So, when my mother (who is a professional storyteller, for those of you who didn’t know already) moved to Boston, she went out to find a guild/meeting/workshop of like-minded people. One of the groups she found and liked was Story Space, a group of storytellers that host an open mike and featured teller every Tuesday night. And they do mean every Tuesday. My mother had been asking me if I would like to come with her for a while now, seeing as how I’m a writer and do enjoy myself a good storyteller, and I had kept putting her off because I just didn’t know how I was going to fit another thing into my schedule.
But last night was their 20th Anniversary Concert. Mom promised that all the tellers would be good (they were) and that she would cover my ticket. How could I say no? That’s how I found myself in a church in Harvard with a very eclectic mix of people (a good assortment of young ones, I was happy to note) and some quite good storytellers.
I could bore you with details about all the stories told, but it really wouldn’t be doing them justice. They are meant to be told aloud, and trying to parse them down to the page would demolish them. So for the content of the stories, suffice it to say they seemed to only take up an hour and a half instead of the three we were actually sitting there, which can only be a good sign. As for the ‘tellers who were present, my personal favorites were Kevin Brooks, Mike Cohen, Michael Anderson, and Jay O’Callahan. Especially Jay. His excerpted scenes from “Main Street, Jonesborough” were so incredibly powerful.
But the main reason I’m writing on this event is because of the man who was absent. Brother Blue is the man who founded the group in 1992 and passed away two years ago. The group is going strong, mainly because the quirky traditions and love of story that he instilled in them. A lot of the things that were said this evening resonated particularly strong, especially as I am starting to move into hard-core world building for my next novel which will deal quite heavily with storytellers and the imagination.
It appears he had a whole philosophy equating stories with religion, how stories are the language of prayer, and every time you tell a story you should imagine yourself telling it to God. Considering the track of my next novel, I have decided that I must delve more into the life and performance of a man who made stories his religion. It probably won’t come as a shock that he went to graduate school for religion and theater, and carried a doctorate from Yale.
So, I have decided that I need to learn more about this man who passed before I could get to know him. Thankfully, his legacy lives on in an incredible community of ‘tellers.