- Born in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, I am a genuine Florida Cracker--a descendent of sturdy women and men who farmed their way south from North Carolina in the early 1800's. I am a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Social Science, and earned an MA in Education/Storytelling from East Tennessee State University. My work is deeply influenced by a love and reverence for the natural world and environmental issues and my love of story. Performance Photos by Valerie Menard, Silentlightimages.com.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Fall is almost here and I'm eagerly looking for signs of color. Goldenrod was already in first bloom in Gatlinburg's higher elevations last month and now it is in bloom here in the foothills. A flock of geese (or is it gaggle?) flew over twice this past weekend, making me think of home, back in Florida. We had some geese who made the lake at Blairstone Forest inTallahassee their year-round home, and every morning at 7am they flew over my house. How could I not smile at hearing them, even on a Saturday when sleeping in was the plan? That same smile came to my lips when I heard them this time, too.
I gave the meditation and message of inspiration at the Unity Church in Johnson City yesterday, September 7, adapting Thich Naht Hahn's Consider the Leaf from Peace is Every Step. My old friend from Big Bend Hospice, James Brooks, gave me the book when I left my work at the hospice and every now and then I return to it; always, there is something new in the pages and so it was this time. Adapting the meditation to this present place brought us into the space together and I left refreshed and nurtured as I hope those sitting with me did as well. For inspiration, I shared a story that will be on my CD, I Am the Bottle, which is about an artesian well at the bottom of an ancient sinkhole. I went there often as a young person, and even now, as with the geese fly-over, the memory of it takes me back to a secret place of spiritual nourishment and peace.
I continue interviewing Appalachian storytellers for my book, Riding the Clouds and I am also working with a woman to write her life story. I told a personal narrative, the Emerald Forest, September 1 at the Cranberry Thistle in Jonesborough, and September 16th I will MC the Jonesborough Storytelling Guild storytelling event at the Cranberry Thistle as well. Also on the 16th, I will tell stories at Elmscroft Assisted Living Community in Kingsport at 2pm.
Things heat up considerably in October beginning with the pre-festival concert October 1st in Jonesborough; I will MC in the afternoon at the Swapping Grounds Saturday, October 2nd. October 16-17 is the City of Johnson City Pioneer Days sponsored by Parks & Recreation, where I will tell era-appropriate tales in the cabin at Winged Deer Park the 16th (dressed in pioneer garb), and at Sycamore Shoals the 17th as part of the event.
October 18th, I will be in Kingsport, Tennessee for the Kingsport Arts Council's Art for Kidz event, singing and telling the Weaver's ballad that I wrote, using the ballad to teach the children the fine art of weaving stories out of their everyday lives. The Weaver's guild will be there teaching weaving on mini-looms.
Write your Memoir, Tell your Story is the topic of a workshop I will give at the Jonesborough, Tennessee Library October 25th, and I will tell scary stories at the Witch's Wynd at the Exchange Place in Kingsport the evening of October 25th and 26th.
October 31st, this show will be on the road, heading for Chapel Hill, North Carolina, sharing Dot Jackson's ethnographic story. Dot's story inspired Riding the Clouds and how she came to write her award-winning novel, Refuge, is perfect for a literary afternoon on Halloween at McIntyre's Bookstore. November 1st, also in Chapel Hill, I will tell the Havana Chronicles at a house concert, with an opening act presented by storyteller and yoga teacher, Jean McKinney. Jean has been instrumental in putting this tour together (thank you!) and we are still negotiating on a couple of other venues which I will post at a later date.
That's it for now - Happy Storytelling!