Squeaker is my new CD featuring sidewalk stories with a city twist. It makes great family listening. Give me an e-mail, and, for $15, I'll send you a copy. Scroll down to the February 8 blog entry for a description and a good picture.
We have been back a week and made our way through JFK with two wood marionettes sticking out of the top of our backpacks... Here's a link to the show created with the help of a grand director. ////////
In just a week or two, Nelson and I will be going to Prague to find out about making puppets and performing with them. Last year the Columbus Art Museum had a great exhibit about Czech puppets and their history. I went every week and looked at the exhibit and the great videos that accompanied it. After finding Leah and Mirak's site on the web (puppetsinprague.eu) , I was hooked. Now, it's just in the count down stage.
I've been practicing carving because all the puppets are carved out of wood....(definitely a new skill for me) and sketching characters, which is also a new skill. We can only make one puppet...so my ideas are either a baby or an old lady or a kind of tough gang girl.
After the puppets are carved, which will take 2 weeks, our group will work with a director and take the play out into the parks around Prague. The play is to be a take off on the the Three Pigs with some kind of wolf character involved. All the puppets worked on in the workshop are to be included.
This Saturday, I drove up to St. Mathias School where the Storytellers of Central Ohio were meeting. Attending meetings is difficult for me....I prefer lingering over coffee, over a game of solitare, lying in bed, listening to the radio, listening to Mark Meron's podcast or walking to the park with my daughter and granddaughter. That last part...walking to the park was actually on the table as an offer.
I haven't been to a SOCO meeting since before Christmas, but there they were plus 6 new faces. Lots going on for them...storytelling at the Historical Society, two shows, the downtown art festival, people asking for SOCO donations to their organization. I was delighted.
People together with a passion.....what could be more refreshing.
This summer I have been volunteering at the Columbus Public Library in their new section for kids who are 5 and under. Every week I've biked over, stuck my stuff in a locker, put on my volunteer id and sat in that area. For awhile I dreaded going because I didn't really have a designated purpose and felt like a lurker.
My volunteer boss told me that my job was to encourage parents to interact more with their children, but as a complete stranger, I felt awkward. I did bring bring, however, my notebook and whenever I felt especially awkward I wrote notes in the book.
I wrote down about Little Moma and Big Moma...two little cousins the same age. One was small and the other was big so everyone in the family made that special name for them. Little Moma, the only one of the duo I met, was being taken care of by her grandma during the day along with another cousin, a boy, who the grandma was raising. They came to the library because, "the parking's free for an hour and the library's free too."
It was the little boy whom I noticed as he roared through the toddler space and out again. I followed him because it looked like no one was with him, and I was worried. He was a wide satellite for his grandma because, after a time, I saw her and Little Moma walking away from the computers, past the fish tanks and the castle area in the middle of the library towards me and my space. The grandma settled in and after a few questions on my part she told me how that boy only just this year was discovered to have fluid in his ears and now, after the operation, he could hear. She also told me how many important people in his life, before they knew about his hearing, thought he was just being bad. The boy I saw had a ragged, unpredictable energy as he roamed the preschool space, jumping and climbing where he shouldn't. His grandma told me he would be going to a preschool where his behavior would be worked on. When Little Moma had an accident in her pants,however, he came over and told his grandma. Those were the first words I heard him say. She gathered up her group. I wanted to volunteer to watch her grandson while she went out to the garage to get some diapers, but I didn't. I hoped she would come back, but she didn't.
We've been in Texas for the past three months and just got back last week. Our daughter, Jessica, lives in Dallas and we thought we could find warm weather and have visits from her all in one. We did find warm weather, but Dallas is 5 hours from where we were, so we didn't get so many visits. I started a Youtube book blog while we were there, which just goes to show what happens when a person has time on their hands. The funny thing is that now that we are here, I don't feel I have the same kind of time to devote to making a book blog. (It's called You Said I Should Read More Fiction...I told that to Nelson, my husband because he reads mostly The Economist Magazaine. I thought reading fiction would do him some good.) I'm not quite sure why I feel that way. I do have the time, but here, where we really live for most of the year, some part of my brain feels it needs to do a different kind of work. I don't feel as relaxed here in Columbus. I'm thinking about why.....is it because we're not 20 miles out in the country, as we were in Texas? Here, we live in the middle of the city with a conventional back yard and city streets and cars going by and Ohio grey skies, which can do bad things to anyone's best intentions. Is that feeling the result of living most of my adult working life here, so my behavior reflects that work-a-day ethic? What's going on?
