise the visit among students, teachers, staff, and parents.
9. Prepare the groundwork for a wonderful experience by a) explaining your goal for the event, b) explaining storytelling, c) sharing audience etiquette with students and other staff.
10. Call or write close to the date to confirm all arrangements.
11. Provide clear directions to location.
12. Have someone on hand to a) greet (“Yes, you have the right place” b) direct (“The library is here, the restrooms here, etc.) and c) assist your guest storyteller (“would you like some water, a chair?”).
13. Make any necessary announcements prior to introduction. These may include last minute notices to staff and teachers, requests that pagers be turned off, and reminders about proper behavior.
14. Introduce your guest to the audience. If you are uncomfortable with introductions, ask the artist ahead of time to provide you with a script to use as you introduce them.
15. Thank your guest performer at the conclusion of the event. Even if the event was not all you hoped for it is a good role model for students and staff.
16. Follow up with a written thank you to the guest artist. Include copies of any PR material that may have appeared in newsletters, local papers, etc.

Just as the visiting artist should be expected to impress you with his or her level of professionalism….the teacher, administrator, librarian, or school district should also set out to impress the visiting artist that they are a place worth the artist’s time and effort.



Barrett, Ethel. Storytelling, It’s Easy. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1960.

Bauer, Carolyn Feller. New Handbook for Storytellers, with stories, poems, magic and more. Chicago: American Library Association, 1993.

Bruchac, Joseph. Tell Me A Tale: A Book About Storytelling. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1997.
Colwell, Eileen. Storytelling. London: Bodley Head, 1980.

Geisler, Harlynne. Storytelling Professionally: The Nuts and Bolts of a Working Performer. Englewood, CO.: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1997.

Griffin, Barbara Budge. Storyteller’s Journal: A Guidebook for Story Research and Learning. Medford, OR: Storyteller Guidebook Series, 1990.

Hutchinson, Duane. Storytelling Tips: How to Love, Learn, and Relate a Story. Lincoln, NE: Foundation Books, 1985.

Litherland, Janet. Storytelling from the Bible: Make scripture live for all ages through the art of storytelling. Colorado Springs, CO: Meriweather Publishing, 1991.

Livo, Norma J. Storytelling: Process and Practice. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1986.

Maguire, Jack. Creative Storytelling: Choosing, Inventing, and Sharing Tales for Children. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1985.

Moore, Robin. Awakening the Hidden Storyteller: How to Build a Storytelling Tradition in Your Family. Boston: Shambhala, 1991.

Pellowski, Anne. The Storytelling Handbook: A Young People’s Collection of Unusual Tales and Helpful Hints on How to Tell Them. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Pellowski, Anne. The World of Storytelling. Expanded & Rev. ed. Bronx, NY: H.W. Wilson, 1990.

Storytelling: Learning and Sharing. [video recording] Coyote Creek Productions. 1995.

Zipes, Jack. Creative Storytelling: Building Community, Changing Lives. New York: Routledge, 1995.


Bierlein, J.F. Parallel Myths. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.
Bullfinch’s Mythology. New York: Gramercy Books, 1979.
Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1993.
Philip, Neil. The Illustrated Book of Myths: Tales and Legends of the World. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1995.

Marilyn A. Hudson/Storytelling 101/30 September 1999


The Audience
In order to tell stories to children several factors should be in place.
· Know children: how they develop, how they change, what they are learning in school and what interests them.
· Revisit your childhood. Go back in memory and walk into your room, taste your favorite things, run down the street as you hurried to a friend’s house…some things never change. As you discover those “universal” elements you will be well on your way to being able to recognize timeless elements for use in your stories.

The Story
In order to be a storyteller you must have a story. The story you tell can be a family story, a familiar folktale, a classic myth, or a page out of history. Regardless of the type of story chosen for telling the key is to remember two important facts.
The story must be appropriate to the age and develop of the children in the audience. It must also be a story you can really enjoy telling because children can see through half-hearted interest and lazy telling.
What kind of stories can be told to children?
· Myths
· Fables
· Folklore
· Tall tales
· Family Stories
· Historical tales
· Nursery rhymes
· Religious tales
Where can a storyteller find an audience?
· Schools
· Churches
· Camps
· Festivals
· Hospitals
· Nursing Homes
· Local clubs
· Hotels
· Luncheons
· Historical associations
· Park programs
· Conventions
· Senior citizens centers
· Fundraisers
· Local special events

As you begin the process of learning and practicing the story it is important to keep in mind the role that such things as vocabulary, diction, and timing play in telling a story.

Vocabulary: How easy to understand are the words? If unique terms are used are they adequately explained?

