The July 3rd StoryNite with San Antonio Storytellers Association (SASA) started Independence Day celebrations early with a lively group of 15 SASA members and visitors.
Carol J., Judy C., Pat S., Veronica, Mary Ann, Karen, Susan, Charlie, Alan (from Houston!), John H., Hildi, Janice, Judy P., Aleya, Xavier G.
Susan Whipple guided us through the evening of a wide variety of stories.
John Hale kicked off the storytelling with a high school story of himself newly transplanted to the country life. The day was supposed to begin at 4:30am with chores but John slept through that part and got up just in time to get on the bus for school. Later in the morning, the dairy cow began bellowing because she had not been milked. John’s mother took care of the problem … by driving to the school, going into John’s classroom and commanding John to get home and do his chores. The incident followed John all through his high school years as he would walk down the halls and hear, “Hey John! Did you milk the cows?!!” from his fellow classmates.
Carol Johnson treated us to one of her Kamishibai stories. This one was about a young boy who loved boiled chestnuts. A kind old woman (who was really a witch!) talked him into coming to her house for chestnuts. He fell fast asleep under a spell but escaped and ran to the Priest for help. The Priest saved the day, but it would ruin the story if we told you how. See more about Kamishibai here https://www.google.com/search?q=kamishibai&rlz=1C1AWUC_enUS793US810&oq=kamishibai&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.4491j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Veronica Gard’s story about a boy who could understand what the birds were saying had us all engrossed, and she left us hanging at the end! We will have to return to hear the rest of the story about the small boy who was sent away by his father for telling truth that he learned from listening to a Nightingale. Birds helped him along the way when he was rescued by a ship and he saved the ship from pirates. He solved a problem for a king by listening to arguing crows and was promised the king’s daughter in marriage when they became old enough to marry. The boy was about to sail away for another adventure when Veronica suddenly stopped telling. Come back to another Story Nite for more of this story!
Xavier Garza told a delightful story about La Piggy. This was the mother’s cherished piggy bank, handed down through generations. Her small son, Margarito, dropped La Piggy while stealing money out of the piggy bank. Fate and quick thinking got the blame shifted from Margarito to his little sister, Rita. You can learn more about Xavier and Margarito when you search each of them on Google.
Susan Whipple told us a very intriguing story about Bonita, a sea princess, who came out of the dark sea to the bright land. She fell in love and married a wonderful king. He saw that she was becoming melancholy from so much light and not enough darkness for sleep. He asked Bonita’s father, the sea serpent king, for some darkness for Bonita so she could rest. As a result, we have night and day; we also have dawn and dusk; and we have moon and stars.
Alan Gardner Atkinson told a political espionage story from the Nixon and Russian era. Alan revealed that he was actually Howard Hunt and that he had been given the assignment of obtaining the Russian’s recipe for borscht for Pat Nixon to serve at state dinners. Things got tense when Howard was caught inside the Kremlin. Fortunately, Rocky and Bullwinkle arrived in the nick of time and saved Howard. He went on to be involved in a few other CIA ventures, like Watergate.
Janice Craft provided some lop-sided travel advice with her story about a visit to New York City. She had made a spontaneous decision to make her first trip to NYC alone, and was well fortified with good travel advice: do not let strangers know it is your first trip. Well, Janice got into a few interesting situations and when strangers approached her, the first thing she blurted out was “This is my first trip to NYC. I don’t know anyone and I don’t know what to do.” Miraculously, this worked for Janice every time and she received all kinds of help and met some wonderful people.
Alan shared a funny short story about camels. He was in a gathering and someone asked for a volunteer to describe the difference between a unicamel and a bicamel. He thought it was easy enough to do that so he volunteered and informed everyone that a unicamel has one hump, a bicamel has two humps. There was some silence in the room until someone pulled Alan aside and told him the words were unicameral and bicameral (number of governing legislative bodies).
