Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"More Interesting than Dog Poop"

Summer 2000 -

My work sends me to some funky venues.
This one was a park along side a highway where the planes
are low overhead in their approach to Logan. It was about 90ยบ F.

It was also before lunch and maybe after nap

About 20 kids about 3 years old each,
walking like somnambulists, holding on to
clothesline were brought out to me and
we were all led to a huge tree.
How primal - how essential !

Me, a tree and a group of children.

This is storytelling.
This is what it is all about!

The disaffected teen staff were sullen
and glum. Who could blame them?

It was so damn hot, humid and smelly.

But when I pointed out that the broken glass mixed in the
wet with dew*grass as unsuitable for tender toddler bottoms of my audience they
became even unhappier.

We moved around the tree and finally to another tree.
And I started at last.
A plane roared overhead. I pushed on.
Traffic flowed and growled in the background.
I engaged and cavorted.
Then a bright and perspicacious little boy noticed a huge dog
turd about 18" inches away from my foot.

God I wished I had seen that first.

"Wow. Look Dog POOP!"

20 little heads were snapped around and riveted
in attention on the brown, perfectly
formed canine offering by my foot. The teen counselors perked up.
This became a moment of intense interest. My audience could not get enough -
Then it evolved into group participation.

They had to see and share and even wanted to touch.
This last desire snapped the teen's into action.
They had no tools to remove the intruder so the
counselors worked on crowd control.

The rest of my gig was spent in shameless competition.
By god ! I am storyteller!

I am more
interesting than dog poop.

Aren't I?

Story is bigger than this!
Isn't story bigger than this?

Apparently not.

I bought a sound system next year.
I bring plastic bags.

I know who I am.
I am a storyteller and
that is "the %@$!."

Such is the power of storytelling.

[*dew? - indeed -dog pee more likely]

Why I am here...

Before MTV and iPods and youtube
there were stories.
Before books and magazines and comics
there were stories and storytellers-

Language was oral before it was written.
Our brains are hard wired for storytelling but
reading and writing are "unnatural acts".

its part of who we are as human beings
It's natural.

Storytelling is as old as the hills.
Storytelling is tomorrow-
How do we know about tomorrow?
Tomorrow does not exist yet
We know it by the stories we tell.

Stories are everywhere
we are. On the bus, train
supermarket, school on your cell and in
your tubes and screens.

We all use story to
move through this story which is our life.

Life is like this...

Well, my life is like this.
A man dies and is sent to Hell.
Satan meets him, shows him doors to three rooms, and says he must choose one room to spend eternity in. In the first room, people are being roasted on spits by sniggering demons. The man says "No, let me see the next room." In the second room, people are having the flesh flayed from them by whip wielding demons while they hop about on hot coals.
The man says, "No thanks" Finally, Satan opens the door to the third room.
People are standing in a pool of excrement up to their waists, drinking espresso from demitasse and eating pastries.
The man says, "This looks more likely, I pick this room."
Satan smiles and a demon hands him a cup of espresso and the man wades in.

Just as he starts nibbling on his biscotti and sipping at his coffee,
Satan yells, "All right you bastards!"
Demons with whips appear at his side.
"Coffee break is over. Everybody back on their heads!"