Diction: How clearly are you speaking? Are you understood as you tell by people listening at the back of the room?

Timing: Do you tend to gallop through what you say in a breathless fashion because of nervousness or fright? Are you telling stories like they were “fast food” when what you really need is a sit down meal with pauses between the courses?

All of these can be dealt with by taping yourself, judging listener response, and taking a deep breath to steady yourself as you perform.

The Event
Children can be noisy, have a short attention span, and be easily distracted combining to cause a storyteller to swear never to tell to anyone under 20 ever again! On top of those normal childhood conditions there is the culture which has trained us to 60-second commercials, big productions, and dizzying special effects.
The storyteller can feel they are too simple to really appeal to children, however, these elements can be turned to the teller’s advantage. Some stories are very short and as you may have read a collection you discarded one or two because they were too short for telling to an adult audience. Look at these again to see if they can be adapted to the shorter story times required for younger children.
Some ways to get and keep attention (try some on for size):
· Costume
· Storytelling clothing (hat, vest, cane, glasses, etc.)
· Listener contract (spell out expectations on attention, noise, etc. up front)
· Opening ritual (candle, gather in story place, song, spiral dance, poem, fingerplays, etc.)
· Lively presentation with varied speech levels.
· Audience participation

The Recovery

You successfully made your appearance telling stories to your audience. You may have been embarrassed, you may have been elated, and you may have been sure you could never do that again in a million years. If you are a storyteller you will be telling again and as soon as you can. The post-event period is very important to improving your presentation. It requires assessing what worked, what was awkward, and what seemed to really make the time fly while you had real fun telling your story or stories.


Oklahoma Storytellers - Part of Red Dirt Book Festival 2005

There are pictures of Kathryn Thurman, President Bonnie, Rosemary Czarski, and Marilyn Hudson on this flicker page created by the Pioneer Library System (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jsyk/481798040/in/set-72157600087279200/ ).
The next one of these festivals will be the first Friday and Saturday of November 2007 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. See you there!



Storytelling is missing a great opportunity in not making sure that the finest and best examples of storytelling finds a home amongst the film clips and videos on various sites : You Tube, Goggle Video, etc.

Talk about promotion for state groups, non-profit events, etc.! Storytelling has hidden too long in the corners of the performance world. If a storyteller is good enough to tell - film them and load that clip!


Never Too early To Think of Tellabration

Tellabration (tellabration.org) is an international event highlighting the place of storytelling in society: some focus on stories for grownups, some for families, and some for children and youth.

The event is held each November and so now is the time for any groups to begin the process of planning the where, when, what, and who of a local event.

Gather some of the best tellers together and do a "demo" tape of CD (or DVD). Take this along so the prospective sponsor can hear what you mean by storytelling. Create a mock flyer showing how the event will be promoted (and how a local business or two might be featured as sponsors). Vi st local businesses (bookstores, museums, libraries, schools, and other places people can congregate without being arrested).

Begin promoting at least three months in advance and promote well. Local radio (not just the station you like - but ones that people listen to in great numbers) often look for community services news; newspapers; newsletters (local schools, local businesses, local churches, etc.).

Visit the main Tellabration webpage for more hints and how-to's and then get going!



