It is that time of year once more....gather family or friends together and share stories of fun, adventure, mystery, and romance. Share the drama of an epic story, the shivery fun of a ghost tale, or the rollicking laughter from a holiday long, long ago.
Need a starter?
The Best Holiday Memory
It Was So Cold....
Holidays at Grandmas (insert other relative) were Great Because...

Remember....everyone can be a storyteller....


STORYTIME IN 2009: Memberships

Now is the time to consider joining, or renewing membership in the National Storytelling Network. It is also a good time to join the only statewide organization in Oklahoma, The Territory Tellers. If you tell stories - in any venue or style - consider joining these two groups. The more people unite to support what they do the greater the profile becomes and the greater the awareness of people who fund and schedule for events. Do you share stories in a bookstore? Do you share stories on tours? Do you present a character for historic tours? Do you give tours? Do you tell to school children? Do you tell in care facilities? Do you share tales in church, synagogue, temple, or house? Do you convince co-workers by telling a story? Do you comfort a frightened patient with a story? Do you write stories, poems, or songs? No greater workshop for honing skills than learning or listening to the oral story. No you work with puppets? Do you create digital stories? You need to join........It's Storytime in 2009!


January 25, 2009 – Mid-Atlantic Region – Tales from the Body: Storytelling about Illness and Disability in New York City, NY - produced/co-sponsored by The Storytelling Center of New York City and co-sponsored by the New York Society for Ethical Culture

• February 18-21, 2009 – South Central Region – Telling Stories, Changing Lives in Columbia, MO – produced/co-sponsored by Kind Crone Productions, Mid-Missouri Organization of Storytelling (MOST) and the Columbia Public Library, with additional support from Columbia College, the City of Columbia, and Daniel Boone Regional Library

• March 7, 2009 – North Central Region – Nebraska Storytelling Festival in Omaha, NE – produced/co-sponsored by Nebraska StoryArts and co-sponsored by Nebraska Arts Council; partnership with GBT (Growing and Building Together) Academy of the Arts

• March 26, 2009 – Southeast Region – Coming Home to Healing - Florida StoryCamp pre-event in Eustis, FL – produced/co-sponsored by Florida Storytelling Association

• April 24-26, 2009 – Western Region – New Horizons in Storytelling, part of Rocky Mountain Storytellers’ Conference (RMSC) in Denver, CO – produced/co-sponsored by RMSC and co-sponsored by Spellbinders, and Swallow Hill Music Association in Denver, CO
June5-6, 2009 - OKLAHOMA - The Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival, Seminole, OK. Territory Tellers of Oklahoma, Seminole College and others.

• June 4-5, 2009 – Northeast Region – The Folktales for Life Project in Portland, Maine – produced/co-sponsored by MOOSE (Maine Organization Of Storytelling Enthusiasts) with support from Coffee By Design

• July 16-19, 2009 – Pacific Region – Talk Story Conference in Waikiki, Hawaii - produced by Jeff Gere with Talk Story Festival and co-sponsored by the Alliance for Culture and Arts and Friends of the Library


LIAR'S CLUB - 1890's Style

Liar's contests are a popular element in many storytelling festivals. Tellers compete in the "match and raise " game of traditional storytelling. Tall tales and outright lies are welcome in these fun filled and entertaining episodes. These are as old as people gathering to share and hear. Check out this entry on the blog "Mystorical". Take your hat off the greats!!!


Students at the Tellabration

The event was a fundraiser to assist some students going to Africa in the spring on an internship associated with the degree in Missions.

The Tellers at Bethany Tellabration 2008

Kathryn Thurman, Chester Weems, and Molly Lemmons....



The Bethany event was a delight with stories that charmed, entertained and inspired all present.


Asking uncomfortable questions and causing awkward silences With Marilyn A. Hudson

Bang or Fizzle: How Can A Group Solicit More Members?

It is a problem facing a wide range of groups that depend on membership to support and sustain ongoing programs. How do you attract and then keep members?

There will be in any section of members the segment that initially thought, “Hey, this is cool. I want to join!” There will be the diehard committed who will stick around “just because”. Then, there will be the segment that never joins or drifts away, despite ongoing activity or interest in the subject of the group.

It is easy to wave a hand and say, “just did not fit in”, or “must not like joining things”, or something similar. Excuses such as never getting around to renewing or the shake of the head about joining initially, may reflect something far more basic to human nature.

What is the “bang” they are getting for their buck?

Some will hurry to say that they should join for noble causes, for simply being a part of something bigger than themselves and so on.

The truth is simply that people have needs as human beings: they want to be a part of something active, they want recognition, and they want support for what they themselves value.

Active: What is the group doing? Is it inward looking or outward looking? What activities provide the positive reinforcements that say, “Wow, I want to be with this group!!” There is clear mission, purpose, and long range planning.

Recognition: This is the ego factor and can not be ignored. People want to be noticed, thanked, applauded, highlighted, showcased, honored, and made to feel that they like this group because recognize their sterling qualities. People want to be slapped on the back, made to feel important, and a part of something that they enrich with their presence.

Support: If a professional group there are directory listings, mentions in literature, on web pages, and in publications. The membership is surveyed frequently to see where they want the organization to go and to grow. Continuing education, training, and mentoring are made available to members. Go the step beyond simple subscriptions to periodicals but add links to them (their companies, etc.) as part of the membership package, regular profiles of members, and other simple actions can help support the members who make a group strong.

Crass, manipulative, ego-centric: yep, that’s human nature. Humans make up the membership. So if numbers are slumping take a look at the incentives being dangled in front of potential members eyes – are they giving the member a big bang for their buck or a mere fizzle?

