Diamond in the Rough: Finding and Polishing that Perfect Story


By Sue Kuentz

Listening to the diversity of stories shared by members and visitors of our San Antonio Storytellers Association monthly gathering at the Brookhollow Public Library brings out the best in me as a storyteller. From 6:30 - 8:00p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month, everyone is drawn to hear an array of tales ranging from Cowboy poetry, personal tales, traditional folktales and fairy tales, to outlandish tall tales and fantastical stories that couldn't possibly happen (or could they?). I feel at home with this group of tellers and listeners because every story is a work in progress - constantly being cut and polished revealing that diamond in the ruff. 



Our brains are wired for stories - that's how we communicate and make  emotional connections to understand our surroundings and new knowledge. Here's a few ideas and resources that have always worked for me when it comes to finding, cutting, and polishing a tale:

1. Personal tales - Talk to family members to recall those poignant moments in your life that you'd like to share through a story. Keep a small paper notebook or digital notebook with you always to jot down common phrases and idioms that you definitely want to include. (Take it from me, if I don't write them down within five minutes of hearing them quoted, they're out of my brain forever.)
2. Folktales, fairy tales, tall tales, legends and myths - You can discover an infinite amount of these tales in the 398.2 section of your local library. Find a comfortable chair, read through those tales that appeal to you, and you'll find that perfect one that makes you want to read it over and over again! Eventually, you'll close the book, and retell that special story in your own words.
3. Cowboy Poetry - You can find cowboy poetry in the 811 section of your library and online. It's fun to watch some of the cowboys in action through Youtube. This should give you enough inspiration to write your own story poem to present!
4. Facebook, Blogs, podcasts,  websites, videos, 
oh my! - Stories galore live in the world online - thank goodness! - You'll find and bookmark your favorite places to visit when it comes to stories but stop by our SASA website first. We have many fine storytellers who share their favorite tales, websites,  and blogs. 

Here's a few of my favorites:

San Antonio Storytellers Association Facebook - great way to stay in touch  and watch for our current events and special Youtube videos of our storytellers' tales.

Storytellers Facebook - Fantastic site to visit with storylovers from around the world. Blogs are mentioned, stories are offered, questions are proposed, events are posted! 

Sean Bulava's Website: Great audio resources
http://www.storyteller.net- podcasts, book resources, tellers, articles, discussions - great resources!

Gutenburg websiteThousands of folktales, fairytales, myths, and legends in print - copyright free.

Karen Chance's Blog- "Catch a Storybug" blog is a fantastic site because Karen has placed her story resources in theme categories which makes it easy to find a tale based on a season, holiday, or subject of interest.

We'd love to hear from you through comments. What are some of your favorite resources you use for storytelling? What types of tales do you prefer to tell and why? Do you have any questions regarding our San Antonio Storytellers Association? 


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