Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Stories are important"

"...stories are important.

People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around.

Stories exist independently of their players. If you know that, the knowledge is power.

Stories, great flapping ribbons of shaped space-time, have been blowing and uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time. And they have evolved. the weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they have grown fat on the retelling...stories, twisting and blowing through the darkness.

And their very existence overlays a faint but insistent pattern on the chaos that is history. Stories etch grooves deep enough for people to follow in the same way that water follows certain paths down a mountain-side. And every time fresh actors tread the path of the story, the groove runs deeper.

This is called the theory of narrative causality and it means that a story, once started, takes a shape. It picks up all the vibrations of all the other workings of that story that have ever been.

This is why history keeps on repeating all the time."

Terry Pratchett, 1991

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Festival of Ghost Stories

As the leaves flew off the trees on the last Friday in October, storytellers and audience gathered in Bryan Park for the annual Festival of Ghost Stories.

Temperatures dropped rapidly as night fell, but the audience was enthusiastic for chilling stories.

We heard from some new voices this year and some new stories from familiar tellers.

Cats (Community Access Television) of the Monroe County Public Library did film the event and as I understand it you can call and request a copy of the program (349-3111).

It was quickly too dark to take many pictures of the tellers, and the audience were just shadows huddled on the hillside.

You'll find a review at Thanks, Jessica Williams, for taking the time to write about us!

And many thanks to this year's coordinator, Stephanie!

Hope to see all of you next year for another evening of spooky and supernatural tales!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Annual Festival of Ghost Stories

Are you ready? The Annual Festival of Ghost Stories

Friday, October 28

7:00 to 8:30 pm

Outdoors at Bryan Park

This concert of scary and supernatural tales is performed by members of the Bloomington Storytellers Guild and sponsored by:

The Monroe County Public Library (also the rain site)


Wear warm clothes! Bring a chair or blanket to sit on!

NO young children, please!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Festival of Ghost Stories coming up

The time approaches for the annual Festival of Ghost Stories.

Do you have a scary story to tell?

Something eerie and unusual?

Auditions are coming up on Monday October 17th at the Monroe County Public Library (one of our co-sponsors for the event).
Email the Guild for more information!

Your audience is waiting....

Friday, September 30, 2011

Are you missing emails?

Sometimes our coordinator can't read your handwriting.

Sometimes our coordinator can't read her own handwriting.

Sometimes she even loses the little scrap of paper with your email address on it.

If you want to stay connected to the Guild and you are NOT getting emails, please please please email the BSG at

And forgive the rapidly aging coordinator for losing your email the first time.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And we're off!

Another storytelling season has begun!

New folks welcomed, our next meeting planned, a focus found for the year, requests for tellers coming in, and our annual Festival of Ghost Stories coming up -

The time will race by!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Let the Season begin!

The Guild is planning its menu for the coming storytelling season.

Up first:
The appetizer!

Our first meeting of the fall,

Thursday, Sept. 22

5:30-7:00 p.m.

Monroe County Public Library Room 1-A

Come join us if you are interesting in learning about the Guild!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Spoken Word Stage at 4th Street

There were crowds Sunday afternoon on 4th Street

for the Annual Festival of The Arts & Crafts.

There were four blocks of booths

featuring the work of fantastic artists.

And in the middle of one street there was a stage.

Well, sort of a stage. A microphone and speakers.

A set-up for a series of spoken word performances.

The Bloomington Storytelling Guild was one.

Patty started us off with an Irish tale.

There was a nice shade for the audience, although more stood than sat.

Many folks browsing the fair stopped for a minute to listen.
We loved the overcast sky that gave everyone a respite from the recent heat and sun.

Mary even led a cheer for the thought of rain later on, while her story took place in an African drought.

Josh had a snoring story from Sierra Leone in which one character managed to sleep - but no one else did!

There was a tandem tale from Ginny and Dana - in which there was "No News".

Stephanie gave the audience a little voodoo, and wrapped everything up with a drop of honey.

After the formal tellings, the stories continued as they often do.

Monday, August 29, 2011

See you at the Fair

This coming weekend is the annual Fourth Street Festival.New this year: The Spoken Word Stage at 4th and Dunn.

Come hear a few Guild members telling stories on Sunday at 12:20!