Some samples of incentives :

Discount on conferences
Employment referrals
Networking opportunities
Free listings on websites or in publications
Free or discounted training
Apprenticeship opportunities
Mentoring Opportunities
Recognition via annual awards, contests, displays, programs, etc.
Free shirts, pens, etc.
Special interest groups



"The TELLABRATION at SCU on Saturday, 22 November was absolutely wonderful. All three storytellers were gifted and their stories were heartwarming and touching. Yes, we laughed until we cried but we also nodded with shared remembrances to others in the audience. "We sincerely appreciate Marilyn Hudson arranging this ..... We are so grateful to the storytellers who shared their talent with us. We say a big THANK YOU to the sponsors who served us so well."

"Thanks so much for bringing Tellabration to SCU! It was a wonderful evening of music and storytelling. I enjoyed all the stories and almost believed a couple of them! I appreciate the story tellers coming to SCU and giving of their time and energy. It was a great evening and I hope it can be done again. Thanks for ....bringing this great event to SCU."

"We had no idea storytelling could be this fun!"

"Those tellers were great! I loved Chester....and Molly's stories I remember when too, and Kathryn's flute!....."
"It was truly a night to remember and we look forward to the next TELLABRATION with great anticipation."


Why Do People Join Storytelling Groups?

Taking a leaf from the business tree, it can be beneficial in developing local story guilds to understand the basic rationale as to why people associate with an organization. There is the obvious social aspect of being with other people. There is the shared interest aspect of finding people who also love storytelling and listening. There is also the status aspect that says I belong to this group and that makes me special (remember storytelling requires people to be able and willing to "show off"). Creative people often need positive reinforcement to affirm that they did well and this can be mistaken for arrogance and pride. The ego factor is a real element that has to be recognized. There is also the mission aspect of membership where the member is reinforced in helping the group achieve its mission and finding purpose in their life.
So, what does all of this mean? A successful group will provide a clear cut mission, opportunities to learn and share, and plenty of chances for the members to be showcased, highlighted, honored, and recognized. This will keep them coming back for more, make them eager to "re up" their dues, and ready to tackle leadership or volunteer roles with energy. Give members more bang for their buck and reap happy and productive members.



It is almost here. Sat. night in OKC there will be stories galore. Kathryn Thurman is a delightful teller who blends her musical background, heritage, and love of stories into great good times for the audiences. Molly Lemmons delivers laughter and heart with deft skill and unequaled style. Chester Weems loves family stories, both his own and others, and most the stories he shares are "true" he assures with a twinkle. He loves to encourage others to discover there own stories as well.

When: Sat. Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.
Where: SCU (Southwestern Christian University) between Rockwell and Council on NW 39th Expressway, Bethany in the OKC metro.
Cost: Just $5 per person - but with a valide student ID from any regional school the cost is only $3. Funds go to support two students going to Africa as part of their mission degree program.
Who: A joint presentation of SCU and the state storytelling group, The Territory Tellers. Suitable for those 12 and above.



You were not alone, from what audiences told me. I ran across this 2006 article about the value of a good ghost story with children...http://www.ghostvillage.com/resources/2006/features_01232006.shtml I can remember the fun of going into the storage closet at the library (it was an open concept and the only place you get spooky dark and use a flashlight to good advantage). Sharing old classics like "The Golden Arm", "Oak Island Secret", "red. Red Lips", "The Viper" and various versions of the "Vanishing Hitchhiker". They are always new...and eager faces would edge closer, closer and then sigh with relief and beg for more.... Children developed listening skills, imaginative visualization skills, and an ability to predicate possible events based on previous story elements. They also had a darn good time!



ANY local storytelling group, festival, committee, or even an individual storyteller, can simply plan an event for March 20th, and promote it as part of World Storytelling Day. The theme for 2009 is "NEIGHBOURS." Dream big, and let everyone know about your plans! This would be a great opportunity for local house events, community get togethers, intercultural sharing events, etc. Vist WSD for more information.


Join the "Oklahoma Performers and Presenters" social Network

Do you perform, or know someone who does, then share this exciting new community. Get connected with others who perform or present across the state (or even come here frequently!). Learn from one another, peer train, share what works and what bombs big time! Seek advice, encouragement, and provide mutual support. Tell where you are appearing, self-promote shamelessly!!! Storyteller, musician, theater, dance, workshop leader, author - there is a place for you. Visit and join the "Oklahoma Performers and Presenters" network. Psst: There is power in numbers!

Work With Children? "Child-Sized Stories" Awaits

Are you a teacher, child care worker,librarian, or loving parent? Share your stories, storytime plans, ideas, reading lists, etc. Send your book reviews, simple book sharing crafts. Are you hosting activities to encourage reading (author visits, storytellers, theater groups?) - well be sure and send it to marilynahudsonATyahoo.com Be sure and place: "Child Sized Stories" on the subject line so it does not go the way of all spam... All subnitted materials will carry your byline.


Prague, OK Tells Tales this Sat.

Let me tell you about....the Prague, Oklahoma "Tellabration!". The Prague Tellebration location is at the PRAGUE MIDDLE SCHOOL LIBRARY. The Middle School library is located across from Ken's Pizza and just west of the Prague Public Library, It is this Saturday, November 15, at 6:00. All are welcome.



List yourself on the 'OKLAHOMA PERFORMERS DIRECTORY' for free! Get a web presence that promotes you.

Get connected with others on the ning community site 'OKLAHOMA PERFORMERS AND PRESENTERS". Share ideas, collaborate, and network.

To be added to the directory, just send your information to marilynahudsonATyahoo.com (change the AT to an @). Place on the subject line OPD Information. At OKLAPP simply sign up, join a group or two and join or start a discussion.