John told us a heart-stopping story about a bus ride he took. He was in a foreign city and the local transportation was not operating because it was siesta time. A bus came by and he was forced to board the bus even though it was very crowded. He got a small foothold on the back of the bus, and held on as tightly as he could in an awkward position of having to lean out a bit. There was a large man in front of him and John was wishing he would move a little so John could get a better position on the bus. Suddenly, the man turned to John, grabbed him and pulled him very close to himself. Then John saw why he did that – they travelled past a utility pole that was only inches from the bus and John’s head would have collided with the pole if the man had not jerked him out of the way!
We ran out of time before we could hear Charlie Whipple’s storytelling, which was a disappointment for everyone because you never quite know what Charlie is going to tell. Charlie will share his entertaining stories at the next Story Nite in August.
The icing on the Story Nite cake was free books from Mary Ann Blue! Story Nite continued in the library parking lot as people gathered around a box of amazing books. Everyone left with at least one new treasured book under their arm. Conversations were still flowing long afterward.
The June 5th StoryNite with San Antonio Storytellers Association (SASA) enjoyed a sizeable and varied group of members and visitors.
Members: Pat, John, Mary Grace, Susan, Charlie, Karen, Sue
Visitors: Chris, Aleya, Van, Elaine, Janice, Claudia
Sue opened the evening by mentioning the upcoming 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon. The 75th anniversary of Normandy Beach was also noted. Sue invited everyone to share anecdotes about the anniversaries. Anecdotes are very short expressions that are a good way to begin the art of storytelling.
Susan started us off strongly with a mini workshop to help us with story development. Susan has a beautiful style of incorporating detail into her stories which allows the listeners to see the story as she tells. Susan gave us 2 methods to create stories:
Storyboard: visualize the story and identify key parts. Roughly draw those parts in separate blocks on paper (stick figures are okay!). Relate the story to the pictures on the paper and in your mind, and become familiar with them. Use the pictures as memory joggers when practicing and telling your story.
Write the story, precisely with good descriptive language. Practice the story tell over and over with the precise language. Once it becomes very familiar, begin to experiment to bring changes into the story to make it your own – stay true to the original story. Get to know the story, become comfortable with it.
Susan contrasted simple sequence statements with descriptive language to show how adding details create pictures in the listeners’ minds. She gave us examples of good detailed descriptions in stories. She reminded us to create pictures in our minds to share with the audience.
Susan also gave us tips for times when we forget to leave out a key part of a story. She tells us if we are with a casual audience, it is okay to just go ahead and say something like “Oh – I forgot to tell you…” Often, you can simply insert the part into the story as you are telling, and you are most likely the only person who knows that it wasn’t originally intended to be there.
We enjoyed some great storytelling after Susan’s workshop. Reflecting on WWII days, Charlie told us about some unusual cookies his mother made for him. They had a new ingredient – chocolate pieces from baking chocolate, later to become chocolate chips!
Charlie went on to tell a story of the ghost in the Hill Country. Charlie saw the ghost’s rocking chair moving by itself on the porch as he drove by. He floored the gas pedal and got the heck outta there. He didn’t want some ghost jumping in his truck and riding in the passenger seat!
Mary Grace told us an intriguing story about a ranch hand named Joe who won $100 gambling in Dodge City. He used the $100 to pay for damages his crew caused at the local saloon, which was then used to pay the grocer in town, who then paid the undertaker, who then paid the livery stable, and on to others until it arrived back in the hands of Joe. If you had been at StoryNite, you would have heard what happened to that $100 bill after that – a campfire was involved….
Speaking of pyromaniacs, our visitor Chris, who swears he is not a pyromaniac, told a very interesting story from WWII about England’s Cunard Cruise lines support of the war effort by participating in an elaborate ruse to fool the Germans into thinking a ship was in Southhampton. It worked and while the Germans were attacking Southhampton bay, the ship was halfway across the Atlantic.
