Chaos Attraction

Sierra Storytelling Festival 2019, Day 3

2019-07-21, 6:27 p.m.

Sunday open tell:

I don’t actually want to talk about what I told about this year. It’s a subject I’m not discussing here because it’s awkward, it’s an experimental piece, and it’s “in the moment” and “talk from your wounds, not your scars” rather than the other way around like you’re supposed to do, and doesn’t have a conclusion in life at the moment and won’t for a long time. (This one.) Basically it kept annoying and bugging me until the damn thing came out and I can’t come up with anything else to tell about until it does, so FINE, I AM CAVING IN AND DOING IT...y’know, away from the rest of my regular world so’s I won’t get busted for mentioning it.

Yonks ago I read “Till We Meet Again” by Judith Krantz, which had an amusing (to me, anyway) romance between a self-absorbed actress and the director that popped her ego bubble and she haaaaaaaaated it and fell in love with him anyway. She finally decides that the only way to get herself over the feelings is to tell him because he’ll make fun of and insult the shit out of her and she’ll feel like an idiot and get over it. She called it an “exorcism,” which is most likely not the correct terminology for what was going on there or here, but I appreciate the sentiment. So doing this piece in public is an exorcism. Get it out and then maybe it’ll go away and trouble me no more and I can move on.

That said, I did seriously count how many were in the room (35 adults plus misc. kids who won’t give a shit) and how many of them I knew and how much I wanted to gamble on saying it. So: two friends, five storytelling acquaintances I see around the circuit 1-2x a year who don’t know anyone involved in the story or live here, one guy I used to know from the CC who moved up here and I did not recognize him until he came up to talk to me later but I doubt he cares, and one girl I met last night who had the same situation going on and we had a nice chat about it afterwards. I gave her my contact information but who knows if she’ll ever send anything. Ah well, sometimes these insta-temporary situational friendships can be fun in the moment.

Anyway, odds of this coming to bite me in the ass isn’t that likely (you can get away with a lot if people aren’t looking or you segregate who you talk to) and clearly I’m having enough issues with the subject plaguing me that I needed to take the risk regardless. Oh well. If what I said ever gets back to who it would be relevant to happens, then so be it and it was meant to, I guess. Though I did use Dawn’s finishing line she suggested about “I’ll let you know next year what happens” and now I wonder if anyone will ask! But...yeah, right. Life doesn’t work like if you were writing fiction.

Moving on...other tellers in open tell:
(a) A lady who was a flight attendant and met Stevie Wonder (“Stevie Wonder’s blind but I gave him a book to read”) and he asked her to sing a song, which I guess she wrote...and it was really bad. “Stevie looked like he was crying when he left.”
(b) Someone telling a story about the birth of Taliesin.
(c) Tom Wade doing a story about losing his swimsuit while swimming. “Okay, shorts are off, surfacing is not a good thing.” Also, “you flunk,” and “I just got a rock for sinking to the bottom.” The comment Linda the emcee said about it afterwards was “Now we know why his last name is Wade.”
(d) A story about a rabbi that I found hard to follow.
(e) A girl being sent to boarding school and her picture being in dad’s watch...which somehow led to the girls dropping condoms filled with water out a window?!
(f) Turns out I knew this guy from the CC--now he has a kid and came up with the kid when the kid was too shy to speak. (Boy, did he age. Not everyone comes out like I do, I guess.) Anyway, he now hangs out with Gary Snyder* and lives around here. I have down some cryptic notes about “smelled like monkey pee....” ?
* local famous person, who apparently a lot of this bunch knows but can’t actually introduce him to new people because of his mental issues.
(g) A girl was out of the country with her boyfriend in some Spanish country and then they got flat tires on their bikes and had to get help. “We found out that I’m right, everything’s ok.”
(h) Note: I am writing these notes up weeks after this stuff happened so remembering what the hell went down from my notes is a bitch. Example here: “Mark student chased by tiger plucks a strawberry.” WTF?
(i) Linda talked about going to the county fair in Mississippi and having to learn the Southern language, like finding out what “tea” really means over there. Or “You can’t vote for (name), he’s wet!” translates into “he’s fine with selling alcohol in this county.” “Sweet tea” means the spoon could stand up, “sweet milk” really means buttermilk. Then someone screwed with her by asking her to make biscuits. Also, how do you tell if someone’s a boy or a girl? “She don’t paint her nails.” Note to self: NEVER GOING THERE.
(j) Karen: said something about “watermelon seeds,” i.e. lots of details in stories to write down. Good point.
(k) Hillary: “The yes no monsters and Big reads off phone bright strawberry.” I think that was some children’s story...