Needing to Hire A Storyteller? Basics 101

Sometimes people decide, "Hey, let's get somebody to tell stories!" They often have no clue as to what is needed in presenting a quality storytelling experience. The first question to ask is "why do I want a storyteller?" Having a clear rationale will help you convey exactly what you need from the storyteller and improve the entire experience.
'You mean I have to pay?!" Storytellers, like other performers, usually charge for the services they render. The following prices cover the range from experienced to national name. The storyteller researches, learns, and perfects their art in the same manner that dancers or musicians do. In addition, differing ages require different levels and types of stories. Many hours of prep work proceed any storytelling event.
A survey of artists currently working (in Oklahoma and elsewhere) reveals full performance of 40-60 minutes usually costs about $100 to $1500, plus mileage or transportation /meals/board.
A short performance of about 20-30 minutes usually costs $50-$550, plus mileage (etc.).
Delivery of one story under 20 minutes is about $25-$100...
Sometimes the cost is negotiable - depending on the situation - always ask.
Storytelling has space needs just as unique as a dance troupe. Storytellers usually need smaller, intimate spaces, or if larger spaces are used, there must be sound and few distractions. Storytelling is a most ancient form of communication and functions best when the teller and the listener can connect free of noise or too many distractions. Some water bottles handy, and space between sets of stories (if telling to numerous groups) are always a plus!
Places to NOT place a storyteller: near a music band, animals, machinery, a noisy bar or eating space. There is one well remembered horror story in OKC a few years back where a major venue placed its storytellers in the bar tent and every story was interrupted as beer bottles crashed into the trash can near the staging space, ice poured in glasses, and orders were taken.
Need a storyteller for a children's event? Sometimes the local public library can partner their children's professional to schools, daycares, etc. to read or share oral stories as part of a community outreach or literacy support. That is usually a free service - but requires advance planning to allow release time for the professional.


Fall Fabulous

The leadership of the state storytelling organization retreated to St. Crispin's Retreat Center to plan for the 2009 "Spirit of Oklahoma" storytelling Festival. It was a wonderful time of stories, stories, and more stories shared around a lounge or the firepit, refreshing walks through the woods, and delightful visits with new and old friends. There is nothing exactly like a weekend with a group of storytellers!



"Tallgrass Tellers is having Eerie Tales at Sooner Park bandshell on Oct 24th at 7-9pm. If any of you would like to attend we would be glad to have you." [Image courtesy of Fresh Eire Design, Cullan Hudson]


HISTORY: Oklahoma Storytelling Week Proclamation

Then President of Territory Tellers, Garland McWatters, State Representative Danny Moss, and President-Elect Bonnie Smith, posed in 2002 with the Governor's Proclamation of "Oklahoma Storytelling Week".


THE POWER OF WORDS - A Story to Share

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. This frog, though, was deaf, unable to hear the others plea. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

This story teaches us two lessons. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path.

The power of words is strong. An encouraging word can go such a long way. Think before you speak.

[Author Unknown, rec'd via email in 1999. For storytelling purposes leave out the italicized words - let the story speak for itself ].



Check out the OKC Story Slam for great "how to" tips and then plan to attend their events on Oct. 10 and Nov. 2. The theme in November is "Cringe"... Great Urban Entertainment.


New Website for Oklahoma Performers

A new website is starting to serve as a directory for Oklahoma Performers: music groups, storytellers, speakers. Visit it at Oklahoma Performers Directory.



PRLog (Press Release) – Sep 21, 2008 – “...tales of headless ghosts seeking ill-gotten gold, fiery witches, graves guarded by rattlesnakes, and even a guest appearance by Oklahoma’s most beloved backwoods creature, Bigfoot himself.” — Tim Tingle

OKLAHOMA CITY — — Looking for a spooky tale to share at your Halloween Dinner Party? Want something distinctly Oklahoma to slip into the trick-or-treat bag of your favorite little Goblin? Check out The Ghost of Mingo Creek and Other Spooky Oklahoma Legends, released last week in hardback by Forty-Sixth Star Press, Oklahoma City ($15.95). Penned by Greg Rodgers, an Oklahoma storyteller and member of the Choctaw Nation, the 104-page 5x6 book, features eight creepy tales that take place across the Oklahoma landscape. From a ghost that haunts Tulsa County’s Mingo Creek to the Kiamichi Country’s bigfoot in the southeast region of the state, the stories, though fictionalized, are based on rich Oklahoma legends. Written with the middle reader in mind, Tim Tingle, Oklahoma author and renowned Choctaw storyteller, says the book offers an enjoyable experience for readers of all ages. “For teachers, parents and librarians seeking new ways to stimulate student interest in Oklahoma history, geography, and social patterns, these stories will prove to be a valuable tool,” writes Tingle in the foreword. The book is available at www.fortysixthstarpress.com.

It also retails for $15.95 at Best of Books in Edmond, Okla., and in Oklahoma City at Borders and Full Circle Bookstores.

For more information, on the Forty-Sixth Star Press, contact Pam Bracken at pbracken@fortysixthstarpress.com. To schedule an author visit, please contact Rodgers directly at rodgers@fortysixthstarpress.com.

Looking for other great resources for stories? Check out the listings on OK Writers.



Ruby's Readery in Locust Grove will be hosting Locust Grove's 3rd annual Tellabration on November 15, Saturday, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. We will be telling stories around a campfire, and the treat will be smores and punch. Admission is free, though a donation to cover the cost of the dessert is appreciated. For directions to the Readery, please go to www.rubysreadery.com or call 918-479-8285. You can also email Shaun Perkins at okiestoryteller@gmail.com.



Mark the night. Sat., Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. in the SCU Auditorium on the campus of SOUTHWESTERN CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY in Bethany, OK (between Rockwell and Council on NW 39th Expressway). COST: $ 5 per person; $ 3 with valid student ID - Funds going to student fundraising project.

Tellabration 2008 – Bethany, Oklahoma

It's November and that means it is time for stories! “Tellabration" (www.territorytellers.org) 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. This year the metro area will host this event in the SCU Auditorium on the campus of Southwestern Christian University, located between Rockwell and Council, on NW 39th Expressway, on Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 7 p.m.

The cost for this fundraising event will be $5 per person or $3 with a current student ID from any area school. Funds raised will go to support outreach activities of students pursuing a degree in missions and to other outreach activities.

The featured Bethany tellers:

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.