John Munley provided us with excellent suggestions to draw out history stories from individuals by looking at the historical events that occurred during their lifetime. Choose one of the events and ask them how they were personally affected by the event. People begin to tell very interesting stories that paint word pictures of history.
We finished out the evening with several people sharing personal anecdotes about the historical anniversaries. StoryNite is always a delightful and fulfilling experience and the StoryNite on June 5th was high on the list of the best!
Pat Schieffer kicked off the May SASA Story Swap at Brook Hollow Library with ten-minute run down on how to initiate and encourage audience participation . This workshop was mainly geared towards participation by children in the audience and Pat did a good job of illustrating this with the help of a number of sing-along books for children. These 10-minute workshops are a monthly feature of SASA Story Swaps.
Veronica Gard commented on how the much-loved story of “Stone Soup” can be effectively told with the help of cut outs from magazines, catalogs etc.
A question was put to the storytellers by an out-of-town visitor: how can storytelling help Middle School and High School students to achieve life goals? An interested and active discussion ensued, with suggestions and comments given by Sue Kuentz, John Munley and Jane McDaniel.
Charlie Whipple then stood to tell a personal tale of an old friend, Robert Easton Burke and film star Jane Withers. Burke, brilliant in school, went on to become a Hollywood character actor and met up with Charlie after 40 years. A life well lived.
Veronica then wove her magic with a tale from Cornwall, from the westernmost tip of England: “The Mermaid of Zennor”, a story with beautiful, lyrical stanzas. Of course the mermaid fell in love with a fisherman, and he with she, and they are known today as the protectors of the fishing fleets, warning when storm as due.
Jane McDaniel stood to tell an old, old tale, of love lost and love regained, of a murder most foul, of a handsome knight and two princesses and a golden harp that talked.
Sue Kuentz rounded out the evening with an “Aloha” tale from Hawaii: How Mauie Lassoed the Sun. Haina lay on the beach, covering herself with a blanket belonging to a god and gave birth to a demi-god, Mauie. Mauie had a blind ancestor who served breakfast to the sun and who gave Mauie sixteen ropes. Mauie lassoed the sun, held tight and fought against its great strength to hold it. A compromise was struck: the sun would go slowly across the sky for six months (Summer) and quickly access the sky for six months (Winter). I didn’t quite get why Mauie had to strike a compromise with the sun as Sue had a short four minutes in which to tell, and this story was one of the fastest ever told.
April Story Swap at Brook Hollow Library, with a Mini-Workshop on “Beginning To Tell”
Jane started the April storytelling swap night with a 10-minute workshop on telling, story gathering, audience participation, storytelling etiquette, stage command, and core truths of professional telling. There was a handout, and you could’a heard a pin drop all during the 10 minutes. As Sue said: “a 6-day course in storytelling, told in 10 minutes!”
Thanks for the compliment, Sue.
Then it went on to the stories; Carol Johnson brought part of her kamishi bai stage and told a riveting story of a young boy and a dragon - “The Dragon’s Tears”. We want to hear more of these from Carol!!
Judy Peacock stood to tell excerpts from her recently completed book of stories out of school: we laughed and laughed… want to read that book when it’s published.
John Munley, he of the recently acquired Irish accent, told a great Scottish story of a wily 4 ft. 7 ins. fisherman who, to become the Knight’s man, solved three riddles. Turned out the Knight was the King. George was hired.
Séraphia, visitor from the New Braunfels Toastmasters, stood to hold us in thrall as she told of her first day in the USAF. Wow - that was some telling!!!
And, to top it all off…. Librarian Teresa Brader brought a story titled “Sody Salleratus ”, which she told with bravura and action. There was an old man and woman who lived together with a boy and a girl, and a pet squirrel which spent its time pacing the mantlepiece. A voracious bear and some baking soda was involved… suffice it to say that the squirrel saved the day and the bear coughed up the old man, the woman and the boy and the girl.