In researching the history of storytelling in modern Oklahoma it has become clear that the term "storytelling" has been a fluid term and used interchangeably to represent reading to children, orally telling a story, writing a story, and making visual a story (via cinema or art). This has led to more than one misconception in the mind of journalists and programmers as to what constitutes "storytelling". Indeed, in one newspaper article from 1995 a storyteller was described by the journalist as intending to "read to children."
Several myths that emerged have included:
Storytelling is for children
Storytelling means reading to children
Storytelling is theatrical
Storytelling must have a purpose
The misconceptions have colored how news media interpreted press releases, how editors relegated space to the teller or the event, how program planners approached hiring and use of storytelling talent, how educators have handled storytelling, and ultimately, how storytelling has been valued within the state.
Storytelling appears to be the only art form where local artists are regularly ignored in favor of artists from elsewhere. Indeed, Peter Dolese when he filled the roster of talent for the 1st "WinterTales" established the principle of always bringing in those for whom Oklahoma was a new experience. These were tellers whose styles and presentations would serve to set the model of what "storytelling" had to be. As a result there developed a dearth of support for local artists (storytellers) unless they emerged from ethnic groups. In comparison other states had storytellers who covered a broad range of styles from homespun folk tellers to highly stylized theatrical tellers. The breadth of storytelling styles would greatly add to building a storytelling listening base that encompassed wide socio-economic segments leading to better support for the art form in those regions. An honest intent to inject new views, voices, and perceptions into the developing Oklahoma cultural ethos also set in place an elitism, and an artistically stifling atmosphere and marginalization of many Oklahoma voices.
Education also served to limit storytelling, as it has often done with reading, to the formula of read-hear and then analyze the story until all appreciation or joy is removed from the initial experience. This ultra-conservative attitude that all activity had to have a purpose or a rationale served to move storytelling from the motivation-art appreciation camp into the story-analysis-test paradigm. Storytelling was viewed, as most arts and music, but seldom sports, as a fringe component that had little impact on student learning and therefore could not be part of the school year. This served to remove the imaginative element from many schools and created a cold and uninspiring classroom.
The loss of the "folk artist" was most probably related to the low self-esteem most Oklahomans experienced in the post-Depression years. Those "cracker-barrell tellers" with their stories of hard times and little education often were simply not what the state wanted mirrored to them in stories. They were economically growing, becoming more sophisticated, "catching up" with the other, longer established, states and wanted to shed those times like a child seeking to grow-up too fast. This meant that many local tellers of the traditions, lore, and vales of the state were sorely under appreciated and much distinctly Oklahoma folklore was lost as a result.
In moving a fundamentally intimate art form on to the large stage there has been a loss of appreciation for the intimacy of storytelling. The larger-than-life theatrical movements required by many event planners has set in stone the public precept ion of what "storytelling", especially with children. The belief is that those stylings are required to attract and keep the attention of youth raised on 60-second sound bites. The truth is that a good storyteller can style hook their listener and get them focused on the story without a lot of physicality or histrionics. They achieve this through the ability - despite the venue - of creating intimacy with their audience and drawing them into the story.



In the past the term has been used to refer to "once upon a time" tales....to bald face lying that would end with a trip to the "woodshed" where discipline was swift and sure.

Today, the term is used to refer to everything from film to graphic novels to a rock group. The simple and traditional use of the term has been lost for many.

Types of Storytelling:

Traditional, Oral. This form is defined as the small group gathered in an intimate environment where a story of moral, imaginative, or educational value is shared by a person. This is the primarily and historically the place where folklore, heroes, myths, and legends are passed along to new listeners and preserved for the generations. Although, it can occur in larger venues - many feel that the larger the audience the less impact the stories have. Some traditions required the storyteller to not move or make only limited gestures as they shared a tale.

Nontraditional, Oral. This form is best defined by the Garrison Keillor approach but also includes storytellers who incorporate objects, costumes, movement and more theatrical elements into their stories. This form may incorporate more animated telling styles with gestures, movement, and audience participation.

Digital. Stories created, passed on, and preserved in digital formats as video, animation, or audio forms, most often online.

Visual. This form includes the use of film, cinematography, photographs to "tell a story". The narrative structure of story is translated into a almost entirely visual format in this medium. As with many art forms this one requires the audience to bring with it their own experiences and emotions as a vehicle for the telling of the story.

Book sharing. This is one of the most common uses of storytelling with children. Librarians and parents and teachers all read a book to children to share the experience through followup instruction, interaction, participation, role playing, puppets, and art. Although a viable vehicle for adults and teens, it does require some preparation for reading pace, intonation, volume, and presentational skills and is sometimes most useful as a "teaser" rather than a real reading of an entire teen or adult book. Many librarians and teachers have found, however, that some picture books are really written on a higher level. This makes the useful for older people because they are visually interesting and contain more mature themes, vocabulary or ideas.

Writing. The marriage of the written word and the oral tradition has tremendously benefited modern storytelling. Although two different mediums with differing requirements they can be used collaboratively since all storytellers need writers to provide material and inspiration and all writers need audiences and contact with natural forms of verbal and non-verbal communications.

Performance based. A merger between the modes and values of theater with the stage production of storytelling. Professional storytellers often benefit from classes on how to move, to speech, and express emotion in a natural, artistic, or entertaining manner.

Group or team. A sub group that is very ancient and often found in team or duo exchange storytelling. George Burns & Gracie Allen perfected a comedic form of this style and provide a model for the timing and artistry required to team tell effectively.

Musically embedded storytelling. Using music or instruments in the telling of a tale or as filler between tales.


Spirit of Oklahoma - 1st Annual Storytelling Festival


Storytelling Festival set June 1-2

SEMINOLE — At least 30 tellers — and probably many, many more listeners — will take part in the first Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival, set for June 1-2 in Seminole.
The event, sponsored by the Oklahoma Territory Tellers in conjunction with Seminole State College, will be held on and around the college campus. The festival is planned to commemorate the state's Centennial but also as a first annual event, said Jeanette Harjo, festival chairwoman.