A few weeks ago I called up Wimberly's Montessori school and asked if I could come and visit and tell stories. Actually, I didn't call, I e-mailed the directoress, Renee. She gave me the go-ahead. What a delight. They have a 9-13 class, a 6-9 group and a 3 -6. I did some string stories and a spooky story for the big kids. Really I was just in each class for about 30 minutes, but such a nice place.
Afterwards, Nelson and I stopped at Linda's Fine Foods and had their three choice salad. Grilled cauliflower and broccoli was one choice. I can never pass that up. Afther THAT, we drove home and walked up the big hill behind Starry Nights, where we are renting. Once at the top, Nelson and I both fell asleep in the big swing up there, then I ran around the field at the top a few times.
Our car is parked in front of the little house we rented for three months halfway between Blanco and Wimberly, Texas. I just got in from looking out over the valley. I'm happy I did because it looks like it's clouding over. Last week was Frontera Fest in Austin and I performed on Thursday night. The Hyde Park theater is smaller than I remember. It's in a garage like structure. The whole fringe festival is so well organized. Take a look at their website. You can Google it with FronteraFest 2012. I didn't win the opportunity to perform in the best of the week. The group who won that was an improv group called Hand Bomb. They did an hilarious piece of Romeo and Juliet. Actually, they weren't my first vote, if I hadn't voted for myself. My first vote was to a group of three performing Cowboy from Corona. That short play, the rule was no more thant 25 minutes, was about a young woman working her way out of pergatory, which sounds not so good, I know, but it was.
It took us four days to drive from Ohio, but it was really worth it. We're near Wimberly on 25 acres, and today I faced my ever present fear of barking dogs, I think. The owners have two really nice dogs, but one is a barker. The property is wild and full of places to explore. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to do more climbing and not worrying about remembering the dogs' names as my one piece of power. Today the barker, named Bailey, found me and sniffed my head as I sat on a rock, and I felt trully triumphant. I am a person who will cross the street if I see a dog coming on a leash down the sidewalk.
I just posted a new video on my web site, on the About Sally page. This is the first segment of the story I'm hoping to do in Texas at the fringe. The whole thing is called Adventure and Romance: Not for the Faint of Heart. The story has changed some as I have tried to mesh everything into 25 minutes for the fringe, however. I'm surprised to look at the video now and see all I have cut to make it part of a larger piece.
Jess, our youngest daughter, is home now and there is still so much conversation about that time. She was a volunteer in Honduras. She's pretty emphatic that we should have called her before we gave the final thumbs down on our decision to stay or go. That would have been pretty hard though...on a cheap cell phone....from Africa.
I just finished In Arabian Nights by Tahir Shah. I was aware, when I started, that this book was to be about storytelling in Morocco, and I approached it wondering if it would be a dry collection of stories from a culture that I didn’t I have the tools to comprehend.
Right off I have to say that this book is trully about oral storytelling as in telling stories to other people who are looking at you and at whom you are looking. He describes the importance of oral stories in the past and to the future through his own personal storytelling journey.
Shah weaves his experience as a prisoner suspected of terrorism in a Pakistani torture prison, as a father, as a friend and as a son into his quest to find the story he carries within him. It was the nightmares and dreams after the Pakistani experience that propels the author further into the culture of his adopted homeland and further into the tradition of finding the story that is his own. Tahir Shah is not a man to leave a stone unturned and the search takes him into cafes, which only men can enter, to a city of storytellers, to the best storyteller in the country, to a sorceress and to a 500-year-old house in the city of Fes. As a reader, I followed his quest with my own heart, wishing to hear the voices and smell the smells about which he was writing.
As I said, he does under represent women. At one point, when their house is filled with village people ready to hear the story of the great teller he invited to live with him, his wife, who didn’t know the villagers were coming much less the storyteller, says, “When will this stop?”
Tahir Shah’s personal journey is told so honestly and with such curiosity and respect for the culture around him, that when I was finished I was glad the book was on my Kindle so I could revisit it any time.
Take a look at the blog entry called Made In China. It's Jan. 11 of '09. Nelson, my husband, is the chief comic drawer. He has been working on this for awhile. We have a lot of comics in the queue, but it takes him a long time to work himself up into enough of a frenzy to finish them.