Dear Festival Organizer,
Thank you for visiting my festival information page. This is where you can learn a bit more about me, my work, and how I might bring something new to your event. Whether or not you reach out, I appreciate your time and, more importantly, the work you do to create exciting storytelling and arts events.
What follows is some of my storytelling journey. At the bottom of this page you can find links to my resumé, book, videos, and a few sources for referrals.
I grew up in a storytelling family. My mother would tell me the folktales she would later share with kids in her library, while my father would tell me stories inspired by the radio programs he heard as a boy. By the time I was ten, I was telling stories to my friends and classmates. I was invited to sleepovers mostly so I could tell scary stories.
During my high school years I spent summers with family friends in the mountains of North Carolina. There I learned how to garden, can fresh veggies, square dance, quilt, and more. When I was 15 I told my host family that I was interested in folklore and storytelling. They told me there was someone I should meet, and the next weekend we visited an older couple who lived in a wooden house with a beautiful porch and more beautiful views. The wife gave me some lemonade (I think) and I sat on the porch with the husband, who regaled me with tales about Jack and his own childhood. I didn’t know Mr. Hicks was a national treasure when I met him, nor in the subsequent summers that I visited, I only knew that this was something very special and I was lucky to know them both. Their kindness to a city kid from Philadelphia remains with me even more than the stories.
I went to Boston University where I obtained my B.A. in Folklore and Mythology, with honors. In the midst of my university years I met Brother Blue. You can imagine the impact this had on my life. At 18 I saw him performing in the streets, and at 19 I took a class with him at an adult education center. When I told my story, Brother Blue walked up to me and came very close, then locked his gaze with mine, pointed at me and said, “You have the power.” I was thrilled and baffled, not really knowing what he meant, but I knew it mattered.
I was 24 when I first told a story in front of an audience not composed of my peers. A friend told me Brother Blue was hosting a storytelling open mic and suggested I go. I was terrified. My legs were shaking and I was afraid my throat would close up, but I did it. I told a story. By the time I was done I knew that this was my path in life. I didn’t know what it would look like or how I would make it work, but I was certain that storytelling was it. It was 1993, storytelling had yet to hit broad national notice, and I didn’t care, because I could feel the pull with my whole being.
Since then storytelling has led me around the world. With a repertoire of hundreds of stories of many different kinds, I have performed, taught, and coached at festivals, theaters, conferences, in the streets and prisons, schools and libraries for all ages, and more. You can find out more about me and my work at the links below and across this website. If you are intrigued, please get in touch. I’d love to share stories with you and your guests.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read this. I wish you the best of everything.
- My resumé
- NSN Circle of Excellence
- Ugly and the Mule, family friendly, live at the Texas Storytelling Festival (audio only but recorded live)
- Fairy Tales for Grown Ups, live online concert
- Christmas Ghost Stories live online concert, 14+
- Body and Soul, recorded live for the Kansas City Storytelling Celebration, family friendly
- Crazy Jane and Red Haired Annie live online concert. Original fairy tales for modern times, unfortunately recorded in gallery mode, 14+
- Stories for the whole family, all ages, live online concert for MCPL StoryCenter
- Talk given at Ciudad de las Ideas, about storytelling. Includes a powerful story.
- When I Was A Little Girl, very funny for older teens and adults, live, in person house concert
- Casual live folktale tellings on Facebook, family friendly (started in March 2020 and ongoing, as a way to share stories for free during a hard time)
- From Audience to Zeal: The ABCs of Finding, Crafting, and Telling a Great Story, 2020 Storytelling World Award Winner
- If you’re looking for a referral please contact any of the following (they have all given their permission):
- Kevin Cordi
- Elizabeth Ellis
- Jamie Mayo (Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City Storytelling Festival)
- Loren Niemi