Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bite Your Tongue

In show business you wish someone luck with a “break a leg”. In story telling you tell them “bite your tongue.”

We were at the Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival this past weekend. Cape Girardeau’s motto is “Where a river turns a thousand tales”, so it was appropriate that they should be hosting such a festival.

Chuck Martin who heads up the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau came up with the idea for this first of what they hope will be many such festivals when he went to Jonesborough, TN to the National Storytelling Festival which attracts over 10,000 visitors from around the USA. There he met several nationally known story tellers and brought them to Cape Girardeau.

Martin wrote in the city newsletter, “I grew up in a small town in a time when there were no cell phones, no computers, no pagers, no e-mail, no Internet. The TV was a black and white and offered three fuzzy channels and was seldom watched. I grew up in my grandparent’s backyard. In looking back, I now marvel at the nightly ritual that took place. My parents and grandparents visited each evening with their neighbors to the right and left. They were outside actually having conversations face to face with other human beings. We didn’t have text messaging, but we did have the Davie Street grapevine. And the stories flowed freely and richly each evening.”

For three days this past weekend, the Cape reinvented those backyard days with a mixture of stories from nationally known and Midwestern storytellers. We hope to return as the festival will undoubtedly grow.

By coincidence, as I was scanning my numerous newsletters this past weekend, I learned that McCook, NE is holding their Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival the weekend of May 30th. If you are nearby, you ought to go.

I’m going to be monitoring storytelling. This could be a trend that has some legs with the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers. Stay tuned.

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