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Spirited Storyteller Shares Her Passion
by Angela Davis

Here's what makes me think I came up with an original idea! I got into storytelling because it was what I was led to do from the inside out. I did not know another storyteller, didn't know there was even a storytelling awakening taking place. I began telling stories creatively in my own way (which is how storytelling came about anyway). I followed my heart and my soul and told stories from a wide variety of sources and in a wide variety of ways. I practiced through trial and error with my audiences to develop my style of storytelling.

Editor's note: I asked Angela permission to use this article on the website. She is the perfect example of someone who follows her passion!

I tell way more theatrically then some storytellers prefer. Make no mistake; it is story at the heart of what I am sharing with audiences. And it is our story! That's why no matter how I tell the story each audience takes the story someplace different. Each person that becomes a part of the story shares something of themselves! That audience's experience is indelibly linked to that story. Take away the story and what's left? Nothing!

I love what I do – as audiences everywhere I perform and my 400+ performances this year and repeat bookings can attest to. I have not been embraced by the many who consider themselves storytellers because I am just that – a risk taker who didn't know she was risking anything! I just do what I love and boy, do my audiences love me! They invite me back for repeat performances, give me rave reviews, pay me the price I ask, get excited about stories, get excited about their lives, buy my CDs and tapes and sometimes even want to learn how to do what I do! I do this without marketing blitzes. Most of my business is word of mouth and I am constantly giving overflow business to other storytellers because I can't do it all and I am now taking bookings for 2006! I have a workshop I give away free everywhere I go on how to increase your bookings while doing what you love as an artist!

I tell to many inner city families and people in general with more problems and gloomy thoughts to keep them occupied. Then here I come sharing a story like they've never heard, in a way that lifts them out of their problems and into the possibility of what life is really all about – Having fun!

When I first started out every time I got in front of a bunch of storytellers I become more worried about what they thought rather than just being my best. I've seen storytellers smirk when they saw me pull a prop out. I've heard them say indirectly "she'll never get to Jonesborough because she's too theatrical." It doesn't matter if I never get to Jonesborough! What matters is that everyday, I am out there telling stories and I am doing what I love to do. I am letting my light shine as only I can!

Now place me in front of audiences where I hardly know if storytellers are there and watch me come to life! Watch me really shine. Because I am free to take risks without feeling like I am being judged. I find the older I get, the less it matters who's in the audience. I just have to be me. My job is to give them the whole story. That means taking what I think out of it so the best of me can really come shining through! When I am in the audience listening to other storytellers – I am urging them on; cheering them secretly inside to be the best they can be! What gives me the right to call myself a storyteller? The fact that I was commissioned by something greater than me.

I sat everyday for 30 minutes just listening to my inner guidance. Eventually, it became very clear that I should be telling stories. It was what I did daily with my students and I loved to do it. Other teachers began asking me to bring their classes to hear the stories. And it just grew by leaps and bounds! I cannot be something different from who I am. I am part educator, part storyteller, part consultant, part a number of hats I wear on a regular basis! My life is over full of activities which I juggle successfully because my sustenance comes from inside me! Everything I do is about being the best I can be!

Incidentally, I have a part in my workshop for teachers that helps them to define their storytelling nature: "What kind of storyteller are you?" I go through the many different types of storytelling styles explaining what they are and how to recognize them!

Why can't we as storytellers just get along and accept each other and whatever gifts we bring to the storytelling table without having to judge it? What is it we are really afraid of deep down inside that we have our prejudices effectively drawing a circle that says everybody on this side of the line is a storyteller, anybody else-get out! As I shared with another would-be starting-storyteller years ago, “There is enough work, there is more than enough room for everybody to fit in, there is enough for everybody to share in this storytelling pie.” With all the many different types of audiences there are it's wonderful that we have so much talent to spread around. I hope everyone keeps on sharing their gifts and embracing the best of who they are and letting it shine in our world because we as storytellers need every storyteller to play their part, tell their stories, be the best of who they are in our great wonderful world!

I think it's high time to invite all the storytellers to the same table accepting them for who they are and what they have to offer because we all need each other. You don't see the many different types of singers: country, jazz, rock n roll, new age, and gospel telling each other they're not singers just because they use a different style. Come on folks, we are far more intelligent than that. Everybody has something wonderful to contribute. Let's find a way to embrace it and watch something wonderful spring to life!

Angela Davis, the Yarnspinner, offers exciting Louisiana fun to audiences around the world. She performs year round and can be reached via her award winning web site: www.yarnspin.com or by email at yarnspinner@mindspring.com. Bookings can be arranged through Young Audiences at (504) 523-3525.

 

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