Tonight I listened to the story The Mayor of Mitchell garden told by Danny Lobell for the Risk! podcast. This was a story about his time working at a retirement home as the person who kept tabs on the kosher kitchen. I liked his style of storytelling, though I don't know that I would adopt it for myself. This story was more of a fond recollection story than one that had a point or a moral to it. He told it well, and you could tell in his voice that he really did care for those people. That is what made the story enjoyable for me. I liked that instead of describing the people, as in how they dressed, what color hair they had, etc, he told about who they were as people- the mean old man, the WW11 veteran. He helped us see them through the stories they told him and the things they did. He told enough detail without overburdening you with too much flowery speech. I like flowery speech, don't get me wrong. But like everything, flowery speech has a time and a place. I also liked how it felt firmed up without feeling rehearsed. It didn't feel like he was telling the story for the millionth time, though that might have been the case.
It also didn't feel like he was reading. One thing that brings me out of a story anyone is telling is when it is stilted and sounds like it is being read. Even if someone is reading a story to me, I want it to sound like they are talking to me, not reading to me. In storytelling that feels very unprepared and unprofessional. If you are going to do this you need to learn how to go without the notes. Yes, that does sound harsh. But storytelling is a performance art. If that person was a professional musician we would expect them to take hours and hours to practice the piece, to be able to play it without stumbling, or at least be familiar and comfortable enough with the piece to be able to hide stumbles. We forgive them the music on the stand, but still expect a practiced performance. I recently listened to a story telling podcast where all of the storytellers (supposed professionals) sounded stilted and like they were reading to a child. I might give them a few more episodes, but seriously, don't present them as practiced if they are not. I can forgive a newbie or someone still getting their feet under them to struggle with that still, but someone who should know better? I will expect no less of myself, which is why I will be recording myself telling stories and listening to them. I have not yet found anywhere in Eugene that does this kind of storytelling. They do children's storytelling at the library on some Saturday mornings, but that is all I have been able to find. Maybe after I get myself going a bit more I will see about possibly organizing a group here.
OK, that is enough about that for now. I spent my hour listening and analyzing. It looks like the voting is still going on at the Douglas Adams Video Contest, so if you feel up to going over there and giving me a vote or two I would appreciate it. The judges will compile a long list of final candidates on April 30th. I am guessing that maybe that is the voting deadline? The rules are really too ambiguous. So if you go there and can vote, please do. If you go there and you can't vote, well, I appreciate the support.