When my kids were young, one of their summer highlights was my brother-in-law’s storytelling night. Holed up in a dark room, he would both scare and engage them with tales of pirates, secret passageways and harrowing escapes. Employing nothing but his voice and their imagination, he would captivate them until his always-suspenseful endings triggered a chorus of screams.
The Lake Oswego Library realizes that storytelling does more than just entertain. It also anchors and connects us in ways that are important. To celebrate the role storytelling plays in our lives, the library is sponsoring a weeklong Storytelling Festival from October 24-29 featuring oral history interviews, storytelling workshops, performances, a video contest, local history presentations and even a haunting tour of Oswego Pioneer Cemetery by lantern light. Space is limited for some of the events so be sure to check the schedule and pre-register if necessary.
Why should you go? Let some of the storytellers tell you themselves:
Terry Jordan: We’re all storytellers—that’s how we connect. We know one another more deeply when we tell stories. What I love about the Lake Oswego Festival is that it’s not just telling stories. It’s teaching folks how to tell stories as well. (Catch Terry on Tuesday, October 25 from 2-3:30 pm at the Lake Oswego Library for: Grandma, Tell Me a Story: A Workshop for Grandparents and Parents).
Leslie Slape: Historically, storytellers were the tribe’s teachers, historians, entertainers, theologians, and counselors. Today, storytellers still take on those roles, and more. A wise judge once said to me that every attorney who wants to win over a trial jury should learn the art of storytelling. The latest trend in news reporting—a form of recording history—is narrative journalism, or storytelling. The best teachers know that students remember a lesson if it’s put in the form of a story. Counselors have embraced the healing powers of a story, because when our soul needs to heal, story helps in many ways. (Leslie will be sharing her stories on Saturday, October 29 from 7-9 pm at The Age-Old Story Tree: An Evening of Personal and Traditional Tales in the Spirit of the Season along with Alton Chung and Will Hornyak at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, downstairs).
Anne Rutherford: Storytelling is simply and profoundly how we make sense of the world around us; how we interpret events and circumstances. We are programmed, as human beings, to use a story structure to understand our lives. What we believe we can do, what we choose to risk, what we want to save – all of these come from stories we tell ourselves, or have been told by others. Hearing good stories, crafted by humans for humans and told face to face, energizes a part of us that powers decision-making and action. Happily ever after? It’s closer than we think! (Anne will be joining Terry Jordan in the Grandma, Tell me a Story workshop on Tuesday, October 25 from 2-3:30 pm at the Lake Oswego Library).
Rick Huddle: Storytelling is a unique way to connect with others and to learn about ourselves. The goal is to share that universal experience and relate to it in your own life. (Join Rick for a Storytelling Matinee and Open Mike Showcase on Saturday, October 29 from 1-3 pm at the Lake Oswego Library).
Esther Stutzman: I tell the ancient traditional stories of my people, the Komemma Kalapuya people of the southern Willamette Valley-Upper Umpqua. Tribal people tell the stories as a way to pass on history and teach morals and lessons to the younger generation. As a storykeeper, I tell stories to preserve traditions and culture, reinforce history and remember important events. (Hear some of Esther’s Coos and Kalapuya stories on Tuesday, October 25 from 7-8:30 pm at the Lake Oswego Library).
Christopher Leebrick: Storytelling may be the world’s oldest art form. The need to hear and tell stories is inherent, and through the power of story we can grow in our understanding of what it means to be human. (Christopher performs Thursday, October 27 from 7-8 pm in The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Thrillers at the Waluga Masonic Lodge #181).
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