Friday, March 21, 2008

Storytelling: A sharing of experiences

It's Easter 1961, and my sister and I receive our new patten leather shoes to go with our new dresses. Our dresses are in the same colours as always, purple for her and green for me. Asked why we had these colours Mom replied, "Green for your eyes and purple for your sister's bold nature."

How and why these determinations were made were not explored.

Holidays can give us more time to reflect. Reflect about a time, a place, a moment when you were entrenched into a story. Take a moment and think back. Think back to a time when you sat quietly listening to someone telling you a story.

Step into that moment. Now look into the eyes of the teller. It may have been your mother or perhaps grandmother answering a question you posed or explaining a particular event about the family and its origins. Try and visualize where you were and what was going on around you. Can you hear the words spoken?

The imagary playing before you are scenes from a life, a life that belongs to your history, your family, they are your familore. These s
cenes might describe how you came to be part of this family, who you take after and what caracteristics you have that connect you to that member.

Other scenes may tell of moving to a new town, starting a new job and even resettling back home and what it meant to the family.

These and other stories make up familore. Through the telling of these stories we gain invaluable insights into our history, our past and in a way our future.

So the story goes,

Monday, March 10, 2008

Women Authors: Storyteller or Visionary

March continues to mark women's contribution around the world and in all facets and disciplines. International Women's Day March 8th is simply a launching pad to women's contribution.

As a librarian, I am surrounded by the efforts, triumphs and successes of women authors everyday. Who tells the best stories? That depends on your
preferences. Who writes the best stories? That depends on your perspective.

Women authors are tellers of their stories.

Two women stand out in the past twelve months for their storytelling abilities. I finished reading "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory. The journey led me to an enjoyable tryst into the lives of a handful of people who became entrenched in the history of England and the monarchy. It was well told, reasonably researched with a touch of spicy and titillating scenes. Gregory takes you where she wants you to go.

J.K. Rowling astounded us with the culmination of her adventures. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" will remain,for some time to come, a right of passage for young readers interested in venturing out on a quest. Making new friends and being there for each other. Becoming in the end what you were meant to be.

Bring your stories to bear on your experiences. Tell them and share them,

Become the voice of your life,

Sunday, March 2, 2008

International Women's Day : Women and the oral tradition

Listen to your grandmother talk about when she came to this country and you will hear stories that are unique. Entertain your mother with questions about how she met and fell in love and you will hear tellings of love, passion and youthfulness. Take the time to spend an evening with your sister. Share with her an initimate moment in your life and soon you will be taking your place in the sea that is womanlore.

The stories that keep families together remain the most powerful and the least known of all the stories. As women we are expected even requested to keep these stories that are uniquely our families' alive for the next generation and the next after that and so on. Why are these life affirming experiences important?

Every family has a voice of its own, the way in which it interprets the world around it. The very ebb and flow of a family and its stories require a recorder, a person to keep these stories vibrant and remembered. The women in your family know this, just ask.

International Women's Day March 8th reminds us of the tradition and the power given to women in keeping our histories, our stories and sharing these with our families. Consider your family stories and celebrate