Last spring about this time of the year, I was readying a story I have wanted to tell for years. Kevin Cordi came to Colorado for the Rocky Mountain Storytelling Conference and offered a Master Class as well based on his Permission 2 Play philosophy. The story – “The Lute Player.”
Kevin gave us permission to play with our stories. First we told a piece of them to one or two others, taking turns. Kevin asked leading questions to help us discover what we needed to play with in our stories. We went on to tell other bits and pieces to other partners.
Finally Kevin asked for volunteers to let him show everyone who was attending how to dig deep into the story we had chosen to play with. I was first and had no idea what to expect. What I discovered in the early exercises was the fact that the queen’s journey as the minstrel boy was a very important part of the story which is usually glossed over to some extent. So when the whole group helped me play, I was shown just how arduous and treacherous her journey was.
Back home, I thought about the story, the queen’s journey, the journey I've been on. And then this winter I had the opportunity to tell the story to an audience. The debut of my version of “The Lute Player.” My debut as a storyteller for adults in my new community.
Here is a sampling of what I found storytellers have said about the queen’s journey in various versions of “The Lute Player.”
1. The Queen traveled far and wide, disguised as a boy, playing her lute and singing as she went.
2. The queen played her lute and sang her songs for anyone who would offer her a ride -- whether by caravan or ship, and after many months she reached the land of the evil lord.
Here’s my version after being given permission to play with the story:
She traveled about, as a minstrel boy, here and there, singing for her dinner and a place to lay her head. At times she joined with other minstrels, but often she was alone. She never revealed her identity. Her travels were long and her travels were difficult. Many people were mistrustful as she would not explain where she was going or why.
Her clothes became worn and her skin brown, but still she traveled on. And wherever she sang, people listened. She sang of love and of longing. She sang of flowers in the spring and cool waters to rest beside. Those who listened never grew tired of her voice and commented that it was sweeter than a lark’s.
Kevin’s workshop is now in book form, published by Ted Parkhurst. Check it out! Thanks Kevin!