Featured during the two days will be storytelling in various categories — with subjects including American Indians, the Old West, family memories, the state's history in general and even ghost stories — the “swapping” of stories, a children's matinee and visits to the nearby historic Mekusukey Mission.

An overall festival pass of $20 is meant to help cover expenses, or smaller fees are available for individual events. The festival will begin on Friday evening with stories by three “featured tellers,” Lynn Moroney of Oklahoma City; Jerry Young of Mesquite, Texas, originally of the Oklahoma City and Mustang areas; and Steve Kardaleff of Lawton. Both tellers and fanciers of word-of-mouth stories are expected from throughout Oklahoma and even other states, said Harjo, a resident of Maud and a retired library media specialist - as well as a storyteller, too, who calls herself “country through and through.”

In connection with some of the festival events, college credit is offered through Seminole State, added Harjo, who will teach Storytelling 101 in conjunction with the festival. Bonnie Smith of Paden, Territory Tellers president, said all the stories told during the festival - those both true and untrue - will somehow portray both the history and culture of Oklahoma. Smith, a retired Prague teacher, said her organization created the festival “as a special way to commemorate the state's Centennial - with the telling covering everything from the oil fields to cultural activities.

”She also expressed the belief that all state storytellers share her sentiments: “I'm very proud to say 'I'm an Okie'!”

Molly Lemmons of Mustang, a writer who is retired from Mustang Schools, agreed that all stories planned for the festival “portray the character of Oklahoma.” She is among seven women who will tell stories based on family backgrounds in a session called “History from the Heart.” Chester Weems of Yukon, a retired school administrator and a native of Seiling, will tell stories based on the history of his family, who settled in present-day western Oklahoma in the 1890s. However, he said, while the yarns he spins are based on fact, “I don't always let the truth get in the way.”

Contacts:Jeanette Harjo, (405) 398-4310; jmharjo@hotmail.com;Bonnie Smith, (405) 932-5406


This was found in a book, typed onto a few sheets that appeared to be a class or workshop handout on storytelling. Yes, they were "typed" as in the old hunt and peck form of writing with ribbon and paper. I would love to find out who the author is....or if there is one.....

I am a Story.
I am your Great Opportunity.
I make you Think.
I make you Imagine many things.
I am the Spoken Word.
I am Eternal.
I lived in the beginning and I shall endure to the End of Time.

The Blind may not read,
The young cannot Read
The Stupid will not Read –
But all can hear my Message.

I bring memories of “Once Upon A Time”.
I am Castles in the Air.
I can show you the Road to Laughter Town.
I make life a Great Adventure—
Seven Stories High!
--Let me know! Marilyn A. Hudson

Territory Tellers - The Statewide Storytelling Organization of Oklahoma

The ONLY state-wide organization for storytelling in the state of Oklahoma, Territory Tellers was organized in the 1980's to encourage storytellers, introduce stories to a wide audience and to keep alive the rich storytelling tradition that was already alive and vital by 1907 statehood.
The logo is blending of the outline of the fair state of Oklahoma and the Native American dreamcatcher. So in that logo are the rich native traditions and stories of the states strong Native American heritage and added are all the ethnic groups and cultural heritages who have also made this land their home. As Oklahoma storytellers we share a rich and wise corpus of stories and motifs bringing color and flavor to the traditional tales we love and the perosnal experience tales we share.
For more information, or if you want to join this non-profit group, visit their website at www.territorytellers.org
  • Ardmore: Word Weavers [SOUTH CENTRAL]
    Meetings: as called.Contact Valerie Kimble, vtkimble@brightok.net, 580-226-3980
  • Bartlesville: Tallgrass Tellers [NORTHEAST]
    Contact Fran Stallings
  • Lawton/Apache: [WEST CENTRAL]
    Irregular times for concerts.Contact Steve and Pat Kardaleff or Sam McMichael, chessam@pldi.net
  • City: Boomer Storytellers Toastmasters [CENTRAL]
    Meetings: first and third Mondays, 7:00 PM (dinner at 6:00 PM)Aloha Gardens, I-240 and S. PennContact Don Dillon, 405-354-7447, or Marge Smith, 405-685-9884
  • Tulsa: Tulsey Town Yarnspinners [NORTHEAST]
    Meetings: first Monday 7 p.m. Biscotti's Coffee House 28 E. Broadway, Sand Springs.Contact Darla L'Allier or tulseyty@yahoo.com NEW INFO: Tulsa: Tulsey Town Yarnspinners Sept. 30 & Nov 4, 2008 @ Zarrow Regional Library Tulsa, OK 6PMContact Connie Fisher at 918-241-9859