Personal and family stories matter. A lot. Properly remembered and preserved they can show us where (and who) we've been. They can serve as guides to the future. They can include and honor our intergenerational family too, both living and dead. Finally, they can also anticipate those to follow. Could we ask for a better way to help keep our daily struggles, triumphs and failures in perspective?
When stories of this type are shared, bonds are formed between teller and listener. Deeper understandings are forged. Marriages, friendships, families and communities all stand to gain. Could we ask for a better way to find common ground?
My first storytelling recording (1988) included a story called “GreenLeaf 14”. It was a personal recollection about the elders who populated the countryside near the old farmstead where I lived in college. In later work I focused on five generations of the Sander family in a commissioned story, “Fathers and Sons”; numerous stories about my own childhood; and now, many more stories regarding parenthood and marriage.
The stories in this show trigger a phenomena you've experienced before: Imagine you're asked to tell a joke. You can't. It's not that you're unable—you just can't think of one to tell. Someone else tells a joke instead—and no sooner do they start to tell it than you remember one, too. Or several. It's the same with stories. Once the floodgate opens, the stories emerge.
This program stands alone. Paired with a how-to workshop or my residency offering “Tell It Write," it becomes an ideal way to begin a unit of study on how to collect, create and tell your own stories.
Whether for student assemblies, groups of seniors, families or festivals, Life Is A Story has something for everyone.
Tell it Write
A teacher recently told me the jobs of tomorrow will demand of us many things we cannot predict—but three things that we can:
Tell It Write deals with the last two—and, as the title states, with acquiring writing skills.
If we want our children to learn to write, we must give them all the tools they'll need for the job. This program helps accomplish that. Its main claim is that we must base the move toward writing in already established (and pre-requisite) skills: namely, oral skills. By using orally told stories and this method, we slowly help children to “translate” their established (and growing) ability in speech into a written form.
This approach is firmly anchored in small group work, allowing students (and teachers) to be both tellers and listeners, writers and readers, to give and receive continuing (positive) feedback, as the back and forth flow from speaking to writing unfolds.
Inspiration and methodology for this offering goes to a marvelous book (and the author/storyteller whose wise insights inform it)—Writing as a Second Language by Donald Davis.
This is offered as a multi-visit residency, a shorter workshop in classes, or as a teacher training session.
Bob Sander, Storyteller | (317) 255-7628 | © 2004