Molly Lemmons
What happens when an ex-newspaper columnist, ex-teacher, and incurable romantic combine? "Miss Molly Lou Belle" who has, believe me, some stories to tell! Using heartwarming, humorous, and exciting stories she bridges the gap between generations. She connects adult audiences to nearly forgotten values and experiences of the past and introduces children to the common foibles and fun of life. Miss Molly Lou Belle aka Molly Lemmons is an award winning author, storyteller and workshop leader whom you will not soon forget. Contact: Miss Molly Lou Belle for her storytelling and workshop schedules and fees. Phone: 405.376.2576; email
mollyloubelle@cox.net; visit her website for more details and book titles, http://mollyloubelle.com/.

Chester Weems
An extraordinary man with a background in educational administration, Chester Weems is also a gifted photographer. His images grace many an Oklahoma storyteller's brochure! His images also bring to life events on the state storytelling groups web site at
http://www.territorytellers.org/. Chester is also a wonderful storyteller able to craft tales of human humor and memory that will leave you longing for more.

Marilyn A. Hudson
Serving as co-sponsor and MC for the event is storyteller Marilyn A. Hudson. Marilyn A. Hudson is a storyteller who has been traveling the twists and turns of the "Story Road" for nearly 20 years. She presents original tales, as well as historical and folklore tales, with her own little twists. She entrances audiences with tales, rich in the music of language and the diversity of human emotion. She shares stories of real people and mythic creatures - all the tales that provoke the imagination. Hudson currently serves on the Board of Directors of the statewide storytelling organization, The Territory Tellers. She is also the Director of Library Services for SCU. She has produced two other Tellabrations over the years.

For a list of other events being held across 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!
Contact: Marilyn Hudson at 405-789-7661 x 3451 marilynahudson@yahoo.com or marilyn.hudson@swcu.edu



Have you got a story to tell? A 'storytelling showcase' is an opportunity to try out your oral presentation with a supportive audience of avid listeners. Tallgrass Tellers, the regional storytelling group for the Bartlesville area, will host the September Storytelling Showcase this Thursday evening Sept 18, 7pm in Room B (downstairs) of the Bartlesville Public Library.

Members of Tallgrass Tellers have prepared new stories to try out. Deborah Langley is working on folktales about tricksters and our staple food crops. Nancy Lenhart polishes episodes from her fascinating life experiences. Tallgrass president Fran Stallings is developing some of the Japanese folktales she edited for a recent book, Folktales from the Japanese Countryside.

Between stories by the Tallgrass members, guests are invited to share a tale of their own. At the August showcase a Kansas librarian told a lively African folktale; an Osage County woman told about an adopted cat who raised another feline foundling; and a Bartlesville man spun a very tall tale about photographs of dinosaur. Tallgrass Tellers look forward to hearing more great stories on Thursday!

The meeting is free and open to the public Sept 18, 7pm, at the Bartlesville Public Library room B.


Bartleville Storytelling Event

Tallgrass Tellers: New Work Showcase and open mic, Sept 18, 2008 at 7pm at the Bartlesville Public Library. Also , nearby in Tulsa will be the TulseyTown Yarnspinners ,Sept 30 6pm.



A NE Oklahoma "Tellabration !" (r) - a celebration of storytelling - has been scheduled at Ruby's Readery. It will be on Saturday, November 15, 7-8:30 p.m. Ruby's Readery, is located in Locust Grove OK. The Mayes County Storytellers will have host this 3rd annual Tellabration event in this location. Stories around the campfire, free smores and punch, and desserts for sale. Also, browse the bookstore for books and gifts before the stories start! Free admission! Email Shaun Perkins for more information.


OKC STORY SLAM - Sept. Edition

Sep 19 2008 7:00P StorySLAM: Theme :
"They Say It’s Your Birthday" @ Istvan Gallery @ Urban Art
Bookmark and join the OKC My Space group as well (http://www.myspace.com/okcstoryslam)

OKC STORY SLAMS - August Edition

OKC StorySlam's Calendar

Aug 15 2008 7:00P StorySLAM: Theme -- "Back to School" @ Istvan Gallery @ Urban Art

Bookmark and join the OKC My Space group as well (http://www.myspace.com/okcstoryslam)



On Aug. 1 storyteller Barbara Jones, will present a workshop titled "Put Adventure in the Classroom with a Story". It will be at the A+ Schools Conference at Southern Nazarene University at the afternoon workshop from 2:00-3:15.

Oklahoma A+ Schools® Statewide Conference, Getting to the Heart of Creativity

Date: Friday, Aug. 1, 2008

Exhibit Time: 8:00 a.m. – Noon

Location: Southern Nazarene University, 6729 NW 39th Expressway, Bethany, OK, 73008

(See www.snu.edu for further campus information, re Sawyer Center ;and to A+ at .http://www.aplusok.org/)


According the Collaborative Summer Library Program, the themes for 2009 are "Get Creative@YourLibrary" for elementary ages and "Express Yourself@YourLibrary" for teens. See more at http://www.cslpreads.org/upcoming.htm


SLAM THE STORIES! Mark Your Calendars for These Story Slam Events

Aug 15 2008 / 7:00P
StorySLAM: Theme -- "Back to School" @ Istvan Gallery @ Urban Art
Sep 19 2008 / 7:00P
StorySLAM: Theme :"They Say It’s Your Birthday" @ Istvan Gallery @ Urban Art
Story Slams are contemporary, and sometimes nontraditional, adult story events.



A favorite movie with strong storytelling themes is the 2003, Tim Burton directed, "Big Fish." It is the story of a "bigger than life" figure whose stories delight and enthrall all but his son. As the son must learn to know this man who is his father - he too comes to learn that every needs stories....and the storytellers who share them.



