Conversations with storytellers. Wisdom, folk and fairy tales from our elders.
A meeting with professional storytellers.
After the passing of some great storytellers, I decided I wanted to interview some of the elders in the community of traditional storytelling. I wanted to capture their thoughts, their ideas, and maybe ideals in their own voices. I didn’t want a traditional interview, but a conversation with these folks. I was not looking for deep personal secrets, but for insights on what make these legends in my world tick, what inspired them, what makes them do what they do, and how do they do it.
Some will tell us their favourite stories, others share their thoughts on our profession. Some will give us glimpses of their lives and the lives of those around them, who their mentors and inspiration were or are. All of them share gems of wisdom. Welcome to conversations with storytellers.
Janice Del Negro
Janice Del Negro is a professor in the School of Information Studies at Dominican University, where she teaches storytelling, children's and young adult literature, and foundations of library and information science. She is a storyteller, author, educator, and coach. She is incredibly respected in our community and has met and worked with many of our great storytellers. She challenges us to do better, and is a huge supporter of storytelling. This was another one of those incredibly rich and lengthy conversations, so this is part one of two!
Clare Murphy hales from Ireland and is not my typical elder. She is not an elder, but carries the wisdom of one. She began a story club at college, and within four years was traveling internationally as a professional storyteller. Her work has depth to it that only those who were raised in the land where the stories took can find. She brings a strong feminist leaning to her stories, and a great deal of inclusion and compassion.
Clare's website: http://claremurphy.org/
This interview was the last I did on my laptop. Seems it is not geared to save and store large files from Streaming platforms. This hour long interview is all my computer saved of the three hours we spoke. No idea what happened to the rest of it. Just vanished. It was recorded in one shot, and we had no idea of the time until I belatedly looked at my watch.
Connie is an amazing woman, and one whom I have go to know a little more and a little more, adn we are now friends! I am thrilled to bring this sadly truncated interview to you. Connie Regan-Blake has been telling stories for a very long time. She and her cousin Barbara Freeman started at about the same time as Elizabeth Ellis and Gayle Ross. She is a teller of folk and fairy tales, and sprinkles in some personal narrative. Much of what she has done, is now in the Library of Congress. She’s played with musicians, hitch-hiked Europe and creates her own art. We pick up where I asked Connie about the duo storytellers The Folktellers made up of Connie and her cousin Barbara.
I had only briefly met Megan Wells in 2016 at the NSN Conference in 2016. She was telling a personal story in a room filled with people also sharing personal tales. Hers was stand out, in that it was rich, multilayered, and deep. It was a powerful experience ot see her tell that story. The power of it lingers with me still. I then worked with Megan this summer of 2020 when she perfomed on the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Festival and on StoryStoryPodcast. I knew, despite not being an elder, she should be on this show. A Greater Chicago native, she tells folk tales, myths and tells literary tales. She is an incrediby gifted teller.
Please welcome Megan Wells.
Lynette and I met years ago, before we both turned grey, at the Northlands Confabulation. I really enjoyed her company, we got on well, and she told the best spooky stories I have ever heard. Not just were the stories great tales, but her telling could be classed as if not THE best telling of spooky stories, then one of the top three in the USA. Lynette is quiet and unassuming, but a force to be reckoned with. She has written a ton of books, and recorded a number of CDs. And she’s a Laughter Yoga Teacher! We spend quite a bit of time chatting before and after the interview which was done over StreamYard. There are a small number of places where the audio gets fidgety, so don’t think it’s you - it was me. Don’t they all say that? And you don’t miss anything, so don’t worry. Please enjoy this fun conversation with Lynette Ford.
Lyn's website is: https://storytellerlynford.com/
I have only met Liz once or twice, and mostly in passing, but she is a very impressive woman. We hold some similar thoughts about accents in stories, although I think she is way more ‘strict!’ Her storytelling is captivating in the way someone who is a natural teller of tales can be. Relaxed, confident, just letting the story speak for itself. In this time of, well, 2020, it was recorded socially distanced, with Liz at Ballyeamon, and me in New London, NH recorded over StreamYard. There was a bit of echo, so if you think you hear the Irish equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster, it’s just me echoing slightly! Sorry about that. Tea and biscuits, a little Irish history, and what really matters in telling a story.