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Do Tell Story Swap Summary – April 2018

It was wonderful to see all of you who turned out in our new digs at the Oakmont Gardens. Our dry run went off wonderfully. It was a special evening capped off with our guest teller Cathryn Fairlee – world traveler and renowned story teller and our neighbor here in SoCo.

Cathryn Fairlee transformed an Appalachian love story with insertions of Patsy Kline songs that mirrored the events and the feelings of those in the story. Cathryn’s voice is so beautiful both in telling and in song. It was a delight! For more information -  

At the end of the Swap, Cathryn refreshed our understanding of the different types of stories. Then she led us in discovery of what “voices” can do for your stories. Everyone joined in the fun and learned more about creating effective stories. Lots of thanks to Cathryn for sharing so much with the Swap!

Then Clare started off the Swap with her tale of the coal mouse and her curiosity about snow flakes. It was her own steady observance that showed what snow really was.

Brandon’s story was called “Ethos, Pathos, Logos” He told how his very young daughter used these foundation principles of rhetoric to create such havoc that her parents were at her mercy.

Pat told one of those wonderful stories where clever wording gets the whole reward. This time the man who gets 3 wishes is able to state his one wish so that all three are fulfilled!

Rosemary recommended a book An American Family – by Peter Kahn. Set in India, it is a romance that followed an unsure path. Fortunately, persistence, luck and a meaningful birthday gift led to life long love.

Cal took us to the edge of a small pond where a boy was fishing without a license. His encounter with the game warden had a sweet and sassy ending.

Elisheva dedicated her story to her mom who would have been 108 years young. It was a wonderful Hopi legend about Coyote Woman and her super human abilities in the dawn of the world. 

Please join us here at our new home at Oakmont Gardens for the next Swap May 8, 2018!

Do Tell Swap Summary – February 2018

It might still be dark out on a Tuesday evening, but at Do Tell Story Swap the lights were on a lively group gathered to hear and tell stories of all kinds. Here’s a recap:

Meg started out with a grizzly bear story taken from a song called “The Preacher and the Bear”. It is one of the stories that will be told at the Sonoma County History Museum on March 10th. Wonderful opportunity to practice!

Sharon told of childhood memories of movies with heroes and foes, monsters and good guys, and how to deal with the feelings that are evoked by these encounters. The story ended with an encounter with mountain gorillas and the discovery that what might look like a foe just might be a friend.

Laurie recognized the “month of love” with a delicious description of the strawberry preserves her mother would make on hot humid summer days, and the delight of tasting the sweet jewels of the summer season in deep winter.

Cal also had a bear story. A man and his dog found themselves sharing a canyon wall with a mother bear and her cubs. The danger for both the animals and the interlopers was strong, but in the end all was peaceful tolerance.

Elaine remembered an old fable, “How the Bear Lost his Tail” and told it with wonderful humor. The bear tries to catch a fish in a frozen pond, but took bad advice and his inexperience resulted in the bear having a short tail.

Katy’s story was of the process we go through of acquiring something, losing it and thus giving it up. To find it again, changed but still precious, and place it again with new understanding in your life, brings a valuable joy.

Robin’s camping trip wasn’t going so well when the power of the outdoors and the magnificence of nature worked its magic and changed her grouchiness to gratitude. The result was insight, peacefulness, and hot chocolate.

Alicia’s story told about the Devil’s discontent that no one liked him. He went to God to prove it. He put a rock and money in the middle of the road. A man saw the rock first, kicked it and blamed the Devil for hurting his foot. Another man came along and saw the money first. He picked it up and thanked God. Was the Devil’s case proven?

Jordy put together a hilarious story with “Leslie the Dragon vs. craigslist”. A lonely dragon wants to meet someone for Valentine’s Day and uses craigslist to search. After several disheartening meetings, she finally meets an unlikely candidate – a knight! It turns out to be a great match. Jordy brought a lot of fun and laughter through weaving the characters with computer/social media references.

Cal had one more, this time to honor our presidents, called “George Washington and the Plum Tree”. Yep, George was fascinated by axes and he eventually chopped down a plum tree. His father lectured George, who apologized and took his punishment. When that was settled, his father said: “And now, about that cherry tree…”

Brandon closed the Swap with his sweet, romantic story of learning that love is a tough thing…and a beautiful thing. Centered around the beautiful absent girlfriend who had lured him to Indonesia in the first place, the isolated friendship of an old man with limited English, and love letters sent and received -- but not by the intended, the story leads us toward a bittersweet yet wiser understanding of love.

