Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Heritage: A treasure trove of stories

Heritage Day! What comes to mind when we hear it? Some of us envision the past, horse drawn carriages, a pristine forest, a one room school house. There is so much more.
Its the stories.

"Friends, Romans, countryman lend me your ears". Old, but good stuff. Everyone is from somewhere, everyone has connections that are not easy to locate, not handy maybe not even still present. But the stories survive.

No matter where your family is, no matter when you last spoke with them, there are stories of the distant past, stories from last year's Thankgiving diner, stories that will continue if you share them with yourself and others.

I worked on a project entitled "The Being Here Project". It was meant to identify the families that had emmigrated to Ontario between 1900 - 1987. These threads in time told of escape from war, flight to freedom, dreams of futures not yet imagined.

You and I are made of these stories. Begin by writing them down, short notes that jog the memory then start to speak to those who can expand on your recollection. Through this process you will begin a journey through life that is done from where you are right now.

Heritage Day 2008! Make this year your start!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Voice: The Storyteller's Tool

Words give birth to thoughts and sounds escape through the teller.
A whisper carries a feeling, a shout resounds with volume.
A scream unleashes joy, fear or confusion.

Storytelling defines us, exlains our reality and breaths into our very essence a connection to our past, present and future. Have you ever asked yourself who are we, what are we and what will we become. These questions have been asked by cynics, poets, philosophers, lovers, dreamers, artists and most people I know.

The storyteller shares with their audience their energies. One hundred years or ten years and the life experiences remain similar, united, repeating mistakes and remembering triumphs. What they convey is articulated in the voice.

February is Black History Month.
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), folklorist and storyteller par excellence appreciated sound and breath. In her book "Their Eyes were watching God" you not only hear the words but feel the sounds.

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