Since the dawn of time people have told stories.... and the tradition continues today. The first of several fall Oklahoma events has now been scheduled for November 22, 2008 in Bethany, Oklahoma.
"Tellabration" (r) is a nationally celebrated evening honoring the art of storytelling. All across the country people will be gathering in halls and homes to enjoy the wonder of storytelling. The evening will be sponsored by Southwestern Christian University, 7210 NW 39th Expressway,(between Rockwell and Council), in partnership with the statewide storytelling organization, The Territory Tellers.
Yet to be announced, will be the total roster of talent for the evening. Cost for the evening will be $5 ($3 for students with ID). The event will be a wholesome and enjoyable journey into the world of traditional oral storytelling suitable for ages 12 and up. Part of the proceeds will go to student fundraising projects.
Southwestern Christian University was founded in 1946 and is an accredited degree granting institution offering degrees in Business, English, Music, Ministry, Human Family Services, and Non-profit Leadership (ABLE program).
The Territory Tellers, founded in the mid-1980's, is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote both story tellers and story listeners in the state of Oklahoma.
For information contact: Marilyn Hudson 405-789-7661 (ext 3451) or email at marilyn.hudson AT swcu.edu.


The world of the monologue - that standard introductory audition piece used in high schools and venues across the world- has some links to the process of the oral storyteller's conveying of the essence of their tale. Play with it awhile and see the common grounds and the divergent paths. Visit :http://chdramaworkshop.homestead.com/Monologues.html



For the state's centennial last year Oklahoma library legacy, master puppeteer, and storyteller, John Hinkle provided his interpretation of an early day state politician and 9th governor, Bill "Alfalfa" Murray. Named an Oklahoma Library legancy, read more about John's career professional career at the Oklahoma Library Association website.

Read more about John at this article from Jan. 2008 in the Edmond Outlook


Help Build "Child Sized Stories"

If you are a storyteller who works with children, please visit CHILD SIZED STORIES. Submit your ideas, reviews, and resources so others may also benefit.



The major problem facing any art form is finding support - both creative and monetary. A small, obscure art form struggles for lack of audiences, promotion, and awareness. There is strength - and higher profiles for the art form - when related groups and individuals unite.
I encourage all storytellers - and story lovers - to join the statewide storytelling organization, The Territory Tellers. Preserve storytelling, but also propel storytelling into the 21st century and beyond! Take an active role in telling, listening, and supporting storytelling. Individual membership is only $15 a year (a bargain!) and new organizational memberships are available.

Storytellers in Oklahoma are currently at work in a variety of settings: urban museums, historic settings, paranormal tours, cultural centers, zoos, camps, parks, book stores, educational classrooms, business meetings, Church ministry, elder care, children's services, local history, libraries, hospitals, theaters, art festivals, summer reading, emerging technologies, literacy projects.....

Join The Territory Tellers: It's a TEAM effort - Together Everyone Achieves More.



Next OKC StorySLAM (see 6/24/08 entry for link to OKCStory Slam)
When: Friday, July 18, 7:00 pm to sign up, 7:30 to tell

Where: The Istvan Gallery, 1218 N. Western, OKC

The theme is: "Hot, Hot Heat"

This event is free and open to the public,

however, stories are geared toward an adult audience.

All stories must be 7 minutes or less and must relate to the theme of Heat or the Summertime Heat.


Storytelling a Focus of the Library of Congress Folk Life Collections

In 2001 the LOC added important records about storytelling to their collection of materials about the customs and traditions of the American people.
http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2001/01-077.html. Here in Oklahoma, the records of the Territory Tellers have been added to the state archives at the new state history center and are available for researchers. The History Center is a treasure house of information, inspiration, and ideas for storytellers.


October 3-5, 2008 in lovely Jonesborough, TN. Perfect for the whole family with storytellers of international standing.

Click here for information.



The theme for this global celebration highlighting the art of storytelling is "neighbors". This event, usually held on March 20, is fairly new but is an exciting new way to promote and practice the art form. To learn more go the WSD website.
[ARTWORK by Mats Rhenman].



At the beginning of the 20th century a line of reasoning emerged that sought to remove the "fairy tales" from childhood. The rationalists viewed them as harmful to a child, establishing myths and artificial realities when a child needed reality. Fairy tales were relegated to "nonsense" or "lies" and numerous other labels that said they were not suitable for a healthy developing child. They were filled with monsters and awful things...... Author G. K. Chesterton, however, wrote in defence : "Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed."

Recommended Reading: Nuts & Bolts

This book by Harlynne Geisler , Storytelling Professionally: The Nuts and Bolts of a Working Performer is a must have for anyone thinking about going "pro" or for anyone who will hire storytelling professionals. Basic information, sound advice, and lots of examples make this a valuable resource. May need to look for it but it is worth the effort. Read a review: http://storyteller.swiftsite.com/stprore.htm.

Another classic in the field - it is more expensive and may also be hard to find. The World of Storytelling by Ann Pellowski. It is a more scholarly work covering the history, training, ethnic applications and cultural interpretations of storytelling around the globe and through time.



It is summer reading program time in the public libraries of Oklahoma. Here are few of the tellers who are being scheduled to delight local children, youth, and families:
Al Bostick
Fran Stallings
David Titus
Marie Harris
Barbra Jones
Kathryn Thurman
Dwe Williams
Laurette Willis
Big Magic Book
Michael Corley
Gwendolyn Hooks
Marilyn A. Hudson
Dan Gibson
Jiann Powers

Don't see your name? Leave a comment and it will be added.


Margaret Read MacDonald notes that “storytelling is an oral folk art…distinct from conversational speech, because through body language, delivery, and attitude, the teller enters a performing mode. And yet, this performance is distinct too from traditional theatrical performance: it is more intimate, and a sense of comradery develops between teller and audience. Storytelling is an audience shaped art form.” (Twenty Tellable Tales pg. 181). Instead of proudly proclaiming the uniqueness of storytelling...it has often limped along, embrassed it was not more theatrical (as it that was a justification or permission for its existence) or ashamed it was so intimate or "folksy".