We are excited to greet Cathryn Fairlee to Do Tell Story Swap on March 13th! She is a master storyteller and generous supporter of SAC and other storytelling organizations. Don’t miss it!  
The Swap is a fragrance free event. Please do not wear fragrance.

January 2018 summary of stories

The Swap kicked off the new year with a lively exchange of stories. We also had fun in our sharing circle describing and hearing others tell of snow storms they’ve experienced. It was about half and half, folks who grew up in snow country (Midwest, Utah, Switzerland) and had humdinger recollections, and others native to California, many who’d never seen or been in snow until adulthood.

1. Cal told a story of the small Mormon town where he was raised, and what unfolded when his tea-totaling mother, under direction of her doctor, needed to acquire whiskey to take medicinally. Cal’s father sure took a lot of ribbing from the townsfolk when he made the purchase.  

2. Mary brought us a Scottish tale about a selkie, said to live as a seal in the sea but shed its skin to become human on land. Magic ensued when a lonely lighthouse operator, upon being injured, discovered that a baby seal he’d adopted when it washed up on shore, had become his human nursemaid. She never admitted it but the truth was clear when he saw that the seal and the woman both arranged his slippers in the same odd way.

3. Sharon had us laughing at a story about being in high school, and the various ways girls wore their headscarves to indicate their flirting styles. A 20-year reunion had many of her classmates surprised at how one girl in particular had “turned out.”

4. Laurie told of her encounter while cashiering at the library book sale in a story called Duet. A patron was delighted to find and buy the piano accompaniment to a flute solo she long had been wanting both parts for. When Laurie mentioned being a pianist, the customer jotted her name and phone number on the music, handed it to Laurie, said “Call me” and left. Did they meet again? Did they learn the music and play duets? Stay tuned, and come hear more stories on the second Tues monthly starting at 7pm.

5. Clare introduced dramatic intrigue by beginning her story with all the lights off, in true darkness. Her story was about how a spider caught sparks from the sun’s rays, returned to earth, and built a fire. Hence light was first born. 

6. Rosemary shared an old Jewish tale about Alexander the Great of Macedon. Hungry for power and conquering all he could, Alexander set off by mule in search of the garden of Eden. Upon arriving, he was turned away and became furious, finding that greed is a heavy burden. He learned that the eye of man will never be satisfied until dead.

7. Stephen described having rotgut coffee and Its It ice cream sandwiches for breakfast at the general store in Villa Grande, a tiny non-town on the Russian River southwest of Guerneville. He’d go kayaking in search of sturgeon, having heard about some huge specimens in that area. One full-moon night as he kayaked, something big went THUD against his craft. Was that the Big One? he wondered. Upon getting back to shore, he learned an earthquake was the cause of his bumpy ride.  

8. Laurie returned to the stage with another musical story. She had played piano background music for a party and was about done when someone approached and said, Play more. Eager to be on her way but wanting to oblige, she asked if there were a particular song he'd like to hear. Again, he said Play more. Hmm. And so it went. Finally, he clarified, Play the song titled More. Ah! “More,” theme song from the film Mondo Cane. Fortunately, Laurie had learned it back in the 1960s when the radio aired the song often. She was able to pull enough of it from memory to play it to his satisfaction. They both departed smiling, having had more than enough.

9. Clare delighted us with two very short episodes from when she’d ride the San Francisco Muni bus with her guide dog, Leticia. One day, as Clare boarded the full bus, a passenger in the front seat bellowed out, “Hello, Pooch!” To which Clare responded, “Ruff!” In an instant, everyone on the bus joyfully began barking, woofing, yipping to greet Clare and her dog, speaking only canine. 
Another time, an Asian woman holding a live chicken in her arms, began to board the bus. The driver forbid it. “You can’t bring that on the bus!” She explained the chicken was to be her dinner and she needed to transport it home and prepare it. The driver wouldn’t budge. The woman stepped down, gave the chicken a decisive WHACK against the bus, then returned with the now-dead chicken. The driver allowed her to board.

10. Elaine told her favorite tall tale, which has won various “liar’s contests”, called One Bullet Left. She combined elements of her own life as a young woman setting out to live in remote Virginia, with far-fetched ideas of just how many ways a bullet can fetch a person dinner.
Come hear more fetching stories each month at Do Tell Story Swap! We are a friendly, supportive group encouraging anyone who wishes to tell a story of 5-7 minutes in length. It’s non-competitive and open to all from teens and up. Some of our tellers are in their 90s, especially experienced and entertaining. Let’s spread the word and invite more teens and people younger than 40 to join us. Stories are for everyone!

We are a fragrance free environment. 

Do Tell Story Swap Summary - December 2017
December’s Do Tell Story Swap ended the year with stories from near and far. In the dark days of winter, who doesn’t want to hear and share stories?

