Storytelling and Mark Twain
2019-10-13, 10:27 p.m.
recently on Chaos Attraction
Today I went to the local storytelling festival that Ed puts on (I would like to note that he bragged that he and Angela were in the show last night, but not me... I know he’s friends with her and all, but come on, dude). Diane Ferlatte, who I saw at Sierra a few years ago, did the workshop in the early afternoon. The usual folks attended, and it’s always fun to reunite with them. She called it “Bringing Stories to Life” and acted out a children’s storybook called “Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge” (she got permission from the author to do it), which she only does in workshops. It’s about a kid who hangs out at an old folks’ home and when he hears that his favorite is losing his memory, asks everyone else what a memory is, and then makes a basket of memory items for her, which works (oh, how I wish that did IRL).
She talked abut emotions and feeling and that being the most important element in story, to feel what the characters are feeling. “I’m open enough to let them come through me.” Dialogue lets characters come out.
She had you write down 5 names you’ve been called in your life, pick one, and then tell it to two other people along with the story of the name. I said “sweetie” because Mom always calls me that when she’s running late, or otherwise telling me something she knows I don’t want to hear, so it’s a red flag thing for me. Later she had us go up and retell someone else’s story as yourself. I didn’t feel comfortable doing that, and I wasn’t real impressed with the guy who did mine because he substituted in his own stuff. I didn’t say anything about that though, it seemed mean.
Everyone’s favorite line: “And from then on, they called me the Shitster.” This was from someone who had to live in a sorority house and said “oh shit” at something.
Diane: “That’s all anybody wants, is validation.”
Then we finished by having to get into groups of three and act out a short story. I got bored of this very quickly but it dragged on for 20 minutes. Then again, “get a partner” and “get into a group” are some of my least favorite words ever.
As for the show, Diane is normally a folk tale person and doesn’t really seem to like real life stories so much (“I hardly ever tell personal stories”), but she almost entirely did real life ones this time, which I really liked actually.
She has a decorated stick that she uses in her shows. “This stick came from Home Depot,” which she had decorated and cut into three pieces so she can easily stick it in luggage. And while she can’t play any instruments, “I can play me a stick.” I should probably mention that she came with a “musical sidekick” (per the flier) on guitar.
First off she did a story about Adam and Eve and how Adam ended up with more strength to boss Eve around, but Eve got keys and locks to lock him out of the kitchen and bedroom. I did not like this story too much, for obviously not equal reasons.
Then she did a story about going to a storytelling festival in Austria with a female friend of hers, JJ, and how the two of them and their guide got into an altercation with some assholes. The guide got kicked, Diane ran for the police, and JJ offered to get into a fight with the guy and was all, “come at me!” Later on someone offered to get them a drink. JJ said yes, Diane said she didn’t drink because “Can you see me with a drink? I’m goofy enough.” (Hah, that’s my logic for not smoking pot.) Sadly, JJ got cancer and died within a year of that. What a bummer.
My favorite story of hers for the day was when she got a coupon/gift certificate thing for the Claremont Spa and Hotel (previously mentioned here at Thanksgiving) from her daughter for Christmas and didn’t use it. Three years later, her daughter forced her to actually sign up for it. She was hella uncomfortable parking between BMW’s when “I was in my hooptie” (note that she describes a hooptie as “might get you there, might not”).
I would like to note that the guitar player was playing “The Girl From Ipanema” off and on throughout this.
She doesn’t like having to get undressed in her non fancy underwear. She of course is the only non white person in there. She gets to talking with the other ladies waiting in there and is all, “I’m here on a coupon.” The other ladies are all, “Me too!” to this. Don’t judge on appearances, she thinks. Then someone else walks in and recognizes her and is all, “She’s famous!” Diane’s reaction is “Shut up! I’m not!” and is called “Miss Rich and Famous” every time the fourth lady walks by.
The massage ends up being late because of a computer error, so they tell her the day is free and she can use the coupon later.”Three years later...this time I didn’t feel so out of place.” D’awwwww.
