Saturday, September 17, 2016

It's a Blue Ribbon --and that's the truth!

Indiana State Fair Liar’s Contest – by David Matlack

Part of me is morally opposed to storytelling contests. Contests determine winners and losers, and I believe that when a good story is well-told, there are no losers, only winners. But I understand the appeal of liar’s contests, and they are a great way to introduce audiences to storytelling and that great American art form, the tall tale.

So putting my ambivalence aside, I pulled out my best tall tale and headed up to the Liar’s Contest at the Indiana State Fair. August 7th was opening night of the fair, and the state fairgrounds were packed. A steady crowd was filling the seats at the Pioneer Village stage as I nervously signed up. It was good to see familiar faces. Ellen Munds, director of Storytelling Arts of Indiana, was ensuring a smooth event; and Celestine Bloomfield, retired school librarian and storyteller extraordinaire would be the emcee.

The contest was divided in to a youth division and an adult division, and Celestine alternated between the youth and us four adults taking turns on the stage. All of the children wrote their own stories, and while some did not quite grasp the finer elements of a tall tale, they all did an admirable job. Some were downright delightful. Among the adult stories, there were two fish tales. One was particularly well-crafted and well-told, but he evidently far exceeded the time limit and was severely penalized by the judges.

I am no stranger to state fair competition…as four time Wayne County 4-H horse and pony showmanship and equitation champion, the state fair was an annual August ritual. But I was always out-horsed and out-classed and I could do no better than third. This year, when the winner of the Liar’s Contest was announced, a blue ribbon at the Indiana State Fair was finally mine. But as I said above, there are no losers with good storytelling – everyone in attendance, whether in the audience or on the stage, was a winner that night.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Plein Air Storytelling, or, The Guild Gets Out

While one of us was telling "Six Legged Stories" at the annual "Bug Fest" in Bloomington,

Another teller was masterfully entertaining groups at the New Harmony Arts and Music Festival.
And yet another storyteller was preparing to present tales for Cub Scouts out in the woods.

Summer is the time to take stories outside!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Brave people

“Sometimes, when you listen to a story, you get a new idea of what’s possible in the world.  I don’t mean just strange customs and faraway places – though you can learn a lot from those.  What I mean is that you can get a new idea of what’s possible for you –something you never thought of, or you never saw very much in real life.

 When I’m scared, I like to think about the brave people in stories I know.  And I think, Maybe I could be like that.”

--Susan Fletcher

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Wintertelling Coming Up


a time for telling warming stories

perhaps something that makes you think or wonder

perhaps something that brings a smile to your face

perhaps a time to tell secrets of the beings who sleep during the winter and so won't hear what you are telling about them

Time for the Bloomington Storytelling Guild's annual WINTERTELLING.  Gather with us at the Monroe County Public Library Auditorium on Friday, February 12 at 7:00 pm to listen to a collection of warm tales from our member tellers.

IF you are interested in telling, please email the Guild and also plan to bring your story to the AUDITIONS on Sunday, January 31, 3:30 to 5:00 pm at the Monroe County Public Library.

Cup of hot tea optional.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Do you wonder about fairy tales being "updated?"

Sometimes tellers feel that they mustn't change an old fairy tale.  Here's an interesting take on that from the book Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked.

" important thing...that most scholars failed to acknowledge until recently -- is that fairy tales change.  In fact, fairy tales have remarkable mercurial properties.  They adapt to the weather, to local fashions, and to the mindset of each new teller and audience.

They record regional cuisines and local hairstyles -- and of course, more important things. ... they catalog not only broad elements of human experience but also the particular details of each day and age.  They express our collective truths, even as these truths change beneath our noses.

And part of their magic lies in the fact that as they do they provide not only a glimpse into our present concerns but also a record of our past."

--Catherine Orenstein

Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Festival of Ghost Stories fades into history

Oh, we had a fine time at the Festival of Ghost Stories.
Sure, there were some (literally) cold feet -- and noses and ears, too. 
 But really the weather was just fine for the event.
The audience was wrapped up warmly and ready to listen to our tales.
 Stephanie welcomed everyone and got the evening off to an appropriately yucky start with the sort of urban legend that makes everyone go "eeewwww".
The stories followed-- some serious, some suspenseful, some ironic, some amusing, some just plain spooky -- and all entertaining.
I do hope you were in the audience since we didn't tape the telling this year.
And it was really worth hearing!

Thanks to : 
Monroe County Public Library
Bloomington Department of Parks and Recreation
the volunteers who poured the hot apple cider
and to
Barry Lively, for the photos!