Repertoire

TWO HUNDRED FIFTY AND COUNTING….

The Snow Queen ¦ A Song of Small ¦ Tristan & Iseult

My stories are from books for the most part, but some I heard first, rather than read.  Family stories are often like that, and a few folktales that have come to me first through listening have clung to me, insinuating themselves into my conversations and burbling up, demanding to be told by me.  The Loathly Damoiselle, or The Marriage of Sir Gawain and Lady Ragnall was the first, and Tristan and Iseult was another.

But mostly I read folktales, and fairytales and short stories, and if I laugh, or cry, or am made to think about something in a different way, and especially if all three happen in one reading, then I want to tell the story.

I find myself drawn to Asian tales, and African tales, and Inuit tales, and stories of strong women from anywhere, and long tales, and some very short tales.  I  don’t much like scary stories, but I have a couple of them too, one by Ursula le Guin, and one, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, that is too disgusting to fit into most storytelling situations ­ it wasn’t even relished at an adult Hallowe’en party.

I have stories that are ridiculous, and stories full of magic, and stories with tricksters in them, like Coyote, or Rabbit or Tyl Eulenspiegel.  I get mushy over love stories, and would cheerfully tell them at weddings every Saturday of the summer and spring, given the chance.  Medieval stories are delicious to me, but contemporary writers, such as Richard Kennedy, have captured me too.

I often want to tell a story for the images it presents.  Pictures such as a woman, trysting with her lover and wanting him to know she knows they are in jeopardy, dropping the wooden token, with which he had just summoned her to his side, into the spring at their feet, and saying “Why have you asked me to come, friend?”  I can see it fall from her hand, hear the soft splash; I watch it go under then bob to the surface, to float between them like their understanding of each
other.

Japan, Europe, Celts, Mongolians, seafaring folks, desert dwellers, I find my stories many places. I am fascinated by the paradox of revelation they give listeners, for they show us as similar from culture to culture, even while they show us how different we are one from another.

Some themes around which I have collected stories: friendship, the Pacific Rim countries, water, Canadiana, love, fabric arts and crafts, and most recently, the number 12.

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