Anne Pellowski notes that there are a vast variety of storytelling styles based in culture, in story purpose, and in teller individualization. She lists: Native American Styles, African Folk Styles, African Bardic Styles, European Bardic Styles, European Folk Styles, Gaelic Styles, Asian Bardic and Theatrical Styles, Asian Folk Styles, Chinese Bamboo Clapper Style, North American Ethnic Styles, Religious Storytelling Style, Theatrical Styles, Library and Institutional Syles. (World of Storytelling, pg. -138-157). New styles of telling (Spoken Word, Story Slams, Digital Storytelling, etc.) are now emerging. It is the ability of storytellers to adapt and change that has kept this "ancient" art form alive.

In recent years, more and more touches of theatrics have been added to be simply "crowd pleasers" under the assumption that "today's child or audience" needs action and variety. Not necessarily....I have seen tough inner city children who could not sit still for a commercial- sit awed and entranced, hanging on every word the storyteller spoke and without the frenzy or bellicose elements. I have seen tattooed semi-felons drinking in the words of a softly spoken story with complex ideas and thoguhts. I have seen children from every race and status clustered around a storyteller in the center of a room, as she softly told her tales.....I was not the teller in any of these memories.....so I can be totally objective....

I have also seen a lot of meaningless shouting, jumping around, audience participation, and over the top acting in some storytellers that was fun to watch, but was a lot like eating spun sugar....it left you feeling a little empty......it was junk food that left nothing for the mind or the heart to think on and discover days later....

ALL STYLES OF ORAL STORYTELLING ARE EQUALLY VALID. Each of the styles listed by Pellowski can be useful and fun and achieve satisfaction in customers and audiences. None should be used to define storytelling into one particular style. Instead, celebrate the vast diversity of this art form called storytelling...and appreciate the artistry, individualism, and vision of all its varied members.



"STORY SLAMS" are usually more urban, avant garde, and definitely adult venues. They are edgy, progressive, hip-hop inspired short stories told in fast forward of the experiences of modern life. Think storytelling counter culture or the tales of a new, different generation being spun in ways previous tellers might never have dreamed. They are often held in coffeee houses, museums, art galleries, night spots, or city parks. There are, however, events aimed at teens and young adults (see http://www.youthstorytelling.com/toolbox/Youth_and_Storytelling_Keding.pdf)

There is a very good blog at First Person Arts that includes a description and a video. These are operated a little differently and have emerged from the "Poetry Slam" movement of performance art. They are often competitions and regularly tellers put their name in a hat or jar and the lucky ones tell. There is one that occurs in OKC - usually in June - check the MySpace page for insights: http://www.myspace.com/okcstoryslam.


HISTORY TOURS of Downtown OKC. The Wall Street Journal (June 24, 2008;pg. D7) shares how various hotels in Denver have resident historians who regale tours and guests with the history (legend and factual) of the hotel. Image a resident storyteller/guide in the Skirvin or the lovely downtown bank?

HISTORICAL TOURS: The present COX CONVENTION CENTER sits on the old "Hell's Half Acre" and notorious saloons and bawdy houses of pre-statehood. That is also were the famous Chinese Tunnels were and could tie in well with the Asian Heritage section just to the north. "DEEP DEUCE" could share the magic and wonder of the great music that was born and shared there by some of the great names of jazz and blues. "COW TOWN" to the south could be revitalized via celebrations of the old west heritage....

AFTER HOURS WALKING TOUR: The growing PARANORMAL industry in the country indicates that a PARANORMAL WALKING TOUR of places related to the early day shoot outs or legends might be feasible in, and around, the downtown-bricktown areas.

RIVER TALES: Oklahoma stories told on the river boats.....

What better place to place storytellers who can act as guides/performers/living history figures, etc.? OKC, or any community, could benefit by tapping into the storyteller/historian/theater groups to locate, train, and use such to highlight their history in an interesting manner.



Shaun Perkins, Locust Grove, Oklahoma writer and storyteller, has received news a story of hers will be featured in an upcoming issue of, Storytelling Magzine, periodical of the National Storytellers Network (August 2008). "The story is a mother/daughter one(similar to the Demeter/Persephone myth), but it has an Oklahoma setting." Shaun told Oklahoma Teller. "It is also a kind of "creation" story, as it gives a fanciful version of where our state wildflower--the firewheel--came from."

Here is the link to Storytelling Magazine. It's a bimonthly that NSN members get free and that anyone can order individual copies of.

How Diverse is Oklahoma Storytelling?

Reading a blog recently this idea floated to the surface. Currently, Oklahoma stoytelling is more diverse than at any time in its history with a greater openness, and appreciation, to the vast ethnic groups that have enriched the state. The tales of native American peoples, the tales of the South, the Irish, the Polish, and many others who settled here have added flavor to the melting pot. There is still room for more diversity as the vast palette of story types, as well as story tellers, are enlarged in the coming years. Oklahoma continues, like the rest of the country, to be developing and can look forward to being charmed and delighted by Hispanic stories, Asian Stories, Middle-Eastern Stories, Pacific Stories, and many others. Oklahoma has opened its arms to environmental stories and stories of faith and stories of peace and tales of history. What Oklahoma has to look forward to is unifying all those who "tell" in historical interpretation, walking tours, ghost tours, radio, cinema, sermons, story slams, and other emerging art forms into its understanding of what 'storytelling' means in the state.


Nearby Events

Tejas Storytelling Conference July 26, 2008San Antonio, TX
National Storytelling Network Conference August 7-10, 2008 Jonesborough, TN

Just In Time For Halloween: The Ghost Teller

Marilyn A. Hudson is the "Ghost Teller" with folktales, forgotten history, spooky tales, and strange happenings from Oklahoma history. Planning an event this halloween? Check out the "Ghost Teller".



