making a story yours…

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    From: “Maria Gomez de la Torre”

    Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:52:02 -0700

    Wells of wisdom,

    I think this has come up before but here goes: when I read an old folktale or
    story – like the one Tim recommended to Laura about the Goose Girl in a
    recent thread- I try imagine myself in front of an audience telling it but
    somehow the words or some parts of the story just won’t come out like the
    original – one always changes something to fit it to one’s character or way
    of telling. Once someone on the list said to always tell stories that you
    love but when you internalize the story, make it yours (obviously your
    personality kicks in like if you’re more of a goofy person or perhaps making
    a woman stronger than in the original story and not so much “the damsel in
    distress” image). How can you make a story yours but still trying to be
    faithful to the original tale?

    Any thoughts?



    From: Hope Lewis
    Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2017 18:21:12 -0400

    Hello Maria et al,

    I first break down the story into a very few scenes I really love and want to keep. Sometimes I even attach photos that illustrate the scenes. Then, without looking at the original story, I begin to put my own words to the illustrations out loud, listening for my own voice to emerge. I add details, or move scenes around, delete or add parts of the story until the tale resonates as authentically “me.”
    At the same time, I try to search out other versions of the same story from other cultures or times. Sometimes the alternative versions give me different perspectives and insights.
    I finally go back to the original and look at what drew me in the first place.
    Condensing multiple versions, the original, and my own voice into one polished gem is the final work of the storyteller.
    Finally, I honor the original tale (be aware of copyrights) by noting that my story is based on “…..”
    Share the joy of the tale, Maria,


    “A good storyteller is the conscience-keeper of a nation.” Gulzar
    President, Northeast Storytelling
    Convener, Lovers Of Old & New Stories (LOONS) Storytelling Guild
    Sharing the Fire Storytelling Conference, March 24-26, 2017, Plymouth, MA


    From: “Richard Marsh”
    Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2017 23:11:20 -0000

    Without splitting hairs about the terminology, I’d say I make my own version of the story rather than making the story my own. The story is mine only insofar as it belongs to everyone, as I emphasise at the end of a session. My version might include background historical information on a legend. With my journalistic experience, I rarely “publish” based on only one source, so details from other versions and sources might be borrowed for the version I base my version on. I might add details or delete colour or tangential wandering that some teller or author has added that doesn’t contribute to the throughline of the story, but I never change the story itself.

    When I listen to a teller, I quickly decide if I want to acquire the story for my repertoire. If I decide I do, I retell the story to myself in my own words as the teller is telling, discarding tangents and possibly adding clarifying information. That way, I have the story in my own words.

    Richard Marsh


    From: Charles Kiernan
    Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2017 23:01:42 -0400

    “How can you make a story yours but still trying to be faithful to the original tale?”

    In my mind that is the art of storytelling.

    Charles K.


    From: “Cris Riedel”
    Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:45:19 -0400

    Amen to Hope’s process, quite the way I work.

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