"I'm a storyteller ... I take the long way home."
Regi Carpenter, featured teller
How to express the state of my mind and heart and soul at the close of this - or any - storytelling festival?? Perhaps it is best to share simple snippets of thought, as recorded in my journal, with the highlights of the weekend.
Friday night concert - Regi Carpenter was new to my schema of storytelling performers. She was so theatrical, and truly brought so many aspects of ART into the idea of storytelling as a performance art: song, movement, imagery, cadence of voice ... She reminded me of what Anne had said last weekend, that storytellers really use all the body has to offer to practice their art, because that is all they have. Yet, what we have is enough.
Saturday morning workshop with Joel ben Izzy - He began with a story about traveling to Mexico with Green Mountain Coffee and visiting a coffee plant where the hostess was just as joyful as can be ... he honed in a minute on the holes in the roof of the house. They were tiny pricks, really, but enough to shed quarter-size circles of light onto the floor. "These little thing," he said, "are what let us into storytelling." I could not help but remember Dayton Edmonds' story of the Sky Blanket and think: those pricks in the ceiling, they are like the stars in the Sky Blanket that remind us of the world beyond. Perhaps, then, stories serve a dual purpose: like the stars of the Sky Blanket, they remind us of what lies beyond the world we live in; and like the pricks in the ceiling, they let the light of the world beyond in to shed just a quarter-size illumination on something that happens here, in this world.
Picnic lunch with Fern, fellow storyteller and (very newly so) my boyfriend - I re-read a chapter from David Sobol's The Storytellers' Journey, titled The Archetype of the Storyteller: "I will treat the archetype of the storyteller ... not as a transcendent category, but as a dynamic process." Sobol features three "totemic tales", as he calls them, that seem to reflect different aspects of recognizing oneself as a storyteller, complete with an identity and purpose within human culture. The archetype, though, he seems to say, is not the identity, itself, but the process of identification. In other words, the processing of an experience in search of meaning.
... Meaning-making! This is what we tell stories for, each and every one of us! Yet, the one who finds meaning in the personal experience of finding meaning in all experience for the sake of all people ... that is the storyteller. The archetypal practice of storytellers seems now to emerge in my mind: The conscious craft of making meaning out of all life experience on behalf of and for the whole of humanity.