Elisheva started out with a funny origin story about a celestial cow creating the order or the universe and nurturing the emerging creatures. Between squirting milk from her udder and gas from her digestive system, this was an amusing story for all.

Rosemary’s repertoire of Japanese stories are always welcome. This story about a Samari who loved his wife but because they were very poor, he left her to find work far away. He even married another due to financial distress but always loved his first wife. Finally, able to return to her, the Samari returns only to find everything devastated but his wife still at home to talk to him and serve him dinner. But after a night of love, he awoke to find only her bones.

Cal’s Santa story was full of the childish curiosity and joy that surrounds the jolly old soul. This story was about finding the “real” Santa.

Steven’s personal story of time spent at a jazz camp reflected the growth of his understanding of cooperation and friendship. Reflections about the emergence of the “real” world and the place of everything in it caused him to give acceptance of the good and bad (even head lice).

Clare’s encounter with an angel at the Ashland Shakespeare festival provided her with comforting warmth during a cold night time performance. A stranger gave her his coat and hat and then left. Fortunately, he came back to claim his clothing so Clare was able to thank him for his kindness.

Sharon worked as a receptionist at the hospital and her story was about a homeless man who helped her when she was ill in a case of “pay it forward”. Sometimes the most welcome help comes from an unexpected provider.

Laurie told three post office stories: First, the “flash mob” singing of Christmas carols she instigated last year in the line at the P.O. Second, posting a letter and finding the clerk was Cal’s son and third, the feelings she had about closing her P.O. box after many years.

Brandon told his rollicking story about riding on an overloaded ferry in Indonesia. Too many people led to a sewage overflow and ensuing panic by the passengers. Told with his usual verve, we were all laughing by the end of this story.

Katy told about a Christmas experience of ice, friendship, warmth and horses. The tone and subject brought to mind the old Christmas feeling many of us share from our memories.

Elaine told about living in England as a child and going to a private school where she learned important lessons about how the world works. Taking responsibility for an infraction of the rules sometimes leads to rewards, sometimes it doesn’t. Elaine’s telling is always expressive and fun – great story.

Katy’s second story reflected the understanding that sorrow and loss happen and you end up where you never expected. But with the faith and trust in the true angels of our nature, life comes back in focus as the joyful thing it is.

Do Tell Story Swap breaks into 2018 on January 9th. Join us to welcome the new year with great stories!

Do Tell Story Swap Summary – November 2017

Memories of our lives inform our stories in a very rich way, help us see things from a different perspective and help us find healing, humor and love in the things we have experienced. Many of the stories this November reflected this.

We’d like to thank guest teller Garth Gilchrist for sharing three stories with us. His life long interest in nature and ecology is the inspiration for his storytelling. His first story describes his fascination with trees as a young person and achieving his goal of climbing the highest tree on his home property and what that meant to him. Garth also “channels” John Muir, telling a tale of an encounter with a bear. And finally, Garth recited Stephen Vincent Benet’s “The Mountain Whippoorwill”, an Appalachian story of a fiddle contest. Truly a delightful telling!

Katy opened her story with a quote from “The Tempest”, laying the groundwork for a strong story of her experience with the fire that has ravaged Sonoma County. It was a story of how loss, sadness and trauma were transformed by wisdom to reflect renewal and cleansing. It was an awesome telling of a very personal experience.

Brandon’s lively telling of his wedding in Bali was full of drama and laughs Recounting the conflict between his wife’s grandmother and her father due to the differing cultures and traditions of Brandon’s soon to be new family, the story resolves in chaos when a pig and a priest come face to face. 

Krishma’s fond remembrance of a 90 year old woman who had been her mother’s partner was of a life and the home shared for a lifetime. It was the kind of story we all can hear murmurs of our own family experiences. Uplifting and hopeful, the story surely touched a lot of listeners.

Robin tells stories that interconnect myth and real life and the two stories she told were wonderfully reflective of each other. First was a story of tragic love in the image of Romeo and Juliette – this one magical and strange. The second story of love beneath a mulberry tree mirrored the first, bringing the magic to this world.

Elaine finished the evening with a recitation of “Little Boy Blue” by Eugene Field. The values of love, loyalty and loss make this a story that touches everyone who hears it.

Next month is December, the end of the year, the month of the winter solstice, Chanukah and Christmas. Come and hear and share your stories of the season!
Tuesday, December 12, 2017.  

"Full fathom five thy father lies,
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
For he hath suffered a sea change,
Into something rich and strange."

Sharon provides some humor.
Cal has everyone's attention.
Clare weaving her story.

         Robin gets to the scary part.