Storyteller Jay O'Callahan - Home Page

by Martha Spiva

 

Dear Friends,

 

First let me say what an honor it was to have met and worked with all of you during the "Creative Voice Workshop". I have never felt as inspired as I did that weekend!

 

As you will remember, at the beginning of the workshop we were asked to tell why we were there. My answer was to find my creative voice so that I could write my own stories rather than tell other peoples stories. Then at the end of the workshop we were asked to find a line we needed to cross and to "claim that line". My line that needed to be crossed was to face my fear of rejection and claim my own stories with pride. I also said that I wanted to stop finding excuses for not following my dream as a storyteller and reaching my goals. I have done those two things, and I want to share my experience with you.

 

Remember those two lines Jay gave us to work on: "God played the fiddle and the notes became the earth, moon, and stars"? While I was working with those two lines, they took a life of their own and became a completely different story which I entitled "Earth's First Lullabye"; the story even has a little lullabye to sing. *laugh* As soon as the story was written, I emailed the story to Jay to ask his permission to claim it as my own, and yes he gave me that permission with a strong "Bravo!" to go with it. THANK YOU, JAY! I have recently told that story to two completely different audiences. The first was to my son's 4th grade class. We were talking about illustrations in storybooks (as part of their art class I teach), and I told them to listen to a story that has no book or pictures to go with it. I told them my story. While I was telling them the story, I could see their minds working picturing the scenes I described. I could see the magic in their eyes. When I was done, they all cheered and asked about the story. They wanted to know where I found the story. When I told them that I found it in my heart and my mind and that I wrote it they all stood up and cheered then promptly asked how I did that. *smile* That gave me the chance to talk a little about the storytelling process. Then I had them make their illustrations for the story I just told them. When they were completed, 3 of the students gave me their art work to keep. I was so touched by this. The neat thing was, these pictures they saw in their heads were very similar to what I was seeing in mine! IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

 

The second time I told the story was to the South Mountain Storytelling Circles group which I am a part of. The looks on their faces were much like those of the children I had just told to that same day. Their reactions were the same, but on a more adult level and we ended up discussing a rather deep issue about the music of the universe. *laugh* So see, the first question of the conference has already taken shape. I am writing my own stories... and TELLING them!

 

One of my goals has been to establish a storytelling club as an after school activity for the 4th-6th graders at my sons' school. No, it has not been established yet, but the first step was to ask the permission of the principal (to me that is the scariest part of all). That was a major line I had to cross. That required having faith in my abilities as a storyteller and taking the risk of rejection. I kept thinking about our closing circle at the conference and that line I physically crossed and verbally claimed to stop finding excuses, and I took a deep breath and approached the principal of the school. I asked him about starting a storytelling club next year. He loved the idea and told me that they would even give me a budget for the supplies I needed.

 

None of this would have happened had I not attended that workshop! During the workshop, a need for "community" and support was often expressed; that was the reason for the mailing list of all who attended. I haven't heard from anyone, but I know I would love to hear how everyone else is doing with the line they intended to cross. It is my hope that my progress will maybe encourage you to keep reaching for your goals and continually strive to cross that line because the feeling you get by crossing that line is no other feeling you have ever felt in your life!

 

Thanks for you support!
Martha Spiva

 

Used with permission

 

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