Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Whining in Harmony

Everybody's a baby about something, you know?
"Don't tell me that the shine is shining.  I don't care because I'm too busy whining!"
Bill Harley began the Jordan-Miller Storytelling Program presentation with song. (Wednesday, 1:00 pm.)  Either we tell stories ... or we want to.  Either we sing ... or we want to.  And "story and song are just part of what culture is" claims Bill Harley, because "they are expressions of being human and using the tools we have as humans to express ourselves."

In A Hero With a Thousand Faces, Bill Campbell tells us that it is the same story, the 'hero myth' over and over again.  Think Star Wars, Wrinkle In Time, Wizard of Oz. Someone is called away to a different world, he/she passes a test and brings it home. 

These were some of the stories and philosophies Bill Harley shared with his audience.  He was brought up in a home of books, having a mother who wrote for My Weekly Reader and a father who edited law books. He began his love affair with poetry when he became bored and looked through his own home library and began reciting Robert Services, The Creation of Sam McGee. And so began a career of storytelling and The Ballad of Dirty Joe.  
Out upon the briny deep where the wild and wet winds blow,
There sailed a cruel and evil man, the pirate Dirty Joe.
He sailed upon the scummiest craft that ever left the docks
He roamed the world and seven seas in search of dirty socks.
You can read the entire ballad on Bill's website.  You can read the picture book, as well. 

Storytelling is not rocket science.  It is getting near the listener with the story and pictures in our head.  He recommends a book called Ten Twelve Tales by Celia Barker Lottridge.  Rhyme, rhythm and repetition are all very important ingredients for storytelling.  We can all do it if we just relax and tell the story starting with the small ones.

You can read Bill's blog or visit his website

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