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Saturday, July 14, 2012

NSN 2012 Conference

That's the motto of the National Storytellers Network.  The national conference is a great way the organization meets that goal. The conference's end is closest and freshest in my mind so I'll start there.  Agreed to host TimeSlips with Liz Nichols.  Why?  Meant I couldn't leave early as it was the last workshop.  Ah, but I was meant to become excited about this way of working with dementia patients.  Have a place where I've been and can't wait!  They'll be a great place to try it and learn.  To learn a bit more, go to the Healing Story Alliance's article on the process.  They are a Special Interest Group of NSN.

  • Yes, Bill Harley's Sun. speech was a fine way to get us moving on after the conference -- Loren Niemi's poetic response gives you a taste of it, too.  (There are plans to post parts of the conference and probably the daily keynote addresses will be posted.  Bill Harley's conclusion was a great send-off.)

Bill Harley Calls for Revolution (by Loren Niemi)

We went astray he said, missed
the boat, lost the thread, got caught up
in one particular model that embraced
the tent and platform rather than
diversity and intimacy in all its messy forms.

It is time to recognize the Mecca
is just a small Tennessee town,
that hitched it's star to our labors
but not to our art. Our art was
and remains a means to an end.

The time has come of admit
that we have been lied to, that
social media will not bring us more
but empties us as we spend time, even
the time it takes to write or read this.

In the back of the room I raise
my metaphorical clenched fist
for this is the call to revolution,
to turn our hearts to what must be
painfully and joyfully done.

Right on, brother. Let us embrace
story as an intimate act of creation
shared in an uncertain time, as gift,
as calling, as prophecy, as witness,
as life changing as our real work.  

  • Full conference group sessions concluded with "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" It still plays in my mind right along with remembering the wall where we posted our historical events.  Renee Englot said Storytellers of Canada always open with their history.  Added Chuck Larkin's death to the wall.  (Same weekend as Ray Hicks.) More history additions are wanted.  I'll add from the viewpoint of people here in Michigan, sending it to on to NSN.  The organization is gathering that history of festivals, people, and other events.
  • Had great response to my tale at Yvonne Healy's Ghost Story Swap.  Next day a person found me and still had shivers!  Our Storytell list swap was fun with our part of the storytelling family (the whole conference is a family reunion, even if you meet for the first time).  Some at that swap took one of the Mark Wilson photos I brought to share, but I'm going to follow this post by tomorrow starting a 4-part series making all those photos available online.  Similar was the fun of the Fairy Tale Lobby and lunch after.  My emceeing a regional showcase also received good comments, but my own fun was getting to know each teller and their tales.  As soon as Omope (Carter Daboiku) settles into her new Dayton home, we plan to work together on the 2 sides of the Underground Railroad.  (It felt like meeting someone with whom I'm already connected!)
  • Missed Karen Chace's part of Selling Stories, Not Snake Oil. (Thanks for those handouts, Karen. People should check your website and you posted them on your July 9 blog) Linda Gorham was as good as I was led to expect (she comes later this month to the Michigan Storytellers Festival along with Bil Lepp), but Elizabeth Ellis's words will stay with me about all of us being a team unto ourselves (artist, craftsperson, business manager, and maybe more).  Her "I'll have to ask my business manager" gives time to consider a gig that may be unwise.  I already try to have business meetings with myself, but this was empowering.
  • Michigan storytelling friend, Karen Czarnik's story was fun and justifiably won the Story Slam, but my conference roommate Renee Englot's 3d place finish was sooooo close and similar.  O.k. Renee wasn't naked in the Great Lakes, but now I'll never consider staying at that Canadian Ice Hotel.  In story, been there, done that . . . vicariously.  BRRRRRR!
  • Ruth Canonico not only gave an excellent Scottish Traveler bibliography, but brought Duncan Williamson and the tradition closer than just in print.  Norah Dooley's p.r. for the Massmouth Story Slam is "mammouth" and worth passing on to storytelling guilds. 
  • Heard one conference attendee suggest putting all handouts online.  Great idea, despite Selling Stories, Not Snake Oil showing ethics fail to guide some members of our community.  Yet the ideas should go at least to conference attendees.  I know there are some plans to have parts of the conference appear online at the NSN website.
  • In my pre-conference post I mentioned the folktale-based production, "From the Circle" by Filament Theatre after the YES! pre-conference.  It reminded me of the early days of Eth-Noh-Tec when the Storytell email list debated if they were storytelling.  Enjoyed time with all the Storytell family and the rest of the storytelling family there, but especially time with Csenge, Terrie a.k.a. Red Phoenix, Renee, and teacher and new member, Kevin.  When people worry storytelling is graying and where are the young up and coming storytellers, just look in their direction for reassurance.

Truly this was...

LoiS(ummarizing and already thinking of more, but this was the essence for to write thank yous and tomorrow start posting those great photos from Mark Wilson ... to remember)


Granny Sue said...

So glad you got to meet Omope, Lois.Isn't she a treasure? I hope I can make it to the next conference; it's in Richmond but as always the dates can cause such conflicts--to work, or to go to conference?

Lois Sprengnether Keel said...

I'm really looking forward to getting together with Omope.
As for the conference, please be sure to spread the work it's at the very beginning of August. IF enough librarians and performers show this is a good time to schedule the conference by coming, there will be gigs without conflicts. Hope to get together again by seeing you in Richmond.