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Choosing a Story to Tell

Important Information: Please Read Carefully

In preparation for Storytelling, here are the guidelines for choosing a story to work with during the course.

Select a Story:
Please select and bring with you the 2 copies of the written text of a story that you do not yet know and would like to learn to tell that takes 4 - 7 minutes to read aloud.

Please bring copies as you find them in written form, without transcribing them or changing them in any way as a starting point for our work. You will be adapting the story as we go through the class, yet you want to have a written record of how you found the story initially.

You will be working with the written text in multiple structured exercises over the 4.5 days. I will ask for the other copy so I can follow along with with your story and help you learn.

Your written version of your story will be the starting point for learning the story. As you learn in the first few exercises, you will very quickly be free from the text as you internalize the images and will be able to easily tell it without any written notes. Past participants have reported this to be a very freeing and confidence building experience.

Please choose a folk tale, fairy tale, legend, parable, teaching tale, or myth. Rather than a modern, original, or personal story, please select a story from world literature. Once you have learned what I teach in the class, you can then readily apply those skills to telling any contemporary story, personal tale, or your own writing.

Please read your story out loud and time it to be certain of the length. This is an important detail because on the first morning I will be asking you how many minutes your story takes to read aloud in order for us to choreograph the sequences of activities we will be doing. A two page story in 10-point type, single-spaced in a 6 x 9 inch book takes about 6 minutes to read aloud. If the story you want to work with is longer than 7 minutes, you can work with a shorter version or tell a portion of the story during the class.

It often takes reading a number of stories until you find the right one. This is all a part of the process leading up to the class. Once you start thinking about and looking for 'your story,' the process has begun.

You might enjoy making a trip to your local library and asking the librarian to direct you to the folktale section. Give yourself some time, start reading stories and enjoy the search. If you prefer to do this online, there is an incredible wealth of stories from around the world on the internet. This process is part of the class and the benefits will become more obvious to you by the time you start the seminar.

Find a story that is worthy of your time and something you will be able to tell on other occasions. It is not necessary to fall in love with every word or detail of the story, but it is useful choose a story you like, one moves you, is interesting, thought provoking, exciting or maybe somewhat mystifying. These stronger feelings about a story are often a good barometer of whether this is an appropriate tale for you to tell. The old stories often contain much more than is apparent upon first reading and they sometimes reveal their gifts in images, characters personalities, or dilemmas of the characters.

Sources of Stories:
Here is a sampling of books, an excellent journal, and web sites to provide you with some good possibilities:

Books:
There are numerous collections of folktales from every land in libraries, online, in new and used bookstores.Hawi'ian, Chinese, Japanese, African, Jewish, Northern European, Christian, Buddhist, Sufi, and Native American stories, to name only a few, offer a wealth of material.

The following books are vailable through your local library, bookstores, used book sellers, or online at Amazon.com

Pantheon Collections
Books with themes from different countries, religions, and cultures, including: “Yiddish Folktales,” "Folktales from India," “Russian Folktales,” “Japanese Folktales,” “American Indian Myths and Legends,” “Irish Folktales,” “Swedish Folktales and Legends,” etc. There is a great wealth of stories in these collections, over 20 volumes.

More Books:
"The Moon in the Well" by Erica Meade
"The Healing Heart for Families" by Allison Cox
"The Healing Heart for Communities" by Allison Cox
"Peace Tales" by Margaret Reed McDonald
“Folk tales from Around the World,” by Jane Yolen
"Gray Heroes, elder tales from around the world" by Jane Yolen
"Best Loved Folktales of the World" by Joanna Cole
"Stories within Stories: From the Jewish Oral Tradition" by Peninnah Schram
"Wonder Tales" by Heather Forest
"Wisdom Tales from Around the World" by Heather Forest
"Mirror, Mirror," folktales for Mothers and Daughters edited by Jane Yolen
"Ready to Tell Tales" by David Holt and Bill Mooney
"More Ready to Tell Tales" by David Holt and Bill Mooney
"In Full Bloom" stories about women in their prime by Sharon Creeden
"Fair is Fair" folk tales of justice from around the world by Sharon Creeden
"Once Upon a Mid-life" Classic Stories & Mythic Tales to Illuminate the Middle Years by Allan B. Chinen, MD
"In the Ever-After" Fairy Tales and the Second Half of Life by Allan B. Chinen, MD
"Beyond the Hero" Classic Stories of Men and Soul by Allan B. Chinen, MD
"The Robe of Love," secret instructions for the heart, by Laura Simms
"Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World" by Kathleen Ragan
“Soul Food” by Jack Kornfield

Parabola:
"Parabola" is a quarterly journal of myth, tradition, and the search for meaning. Each issue is devoted to a different theme and contains 2 - 4 very tellable stories from around the world (listed under Epicycles in the table of contents) reflecting the various topics stated on the cover. They are for sale at bookstores and health food stores, and can often be picked up at used bookstores. Parabola is also available online at www.parabola.org. I have found many excellent stories in this journal and highly recommend it as a good source of tellable tales.


Websites:
http://www.storybug.net/links.html
Generosity of Spirit: Myths and Folktales By Character Education Trait http://learningtogive.org/resources/folktales/trait.asp
Stories and Play Scripts http://www.storiestogrowby.com/choose.php
Folktales (Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, Myths, Legends) http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/folk.html

Your Ethnic Roots:
Some people like to select a story that comes from one of their countries of ethnic origin. Wherever your ancestors came from there were old stories told around a fire that provide a link to your own cultural heritage.

Research:
Before we begin the class, do some initial research about the culture from where the story originates including the images and symbols in the story and any information about the landscape and historic events around the story that you can uncover. Bring your notes on your research with you. Look up any words in the story that are new to you so you'll know what they mean as we begin together.

Why we don't use contemporary stories in this seminar:
We don't use personal stories or stories you have written yourself in this course for two reasons.

First, the material is 'close' to you and will tend to take the teller in a different direction than is the focus of this event.

Second, the old stories, (folk tales, fairy tales, etc. some thousands of years old) are rich in symbology, acchtypes, and a certain distilled wisdom that is usually not found to that degree in most contemporary tales.

After moving though the structured exercises and learning the processes with a traditional folk tale, fairy tale, legend, etc., you can easily apply them to stories you have written or contemporary tales.

When we begin at on the first day of this event, please be settled on which story you'll be learning so you will be ready to go.

Recap:
Find a story you like, 4 - 7 minutes read aloud, bring 2 written copies from the source where you found them, without transcribing or changing anything, as the story was where you found it.

Updated Febraury 22, 2017, © 2017 Lindagail Campbell

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