Her name meant "bearer of the morning" and her stories brought the dawn of a new era in the appreciation of the traditional arts in the life of Oklahoma. In the 1980's she was named Oklahoma's first cultural treasure and how fitting. Roger Harris of the Oklahoma History Center has a synopsis of her life at
http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/T/TE001.html and there is a page dedicated to her on the Chickasaw Nation website at
http://www.chickasaw.net/site06/heritage/250_951.htm . A recent stage production has been developed that honors this remarkable Chickasaw woman . Her story "Baby Rattlesnake" was published as adapted by Lynn Moroney http://www.ipl.org/div/natam/bin/browse.pl/A212

“art binds all people together”-- Te Ata

An auditorium on the campus of Oklahoma University of Arts and Sciences honors her as well


STORYTELLING IN OKLAHOMA CITY: 1960-2000. (In progress)

Storytelling” has been described as the writing of a book, the reading of a book aloud, the acting out of a book’s story, the creation of images to convey a story line, and the process of orally conveying a story. It is entertainment, it is a folk art, it is theater… This fluidity of definition has resulted in more than a little confusion by journalists, publicists, and the public.

In 1943 columnist, Edyth T. Wallace queried if storytelling for small children had become a lost art. She urged parents and others to see that it did not disappear and recommended a book and a brochure she had found to provide tips for learning and sharing stories.

“Story time starts at City Libraries” declared one OKC headline in 1965 about a “spring storytelling cycle being readied by the local system. They may have been influenced by the highly successful work of Augusta Brown in New York. Contextually it is apparent they meant the tradition story “reading” of a printed book to a group of children[2]. The next year, however, in “Libraries Slate Storytelling” it is pointed out that children would be given opportunity to “listen to the centuries old art of storytelling” implying it was focusing more on the oral tradition[3].
In 1972, Clair Jones, of the speech and theater department at OCU, conducted a worskshop on Creative Dramatics and Storytelling” at the university.

Storytelling found a regular home in Oklahoma, as elsewhere, in the annual summer break programs offered through local public libraries.

While delighting children everywhere, storytelling was also being rediscovered as a viable and entertaining pleasure for adults. In 1973, the now famous Jonesboro Storytelling Festival in Tennessee was born proving that storytelling had a wider appeal than just for the nursery set.[6] It had proven itself entertaining to a wide age group, but it was also being suggested by academics that storytelling could be useful in many disciplines. In an AP story by George W. Cornell in November of 1973, Harvard theologian Dr. Harvey Cox expressed the need for theologians and the church to reclaim storytelling.[7]

The local library system of OKC, the Metropolitan Library System, continued its annual “storytelling workshops” at three libraries who repeatedly served as hubs in the 1970’s and 1980’s for such events: Southern Oaks, the Downtown library, and the Ralph Ellison branch. Presenters at these training events included Roxanne Rhodes, Donna Deniston, Karen Jones and others. In 1977, the MLS was even “looking for storytellers” to be trained to learn “book selection, storytelling techniques, and theme ideas” for preschool storytimes in area libraries.

Into the 1980,’s storytelling continued to be encourage and promoted at OCU under Claire Jones and in the public libraries. It was also being introduced into retirement centers as well.

In 1982, Linda Levey, along with the OKC Arts Council, the MLS, and other groups launched a “storytelling festival” event aimed primarily at adult audiences and “WinterTales” was born. A year later, Levy, along with Lynn Moroney of the OKC Arts Council were sharing stories in a multi-arts venue called, “Festifall”.

Ann DeFrange, local journalist, interviewed in 1986 visiting storyteller Bob Wilhelm, a featured teller at that year’s “WinterTales”. The focus of the event was to be to revive “our native skills to communicate to other people.”
[10] Oklahoma City had been involved in reviving this skill for a number of years already.

The groundswell of a storytelling renaissance blossomed from the folk music movement in the early 1960’s. The nations approaching bicentennial, when all things in the communal past were revisited, and re-discovered, saw a revival of many “folk arts” and storytelling was one of those. Just as the Jonesboro Storytelling Festival provided a impetus in the 1970’s the development in 1988 of an “evening of storytelling” called “Tallabration!” would do the same for the next two decades. [see entry on the history of the event in Oklahoma).

Some segments of Oklahoma society needed little effort to “rediscover” storytelling, since they had kept the flame of custom in their cultures. Oklahoma’s rich palette of ethnic groups included Asians, Native Americans, Europeans, and African-Americans. This meant that a vital, often untapped and sometimes unappreciated, treasure of knowledge, instruction, and history was waiting to be shared. Te Atw, the Chickasaw stotyeller was one early notable individual. In 1996, Tulsa based Miscogee Indian, Wilburn Hill noted he had been brought up to be a tribal storyteller.
[1] Wallace, E.T. “Is Storytelling for Small Children Becoming a Lost Art?” The Oklahoman (Jan.14, 1943:6).
[2] “Storytime Starts at City Libraries” The Oklahoman (Feb.9, 1965: 26).
[3] “Libraries Slate Storytelling” The Oklahoman (Jan. 25, 1966: 38).
[4] ‘First Workshop Today” The Oklahoman (Sept. 30, 1972: 7).
[5] “Libraries Sets Special Events for children.” The Oklahoma (June 2, 1972: 37).
[6] “History of the Festival” at http://www.storytellingcenter.com/festival/history-fest.htm
[7] “Christianity Needs To reclaim Storytelling”. The Oklahoman (Nov. 23, 1973:94).
[8] “Libraries Looking for Storytellers.” Te Oklahoman (Aug.19, 1977:22).
[9] “Retirement Home Plans Storytelling as Regular Activity.” The Oklahoman (Aug. 3, 1982: 42).
[10] “”Storytelling Art Form Worth Keeping Forever.” The Oklahoman (Jan. 26, 1986: 96).

Note: This is a research project, in progress, any additional information and names will be welcome. Email: marilynahudson@yahoo.com or just leave a comment.

History of "Tellabration"(R) in Oklahoma: In Progress

Let me tell you about...."Tellabration!" (R) - A global celebration of storytelling held each November.
Each November storytellers around the globe celebrate storytelling in evening concerts in homes, halls, fields, theaters, bookstories, schools, and any place they can share their love of the art form. In 1988 a storytelling guild in Connecticut decided to offer a special evening of storytelling. It proved so satisfying that they planned more and soon they were happening all over the country! According to one source, Oklahoma's first "TELLABRATION! (R)" was in 1992 at the Sooner Theater in Norman and was produced by Letty Watt.