As for the final tellers’ show:

Kirk: told about how he became a storyteller because he procrastinated so much on a project in the fourth grade that he basically had to wing it on the spot and claim he left the project (a board game) at home. He apparently won this somehow and later was encouraged to audition for a college play and got in. He got emails from the teacher as an adult and she came to a show of his. D’awwww.

Dalrymple: answered the question of “Is that the only outfit you own?” by saying yes, but he just got gifted with a storytelling festival shirt so now he has two. (Note: I saw him the next weekend and he had some slightly different plaid outfits, and the storytelling festival shirt.) He talked about how he loves old ladies and was best friends with one when he was 15 and she was 70 and they worked at a plant shop and she prophesied (“There’s always a prophecy”) that he’s a storyteller. He was all “no, I’m a songwriter,” but now he’s both. Then he did some more about Finn MacCool and a salmon reborn that he ate. My notes on this are pretty strange so I’m not even gonna try to recap that bit.

Kim: “I want to sit under the trees, drink beer, knit, and tell stories.” Also, “Dalrymple was just standing there in an outfit and that’s all he needed to do” in the green room. She talked about how she creates stories and edits them in her head while driving and doesn’t write them down, but does record them. “If you meditate upon a memory,” it will expand.

Then she told a story about how they didn’t usually have candy at her home when she was growing up, and how her parents would engage in what they called “intense fellowship” and what the rest of us would define as “fighting.” She had various memories involving candy, such as “Having my dad get in trouble for it made the candy even sweeter.” and “The definition of insanity is thinking this time the bottle is going to taste better.” and “make our candy cigarettes because that’s how we do it in Amish country.” She figured out eventually as an adult that her parents would send all the kids to walk to a faraway candy shop so that they could get laid. “I’ll never be able to eat Twizzlers again,” and “I am going to make a story out of this and tell thousands of people,” and “There’s gonna be some good conversations in the car on the way home.”

Tim snarked that people shouldn’t make sex references on a Sunday and Kim yelled out from the audience, “Be fruitful and multiply!” He talked about working on the Texas pipeline, how their landlord DIED and they had no idea the guy had died right after they made the deal. He also went to get a haircut--he was a longhaired hippie at the time---and uh, don’t make fun of the barber before you sit in his chair. “You just about lost an ear.” Turned out his dad had paid off all possible barbers in the area to get rid of ALL his hair. The supervisor on the pipeline was trying to get him fired but that didn’t happen, and his dad’s last words to Tim were, “I love you son, but I can still kick your butt.”

Antonio talked about a horse named Alizon that saved six lives when a girl got snake bit and the horse rode back and forth to get the doctor and an anecdote. Turns out the horse saved his mother’s life, and thus him and his siblings too.

Motoko was referred to as “possibly the funniest person I have spent time with” but I’m not sure who said it. She said, “I am the die hard story teller.” She told a story about hoer family and finding out that her grandfather had a concubine (“men like to diversify their portfolios”) when the lady and her son showed up at the funeral. Her mother made her promise to never mention this to anyone again. Uh-HUH. She finished with a quote from Elizabeth Ellis: you don’t get to choose what happens to you, you only get to choose how to respond.

After that, the festival ended and we hung around for a while while the tapestries were packed up, I talked to people (including the temporary insta-friend in the same situation and the guy I knew from the CC), went back to Mary’s for a bit, and then eventually said goodbye and headed back.

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