Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Story Changes a Life

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
-- Confucius

That Journey can be one of Change.  Change sometimes begins with a baby step.  A step outside one’s Comfort Zone. 

Four years ago this past September, I took that first step by inviting my daughter to accompany me to China to gather stories.  Then in April with my hand tightly clinging to my daughter’s we stepped out into the unknown.  Well, unknown to me.  Laura had been to China before which is why I was clinging to her hand.  We were going to China to gather stories!  Life changing – door opening…

Two years later on a solitary journey through the mountains of Colorado and across the deserts of the southwest, I felt a bigger change coming over me.  A change that required a giant step outside my Comfort Zone.  Another Leap of Faith.  Ever wonder what it would be like to reinvent yourself?  After an incredible four year journey, I can say it’s been worth the reinvention.  Growth has been phenomenal!  And I lay everything at the feet of Story and Storytelling.

The results of this journey have been an anthology of Chinese Folktales, Old China through the Eyes of a Storyteller, to be published by Parkhurst Brothers in May, 2012; the opportunity to help produce the Rocky Mountain Storytelling Conference in May, 2012; presentations at the Tumbleweed Festival in Abilene, TX, in October, 2010, Florida StoryCamp in March, 2011, LANES Sharing the Fire in March, 2012, and Northlands in April, 2012; attendance at the Global Storytelling Institute on the ETSU campus August, 2011; and to top it all off immersion into the world of Story including new friends throughout the Storytelling World and work finding me through avenues that had not been paying off until now.  Amazing , remarkable, wonderful …

Robert Frost tells the story best in his poem The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What's Next?

I am developing a program for upper grade elementary and middle schoolers on the value of writing.  The program will include information on how the publishing business works, and why it is so important to do your “homework” since luck is usually made it doesn’t just happen. 

Maybe you’re wondering why I choose to write an anthology of Chinese folktales.  Well, China entered my home early in my life when I was a youngster in the form of a tall, handsome woman who had been my mother’s best friend in nursing school.  Edith lived her life in China as the daughter of missionaries.  She would visit us every other year, tell us stories and bring my sisters and me little gifts from China – I still have some of them. 

During my life, my interest in China has been piqued several times - after Edith mysteriously vanished and no longer came to visit, trying to learn how to use chopsticks in sixth grade when we went to a Chinese restaurant as a field trip, when my grown daughter visited China to learn about indigenous medicine.  So when I was invited to travel to China in April, 2008, after careful deliberation and conversations with my daughter, I decided to go.  How glad I am that I did!  It changed my life.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Back Home in Colorado

Back home in Colorado the end of June. Deadlines for expanding the Anthology of Chinese Folktales kept me busy all summer! And now it will be a reality this coming spring. Details as they are available will be posted!
But here's what I can tell you now.
The manuscript almost doubled in size as I added new stories, revised and researched.  Librarians love doing research; so I was having a ball.  Luckily from my desk I could relax by looking out on my garden from time to time.  The pinyin glossary was finished by my new friend Li Kuo - what a joy!  Huang Sky wrote such a wonderful Introduction.  And this week I finish up the gathering of endorsements, questions and pictures of yours truly to use for publicity.  It's all coming together.

Oh, and those grandkids I left back in Florida?  Well, they moved to Denver so we see each other every month!  They were testing out some of my stories last winter.  The oldest already has his favorites.  We taught a special song to the kids at the library before I left.  Storytelling is in the blood and will be alive and well for another generation.
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