Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On sharing stories

“There are many different worlds inside a city.  The world of the rich and the world of beggars.  The world of men and the world behind the veil.  The worlds of Muslims and of Christians and of Jews….
All the worlds touch at the bazaar.  And the other place where they touch is in stories…..

If we don’t share our stories—trading them across our borders as freely as spices and ebony and silk—we will all be strangers forever.”

--Susan Fletcher,
in Shadow Spinner.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wintertelling 2015

In cultures around the world, the long dark nights of the Winter season have been a traditional time for storytelling.  In fact, some stories in Native American traditions may only be told in Winter. And in keeping with these traditions, the storytellers of the BSG have gathered to tell stories every winter for the last twenty years.  We call our gathering "Wintertelling" and plan for early February when everyone is tired of cold and ready for some warm tales --some humorous, some serious, some familiar, some brand-new, all designed to entertain.  

This year the Wintertelling will fall on a Friday the 13th.  Shall we tell tales of luck and the capriciousness of fate?  It is Valentine's eve --shall we tell tales of love and lust?   In the cold of the season shall we tell appropriately frosty fables or switch to stories of sunshine?   You might hear any of these this year.  Come enjoy the evening with us:

Wintertelling 2015
Friday, Feb. 13
7:30 --9:00 pm
Monroe County (IN) Public Library

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A new storytelling group forming in Indianapolis

Here's the announcement:

We are a group of professional / serious storytellers who intend to form an independent Traditional Storytelling* Guild with the initial purpose of meeting once a month to work on traditional stories**; practice telling to the group, share constructive feedback and ideas.  There is no group like this that meets on a monthly basis in Central Indiana.  We will set meeting time, place and further activities based on the needs and interests of the group.
 If you are interested, please contact the guild facilitator,
Ken Oguss at TVOA@AOL.COM  or 317-938-8743

(*Traditional Storytelling here specifically means the art of speaking a recalled story as opposed to a story read aloud, or a memorized story told word-for-word.)
(** Classic, Traditional, Stories, Legends, Myths, Fables, Tall Tales, Folktales, Fairytales, Works of Fiction and Fancy, etc.  as opposed to personal or family life stories.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's not always a dark night...

We've told our ghost stories and supernatural tales around campfires,
in  quiet darkened rooms,
outside in the park as the sun set and night fell.
Here's an example of a another interesting setting for seasonal stories...
a mild and sunny, splendid October day,
a peaceful churchyard,
and a fine backdrop of brilliant leaves.
Perfect for slightly spooky but not too scary seasonal tales.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bring on the dark (and hopefully not stormy) night!

Great set of stories at the auditions - listeners are in for a treat at the Festival of Ghost stories.   We were sorry we couldn't use every story -- if you are not telling with us this year, please please bring a story back next year.

Now, everyone, get ready to come to Bryan Park on Friday, October 24, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. to hear a concert of truly entertaining scary tales!

Remember to bring a chair or blanket to sit on.
Remember to dress warmly.
Remember NOT to bring your little kids!  Content is definitely not appropriate!

Do bring your friends - it is good to have a warm body next to you while listening to chilling stories!

If you are a teller, remember to gather under the tree at 6:30.
See you all there!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


The annual Festival of Ghost Stories is a concert of seasonal stories on the Friday before Halloween.

What does that mean?

It means many different tellers, many different voices, and a variety of tales and tale types.

It means that the coordinator of the event has to put together a script in which each individual story fits together to make one entertaining evening for the listeners.

It means we can't all tell the same sort of "ghost story".

Fortunately there are lots and lots of types of appropriate stories:
the traditional "jump" story;
the scary urban legend;
the "true event that happened to ME "(or my friend);
the mysterious happening that makes you shiver and wonder;
the encounter with deathly danger;
the gross-out yucky detailed bloody tale;
the suspense hold-your-breath until the end story;
the warning about creatures to fear story;
the violent death resulting in haunting story;
the explaining why people fear something legend;
the making fun of ghost stories story....
and of course, many more.

We will think about the relationship of one story to another as we put together the script for the Festival.
For example, a really intense story might be followed by a lighter one,  a serious and thoughtful story by an active and lively one.
And certain types of story (like the sudden-scream-make-you-jump type) may be limited to one example only.

What sort of story are you preparing for this concert?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Storytelling Environment

If you read books on sharing scary stories, or if you go online and look for websites with suggestions for telling scary stories, you will almost always find advice on "controlling the environment".  You'll get great advice about dimming the lights or building a campfire or creating a spooky atmosphere. You'll be told about eliminating distractions and about making eye contact with each audience member.

HOWEVER - at the Festival of Ghost Stories in Bryan Park you will have to work with a very different setting.
You are in the park, and the park is dark - but you are on stage.

Go on, go up those steps and on to the stage.
There is an audience out there in the dark - can you see them?
Once you are standing on stage under the bright lights you probably won't be able to make out many folks beyond the front row. 
Can they see you?
Well, the lights are on you, and there's a back drop behind you,
so certainly the closer audience can see you. 
Maybe they can catch your expressions and gestures from half way back.

But look where people are setting up their chairs and blankets.
They are waaay up the hill.
You are going to be a tiny silhouetted form up there on stage.
They will hear you - you have the microphone.
It can be a really effective storytelling environment.
Just not an intimate one.

Think about this when you pick out your story.