A great night. If you weren’t there, you missed it and you really ARE SQUARE.
Next time: Wednesday, May 1st, 6.30 - 8 pm, Brook Hollow Library on Heimer Road.
SASA storyteller Mark Babino took charge of the March story swap with a lively presentation of his mini-workshop, “Focus on Personal Story”. Interlaced with a host of examples, Mark took us from Story subject, through shaping the story, editing, writing, word choice to Ending and emphasized that building bridges within a story is crucial to its success. His fazit: “highlight all verbs in a story then get rid of 50% of them and replace with other words”. Good advice indeed, from aa extremely talented and experienced storyteller.
Leslie is a new member of SASA, hails from Canada and is an active, polished and questioning storyteller. Her story, “Watchers”, told of a widow woman with three daughters, each of whom asked for a loaf of bread to take on their travels. This was an interesting story, with some unexpected twists. Such as the mother offering to give the first daughter a whole loaf of bread with a curse, or a half loaf with a blessing. The same applied for the second daughter. The third took the half-loaf and a blessing, which came in really handy when she - like the others - met an old woman on the road. There was a corpse involved, two transformed and re-transformed sisters and a handsome young man. A story with twists and turns and Leslie mastered every one. Loved it!
Charlie Whipple stood and gave us a selection of stories titled “Canines and Plumbing Emergencies”. Charlie tells it like it is, twisted stories from his life’s experiences - fascinating and oftentimes funny to listen to - always entertaining.
Jane gave us a new/old story from the Celtic treasure trove of stories; “Sin and King Muirchertagh”. This was a tale from way back of revenge taken cold and well, via fire and battle. We need to hear more of these ancient Celtic tales.
John Munley had another neighborhood story - growing up Irish Catholic, in close proximity to an Italian neighborhood, he developed a friendship with the doughty Signora Gianfranconi, a fount of Italian Strega Nona stories. One: Nona employed a certain Anthony to help her make pasta - he heard her tell the pot “pasta pot, boil and make me pasta”. Which he tried when she left him in charge of her kitchen. He invited the town to dinner, there was never-ending pasta… but it soon spread all over town, down the streets, over the houses, through gardens and cemeteries…Anthony was frantic. Nona returned and breathed three times on the pasta pot, which silenced the process. Anthony never ate pasta again.
Yep. It was a GOOD night. We had 26 listeners/tellers and a good time was had by all.
Next StoryNite will include a mini-workshop by Jane, titled “Beginning to Tell”, and stories, tall and true, are guaranteed. Be there: Wednesday, April 3rd, 6.30 to 8 pm at Brook Hollow Library on Heimer Road. Or: BE SQUARE!
It was a great night of Storytelling! We had three visiting storytellers, two of them from Texas Library Association, and one from Canada!
Plus three wonderful children who are writing stories and came with their parents to see how oral storytelling works. We had a delightful time talking with them and learning more about their projects and stories.
Lesley, from Canada, told an excellent version of a Jack tale that had been re-written for three sisters. Peg, the youngest … and ugliest, used her wit to outsmart a witch and a king to eventually get happiness for everyone (except the bad witch, of course!).
Veronica followed with Jack and the Farmer. Jack seemed to be hopelessly destined for folly until he made just the right mistake which delighted the Farmer’s daughter. This story had a good ending too!
Carol Johnson told a Kamishibai story about two mice who find true love, while searching for strength.Carol’s lovely wooden Kamishibai box and beautiful hand drawn story pages are a rare treat to experience. We received Carol’s gift gratefully. Visit this link to learn more about Kamishibai https://www.google.com/search?q=kamishibai&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLjPHl37ngAhUQjq0KHenqDbUQ_AUICSgA&biw=1440&bih=763&dpr=1
Teresa from Leon Valley Library entertained us with Sody Salleratus which she enlivened with song and dance! This was a time when a squirrel did something good and made sure this story had a good ending!