(images from 2010 Festival)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In Print

The new issue of "Bloom" is out -There's a lot to read in this anniversary issue!

Be sure to check out page 61:
Thanks to Stephanie and Mary for giving readers a glimpse of our group and thanks to the tellers who gathered to be photographed one evening after work.
Enjoy your copy of Bloom, and if you are reading our blog and want to join us in our various activities, please
email the Guild at:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Song as Story

A song ain’t nothin’ in the world but a story just wrote with music to it. —Hank Williams, Sr.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The True (not magical) Secret

"What is this mysterious art?

Is there really a magical secret to learning and telling a story that only a few can discover?

I think not.

In my experience with several hundred storytelling students, I've found that nearly everyone can tell an acceptable story." "As for being an outstanding storyteller, that is a different matter, for storytelling is like other arts: in order to be truly great, you almost have to be born with that inner talent. How do you know whether or not you have it? Only by working on some stories and telling them to an audience.

But, to repeat, almost everyone who takes the time to learn can become a competent storyteller."

from: Handbook for Storytellers, by Caroline Feller Bauer.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Get them to JUMP

"Use different inflections of voice to add moments of fear or excitement to your story. In general, tell a story with intensity and direct contact.

At a certain point in the story where you know that the victim or person in the story might let out a scream - break your intensity with a sudden shout or scream.

With proper timing everyone listening will literally lift about two inches off their seats."
--from "Campfire Stories" by William Forgey, M.D.

Demonstrated by Stephanie at the library's "Summer Scaries" program.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Storyteller in Motion

"...there do seem to be certain places in a story where simple gestures can effectively enhance an action being described or can clarify a meaning..."

(Ramon R. Ross in "Storyteller")

The audience listening to Patty agrees that gestures definitely enhance the tale!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Blue Hole

"An interesting group of Hoosier place legends deals with bottomless lakes, a ubiquitous motif in American folklore. What may be unusual, however, is that several of the Hoosier bottomless lakes are named Blue Hole, a descriptive name suggesting a deep pool of blue water...

Often accompanying the bottomless lake motif in lakes named Blue Hole...are accounts of hidden treasure, enormous fish, giant montsters, lost buggies or wagons, wrecked automobiles, and especially derailed trains in the lake..."

From "Hoosier Folk Legends" by Ronald L. Baker

Monday, July 11, 2011

About the difference between folktale and legend

"The folktale (Märchen ) is with good reason distinguished from the legend, though by turns they play into one another. Looser, less fettered than legend, the folktale lacks that local habitation which hampers legend, but makes it more home-like.

The folktale flies, the legend walks, knocks at your door; the one can draw freely out of the fullness of poetry, the other has almost the authority of history...."

Jacob Grimm, in Teutonic Mythology.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

If you go for a walk with a librarian...

If you go for a walk by the lake with a librarian,

you will be reminded of a story.

and if you are reminded of a story,

you will have to tell that story.

And if you tell that story,

everyone will have a good time!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Summer Story Picnic

While certain wanderers roamed through Lower Cascades wondering where we were, our shelter house in Upper Cascades was all set up and waiting.

Soon our table was full of good food and fine stories about stories.

And we raised a fork in honor of those of you who missed this festive event!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Upcoming Summer Picnic and Story Swap

Celebrate the beginning of Summer with the Storytellers Guild! We'll be meeting at Upper Cascades Park on Sunday, June 26, from 5-7 pm. We'll be sharing picnic fare and stories. Families and friends welcome!
We'll gather in "The Lion's Den" shelter - you can't miss it as it is the only shelter in Upper Cascades.
Please send an email to the guild address if you are planning to attend.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

To consider when telling stories of Indiana history

"All the lives this place
has had, I have. I eat
my history day by day.
Bird, butterfly and flower
pass through the seasons of
my flesh. I dine and thrive
on offal and old stone,
and am combined within
the story of the ground.

By this earth's life, I have
its greed and innocence,
its violence, its peace.
Now let me feed my song
upon the life that is here
that is the life that is gone.
This blood has turned to dust
and liquefied again in stem
and vein ten thousand times.

Let what is in the flesh,
O Muse, be brought to mind."

From "Clearing" by Wendell Berry