Then she told the story of her friend Jackie Torrance’s last appearance at Jonesboro before dying and then the story she told at the funeral about a guy named Mose who goes to heaven and is told not to fly loop de loops and gets kicked out.
After that, Angela went again, telling a story about a phoenix. Next up was Emily of Empire Arts (previously mentioned here, she was the lady who won the night with her epidural made me high story. I wrote down much better details this time, like the fact that after 10 years of trying to conceive, somehow she didn’t find out she was pregnant until six months in (whaaaat? and also, how?) and how giving birth was “exactly like the movies.” and “You can’t just walk around with broken water, it’s a health hazard,” and after her husband went out for French fries, “You have to throw those French fries away! That’s the point where he knew I was serious.” Then they offer to shoot her up with something or other. I forget what, but “it’s like heroin. You’ll still feel pain, you just won’t care any more.” LIES, she said. Then eventually she got the epidural, it got her high and all she could say to her baby was, “Oh, right, a baby,” and “I know you.” Which her dad said too.
Ed is still obsessed with that night, I see.
Dave Tarvin returned to tell the story of his grandmother’s supposedly magic thimble, which supposedly made her the most famous quilter in the area. Some lady named Dorothy thought the thimble would make her the best, so the grandmother gave it to her, but the thimble did not improve her quilting skills, so Dorothy gave it back. Grandmother gave it to 9 year old Dave instead, telling him to give it to his future wife. Young Dave of course leaves it in a box for 35 years until he remembers it again after a breakup, finds it, and brings it to a jeweler friend of his to ask him to do something with it. The jeweler turned it into a locket that Dave wears every day, and now he has a girlfriend to put into it. Awwww.
Ed told the kidney stone story from last night.
Diane returned to talk about how she got diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2011 and she has chemo all the time, but is still alive. She mentioned a “play daughter” of hers she adopted that’s going for her PhD, but after seeing the girl count on her fingers, refers to it as “Pretty Hair Do.”
Diane then told this story, which as an astronaut nerd, I loved (also, called it as to who it was about by the time she mentioned that young Ron was reading about airplanes), and also retold the book Little Miss Giggles. She mentioned that on a chemo week, someone wanted her to tell this story, and she needed the laughs back herself.
While walking around in the greenbelt tonight, I saw the following:
A house decorated for Halloween with the following:
* An orange kitten. It was very cute. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the previously lost orange kitten with the weird name I can’t remember how to spell, but this one had a nametag of Ollie. I hope he was in the vicinity of home.
* I also saw another lost pet sign for Josie the yellow lab dog. (I wonder if that particular section is just like, Lost Pet Notice Land or something. Same spots the other one had signs on.) I took a shot of the poster and emailed St. Francis the picture and asked him to find the lost dog. We’ll see if the signs are still there next time I wander through. I dunno when that will be though.
Really, I just sent an email to myself addressed to “Dear St. Francis.” This is per the Mark Twain theory mentioned in Robert Moss books about how if you want to hear from someone, write them a letter (or just think about it, in the case of this link) and then you don’t actually have to try to send it to them directly, just kind of stick it out into the universe sending it wherever and then you hear from them. This has at least worked with regards to some folks I’ve wanted to hear from, if not everyone. When I was in a snit about trip and meetup plannings last month and was sick of nagging folks, I tried this by writing email drafts and not hitting send. I heard from 2 out of 3 groups I wanted to get back to me, so.... 2/3 worked, I guess.
From the man himself: “With me the most irritating thing has been to wait a tedious time in a purely business matter, hoping that the other party will do the writing, and then sit down and do it myself, perfectly satisfied that that other man is sitting down at the same moment to write a letter which will "cross" mine. And yet one must go on writing, just the same; because if you get up from your table and postpone, that other man will do the same thing, exactly as if you two were harnessed together like the Siamese twins, and must duplicate each other's movements.”