My friend Rebecca Hom, the Backroads Teller, has led us to and through another inspiring weekend of storytelling. Though I felt like I was sleeping much of the time there, I came away this year inspired and ready to take some actual steps down the road to becoming a paid storyteller.
The first weekend of every August a small group of storytellers meets for Fanning the Embers: a storytellers retreat. For the past several years the retreat has been hosted by St. Andrews House, just outside of Union, Washington. The setting here on Hood Canal is stunning. On the clear days, the Olympic Mountains rise out of and behind the water. Even on cool days, the sounds and smells from the forest and bay combine deliciously to enhance a cozy feeling.
This beautiful setting is dwarfed, at times, by the stories. Stories of all types: fairy tales, personal stories, old family stories, even older legends and tales from the beginning of time! The first time I attended the retreat, I was overwhelmed by so many stories. In the most wonderful way possible, it has only gotten worse since then!
This year, my favorite stories were those told around the dinner tables and in between the formal activities. I loved to hear of the day-to-day activities of storytellers. Hearing so many ways of organizing programs and booking gigs and marketing themselves really inspired me this year. I don't know exactly how it will work out, but I'm excited to put together some programs, advertise them, and try to find places to present them.
The other tellers also inspired me again to find a regular venue where I can just tell stories again and again. I have several ideas, but it doesn't seem to matter where I am, if I'm reading and searching and finding new stories, I won't be able to keep quiet! Someone will hear them and I'll be able to fine-tune the telling.
So a big thanks to Rebecca Hom! Fanning the Embers has done exactly that for me this year -- as it always does!