Chaos Attraction

I Did Storytelling Again

2021-01-30, 9:11 p.m.

I spent the late morning/early afternoon chatting with Shanna and Kelly about how her suffragist play is going and casting issues and what to do with it later. Then we read aloud a 10 minute play she has, in which a rabid football fan tries to talk his way out of a speeding ticket with a female judge who likes football, but doesn't go for nonsense. Shanna and I switched off who read what and Kelly decided she liked Shanna's version of the judge (seen it all) and my version of the guy (dopey enthusiasm, I guess), so should we ever do that later, I get to play a dude. Hmmmm. It was good to hang out with them again, it's been a few months. I also sent them various links to Lauren Gunderson things, since neither of them have heard of her and they really must.

Per my "watch all the Lauren Gunderson" vows, I went looking for stuff about her on YouTube. It's a lot of playwriting lectures, but I also found The Revolutionists! Now they want to read it. Yaaaaay!

In the afternoon I went to the Auburn Storytelling Festival (online this year, duh). The afternoon is the open tell (I guess they decided not to try having the Liar's Contest this year online) and well, there were some issues with the signups. Which is to say (a) website didn't have that on it, (b) the host asked if I wanted to and I said yes, (c) somehow I wasn't on the list anyway, but (d) between something like 13 people signing up and then not showing up--what the heck?--and them being all "Eh, screw it, we can go late" (about 15 minutes), I got in after all. Huzzah! Loretta and Meg were in attendance.

Things I wrote down:

Alyssa mentioned the Bernie Sanders meme and said that her story was about a less pleasant one, the "I wish I was as thin as the first time I was fat" meme. In her case, she got herself down to 130 pounds while in quarantine, but "Who cares? This is not a before and after success story. Weight is such a dumb goal. What does being under 130 pounds get me? Nothing. I'm still stuck at home. My kids are still without their homes. People are dying. So who cares how much I weigh?" The only thing about weight loss is that you can actually see the results, as opposed to say, political canvassing. GOOD ONE. I wish I could have gone after hers since mine was pandemic-related too. Really affecting and made good points.

Laurie told a story about a frog. "Have you ever tried to herd a frog?" "We'll both be happier if you're outside in the garden."

Angie told a story about being in Tonga watching the moon landing and then later going to a (Peace Corps? Something like that) reunion and saying to a guy, "You know me, Bill, in 1969 we were in bed together" watching it! "I will never forget where I was for that moonwalk."

Dave told "Goldilocks in Texas," in which Goldilocks is trying to sell Mary Kay but the bears are out at the Texas Tech/OU game, hanging out with Snow White and the dwarves. "Snow White was resplendent in her Texas Tech sweatshirt." After awhile he cut ahead in the description because "This is a five minute story and we have to get through it," har. "Baby Bubba Bear was the first to speak up. There's a girl in my bed. Can I keep her?" In the end, Goldilocks makes a lot of sales and goes to the game with them next year. What a hoot!

Another Laurie told a story about calling a "pet communicator" when her cat was lost. The lady located the cat in 20 minutes, saying "she's in a small dark place and can't get out." Laurie immediately ID'd that as her shed. Love this, given my lost pet finding.

I did my "Hot Water" story and it went over well. I wasn't sure if they had issues with me swearing in this, so I just said "beeeeep" every time I wanted to and Alyssa said she enjoyed the beeps! Someone else said "I love a justifiable b_____ story!" (I'm not sure what that is exactly, but yay?) Karen said it was a fun speech with great vocal variety and Ed said he was glad I was back, well done, liked the humor.

One guy did a performance from a one man show of his, My Jekyll and Hyde, and did very well.

Ed did a story about how his dad was a racist--something his dad eventually admitted and said "that's just the way I was carefully taught." Ed grows up hearing that stuff and being surrounded by other white people and not knowing any better--and he actually said the n-bomb during this part twice. Which totally shocked me.* Anyway, Ed gets to know PoC, goes to college, takes classes in this sort of thing, learns about white privilege, teaches kids, etc. At one point he mentions having the kids do collage so that they can see people like themselves in art. But his dad's still all "no black friends of yours in the house" and his mom backs him up as that not being safe, sigh.

* I know darned well he's not one, which the story makes clear even if you don't know him, later on. But that said, I did freak and think, "should I have a talking to with him about how this makes people lose their minds?!" But...he's been doing this longer than I have, what do I know, I would guess that he's probably talked this out with other storytellers of color we both know...I'll shut up.

He ended it with saying, "You can also be carefully taught to un-hate." This may be my favorite story of Ed's, even if I am "oh shit" on him saying the N-bomb.

I will note that Mark (overall host) whipped out a different hat every...few people or so? I asked how many he has and he said "I will ask my accountant to tell me. There are more!"

Later on we had the professional tellers at night. "My hook won't reach from here to your house," Mark said if they went over time. I didn't really take notes during it so much.

The one most memorable/fun for me was Noa Baum, who was talking about in fourth grade where everyone swapped books and the Gender Wars were on and the only time anyone interacted was in playing tag. Finally she's getting chased down by a boy and yells "WHAT DO YOU WANT??!?" "'YOU WANNA SWAP BOOKS?!?!" So anyway, they swap the same mystery series and become the lone "couple" of the fourth grade, which is difficult. Then she moves away for two years and when she returns, he won't even talk to her any more. 44 years later she Googles him and he writes back. "I really loved you in 4th grade. Such a pity I lost my confidence."

BZ Smith: told a Native American story, followed by another story about mending broken crockery and how that relates to our nation today. Eric Hurtt: told stories about shooting deer (with a lot of wordplay and puns, like hunting for buck (naked) or doe (a deer, a female deer), a ghost story, and a story involving a magic lunch box. Linda Yemoto: told a story about a frog eating mochi (her imitating frogs is really amusing) and then another one about a woman who didn't get along with her arranged husband and ah, the solution to that is interesting. Cynthia Restivo talked about the death of her husband and washing his body, and that got really triggering for me and I don't want to say more.

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