Susan concluded the evening with a ghost story, using her beautiful style of bringing out details of the senses in her stories. She told about Addie and Theodore, and true love that lasts forever.
Exciting news!! San Antonio Storytellers Association (SASA) is going to begin conducting mini workshops at each monthly meeting.
· Mark Babino will lead the workshop on March 6th. He will teach storytellers some basic tools and techniques about how to build good stories.
· On April 3rd, Jane McDaniel will share handouts and good information about telling stories.
“How To Tell A Story"
- Where do we find stories?
- Getting down to work
- Core Truth 1
- steps to telling A story
- learning the plot, then the words
- Making the story one's own
- core truth 2
- zooming in on the audience
- getting comfortable on stage
- delivery versus performance
* Having fun, telling!
San Antonio Storytellers Association (SASA) meets to share stories every 1st Wednesday of the month.
Brook Hollow Library 530 Heimer Rd, San Antonio, TX 78232
SASA January Story Swap - we were few but WE WERE MIGHTY!!!!
Our fearless leader, Sue Kuentz, kicked off a totally enjoyable night of stories at Brook Hollow Library with a telling of an old Hasidic story… one which we have heard before in other versions - Story And Truth. Once upon a time…… there was an old, bitter woman who was scorned in every village, until she met a handsome man on a black stallion, who wore a black, and flowing cloak……
John Munley had also braved the weather to come and tell at the library and he stood to tell us of “The Gannon Years”. John worked as a delivery boy for Gannon’s Pharmacy in a small N.Eastern town with two competing Catholic Churches: St. Mary’s (the Irish) and St. Anthony’s (the Italians). There he made the acquaintance of the formidable “stregas” (John’s word), the formidable Italian mother-in-laws, who rule the roosts in the kitchens of Italian homes. In contrast to the cabbage and pork cooking smells of an Irish kitchen, in which he grew up, the Italian was a sumptuous feast for the nose of ravioli, pasta pancetta, tiramisu, spaghetti, tomato sauce laced with thyme and basil, and clams cooked in lemon sauce….. Mama Gianforto and her table full of home made pasta was at fault.
(…and I got a little carried away there, with the Italian cuisine…)
Susan Whipple always has a twist on a personal tale, and her story this time involved some very hot jalapeños, Texas BBQ and the island of Sicily.
(You had’ta ‘ave been there.)
Jane stood to tell an old, old story of Mont St. Odile in Alsace and how it got its name. Once Hohenberg, on the flat upper Rhine plain, it was given to a girl called Odile by her Landgraf father, Alaric, after Odile - born blind but by a miracle now sighted - was chased by an angry Alaric and Odile, caught between him and his hounds and the sheer face of that 1000 ft high mountain, implored the mountain to open up - which it did and swallowed her. Alaric was converted as she reappeared and gave her the mountain and land around it to build a convent and a hostel for the blind.
(And that’s how to tell a story backwards.)
She is St. Odile, patron saint of the blind. Jane has spent many an Easter Night as a pilgrim at the hostel on Mt. St. Odile, where time has stood still.
Charlie Whipple, poet extraordinaire, stood to tell us about grunnions, tiny fish, which come in onto the beaches at high tide to lay their eggs, which is turn become tiny fishes at the next high tides and can be seen only at night. Of course there was poetry, or in this case limericks - which, with a word like grunnions was not easy. (No, they’re not onions with a grudge….) Grunnions, onions, bunions…. Charlie had us in stitches. Three more followed: “Turkey and Yams”, “A Safe Cracker named Greg” (yes…keg), and “Winter Sunset”.
Karen Archer rounded out the evening with an aching beautiful Native American story, “The Star Next to The Moon”. A story of friendship and redemption, and perfectly told for our first Story Swap of 2019.
If you weren’t there - you really missed it this time.
See y’all on the first Wednesday of February, 6.30 - 8 pm: Brook Hollow Library.
Be there or be square.