By Kevin Cordi
The fire of story can be and should be everywhere
As a storyteller for over 25 years, I hear that storytelling is changing. I agree, it is changing, but with this change, it is implied or even directly said that sitting at a warm campfire is no longer the place that story is residing or that we need to make room for stories in new places. I have even seen it advertised that a campfire
teller is the role a storyteller used to serve, but now it is something new. These advocates say instead of the warm comfort of tales told in a tent or by a warm fireside, we now bring story to business rooms, conference, halls, hospitals…
With this, the storyteller is changing, he or she is no longer sharing tales dressed in bright colors but now wearing business suits.
Dare I say I love the warmth from tales told over a campfire, the blaze that comes from sitting under a tent with hundreds of others listening to stories, the warmth that arrives from hearing or telling a spooky eerie traditional Bloody Bones tale for a group of scouts,
but I also feel the warmth over a board room as one employee shares a rich narrative of how the company is reaching out to others or a doctor listening to a patient stories before hearing about their ailments. I love listening to a conference key note that uses stories to bringing people together.
However, this fire can and should spark anywhere. Let us not displace this warmth or disregard the rich tradition of where it is and has been. Instead kindle it into a flame, share the flame and watch it grow, not to burn but to light the way wherever it finds a spark.
Make room for campfires, bars, and community board meetings. Story and storytellers change, but the roots of a Jack Tale deserves to enchant us as much as the tales told over a bagel.
Praise the tradition, don’t disregard the place it all happens. Bring the warm of story to new places, however, never neglect the joy of a warm campfire, a beautiful communal tent, and your own home as a place for stories.
You are the person who holds the match to start the spark. We all need the light. Whether we are in the business room, we need stories. We need to hear Old Dry Frye and personal tales of wonder and accomplishment. We need to be enchanted by tales of King Arthur or selkies. Doctors need to ask for stories from their patients as much as they need to listen to the heart beats on a stethoscope.
Stories hold our hearts, concerns, and successes.
Stories and storytelling is changing. However, in order to develop we need to honor the amazing fact that there is a place for everyone to share a tale and that we can be the teller in that place.
Lift the spark. Start the flame. We are waiting for the light.
Kevin D. Cordi is the author of Playing with Stories (Parkhurst Brothers, 2014) —Story Crafting for Writers, Teachers, and Other Imaginative Thinkers. He believes play makes real connections in story development. You can find out more at www.kevincordi.com.
Telephone: (559) 213-0161
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