Some producers include: Letty Watt, Bob Bjorkland, Lois Hartman, Fran stallings, Lynn Moroney, Rosemary Czarski, Marilyn Hudson....

Some of the Oklahomans who contributed their talent to sharing stories in the state's "Tellabrations!" include: Ginger La Croix, Letty Watt, Theresa Black, Robert and Marie Harris, Barabra McBride-Smith, Patsy Packard, David Titus, Weckeach Bradley, Jared Aubrey, Bob Bjorklund, Lois Hartman, Kris Hunt, Peggy Kaney, Sam McMichael, Jo Etta Martneay Bryan, Whit Edwards, Debra Garnejkul, Connie Fisher, Vance Morrow, Sky Shivers, Steve and PAt Kardolff, Will Hill, Tina Saner, Emilea Moring, Kathryn Thurman, Marilyn A. Hudson, Chester Weems, Rosemary Czarski, Liz Parker, Bonnie Smith Jeannette Harjo, Stella Long, Shaun Perkins, and others.

Note: If you kow of other names or details regarding these events - please send them to me. The poster is from the 2002 event hosted by the Pioneer Library System in Norman, Oklahoma. Featured tellers: Lynn Moroney, Jahruba Lembeth, Maureen McGovern and Marilyn A. Hudson.

The Wisdom of the Elders

A network of Native American storytellers includes a directory of several Oklahomans. "Turtle Island Storytellers Network is the American Indian speaker’s bureau being developed to promote talented American Indian storytellers, tribal historians, and song carriers from the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains. A total of 80 individual webpage portfolios will be developed during 2005, each including information on talented oral cultural artists, their biographical summary and contact information, along with audio, transcript and a photo gallery.These speakers will be available as speakers and consultants. Promotional announcements will be distributed to public agencies, institutions, organizations and the media in the region of the artists. This project is funded by Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, National Park Service, and National Endowment for the Arts."



In the early 1970's in OKC the local libraries (in The Metropolitian Library System) were dynamic supporters of storytelling. They hosted events, trained volunteers, and went out into the community to introduce Oklahoma City to the art of oral storytelling. Many of the first storytellers who charmed audiences emerged from the ranks of librarians and staff within the system.
They were ready when a formal event to celebrate story emerged with the OKC Arts Council's "Wintertales" in 1982. "Wintertales" proved a popular event and grew to become a significant part of the year for storytellers, educators, and listeners across the mid-central regions. It developed into workshops, family concerts, and event concerts with nationally known and local storytellers. Always supported and assisted by the Territory Telllers of Oklahoma who held an "Olio" (story concert) and hosted a reception for the tellers and audience. The momentum continued even as a national event was being born in the event to be known as "Tellabration!" (R).
This "global night of storytelling" only began in the mid 1980's but by 1992 the state organization, The Territory Tellers, was going strong hosting events across the wider metropolitan area of Oklahoma City and in metro Tulsa. It was originally conceived as an event to raise awareness that storytelling was not limited to children and the programs celebrated "adult" storytelling by returning to the complex, socially relevant, and thought provoking tales that once enthralled people of every culture. Subject matter was approporate to adults with adult concerns, experiences, and dreams. In 1992, the event was held in the St. Luke's UMC. Local tellers included: Ginger La Croix, Theresa Black, Robert and Marie Harris, Barbara McBride-Smith, Patsy Packard, David Titus, Weckeah Bradley and Jared Aubrey. However, by the late 20th century the event had evolved to include "family friendly" events and "youth Tellabrations."
In 2003, Rep. Danny Morgan, then state storytelling agency president, Garland McWatters, and storyteller Bonny Smith asked Gov. Brad Henry to designste the week of storytelling (Nov. 16-22, 2003) as "Oklahoma Tellabration Storytelling Week!" Storytelling," Morgan said, " is a valuable method of sharing American folklore and is an important means of contributing to Oklahoman's knowledge of the history of our state."



This link leads to a .pdf of a thrity-six page book from the UK on developing storytelling programs in museums. http://www.mlalondon.org.uk/uploads/documents/Hub.pdf



Sharing engagingly factuallly rich history through non-costumed oral storytelling.

“We created performance stories by adopting the historical storytelling approach of the third person everyman from the time period and told the stories as if the characters had been our neighbors. The challenge was to create narratives that were historically accurate, educational, meaningful, and entertaining. We also knew that there would be members of the audience who had lived here during that time and would hold us to the truth.”
http://www.onceuponanation.org/oldSite05/pdf/Benstitute_press_release.pdf Of the “beanstitute” – Storytellers, garbed in contempory clothing would be stationed around the city. “Beanstitute storytellers are important to the visitor experience because they will paint a more complete picture of the people, the places and the events that shaped our nation," said Amy Needle, executive director of Once Upon A Nation. "With the training at the Benstitute, our storytellers truly will be Philadelphia's newest tourism ambassadors."

"Historying ": the process of the storyteller specializing in bringing the past to life solely through the vehicle of oral storytelling. The teller, like an artist or a writer, will read widely, think deeply, and then find a thread of theme ( or motif) bringing meaning and vitality to the stories of the past. Performance values of developing an engaging and entertaining delivery and presences in order to provide a "draw" for an event. The stories will be linked by some common feature. The bonds of common human experiences, emotions, and needs link the stories. They serve to mentor the current generation by telling the stories (with their implied truths, values, and lessons) to the present. Such storytelling seeks to connect – in one long chain of being – the entirety of human experiences.
Special note: Tour guides can become excellent storytellers in normal gear. One of the best tours experienced by this writer was on the Hill of Tara in Ireland. The bus driver-tour guide strode across the green hills and briefly but with energy and skill gave an abbreviated history of the Hill through snippets of legends and saga. The layers of modern day fell at our feet as we saw the heroes of old rise up and stride across the hills, we heard the ring of ancient swords, and heard the call of birds centuries past.