December Swap Summary

The last Story Swap of 2016 was festive and fun with lots of stories and delicious treats to celebrate another great year for Do Tell Story Swap. As Meg Brown wrapped up TELLABRATION! 2016 with a brief summary, Katy Mangan surprised her with the gift of a lovely camellia bush to thank her for her leadership as director of TELLABRATION! for the last 3 years.

To kick off the stories, Clare brought us Part 2  of her adventures in Egypt. A determination to see the Great Pyramids put her at the mercy of a lecherous guide. Clare’s loud refusal deterred the guide enough that she was able to immerse herself in the antique energy of these amazing structures. Part 3 next month!

Clare and Rosemary enjoy a winter moment.

Then Brandon took the floor to continue his story of meeting a trance master in Indonesia, and about what happened when Brandon returned to the U.S. and was plagued with panic attacks for a year. Finally, returning to the trance master, his situation was resolved as he was released from the trance he didn’t know he had been under.

Mary has told some ghost stories recently, and insists that her story of a Christmas ghost is true. A family found that the ornaments on their Christmas tree would not stay in place. In fact, during the night they could hear the ornaments smashing and being tossed about. The suspect ghost apparently didn’t like that the tree had been removed from over its grave and it was making its anger known by destroying the decorations.

Sher, dressed for the holiday, told of childhood Christmas memories with her siblings.  With delight, Sher described how she proved Santa’s existence to her littlest sister by drawing lines in the snow to show where Santa’s sleigh had landed in their front yard. Yes, there really is a Santa!

Cal’s story of the man with no luck always brings a little laughter and a big lesson about paying attention to what is right in front of you. If your eyes are not open, opportunities will be missed, and sometimes there are dire consequences.

Laurie’s story came from a recent experience waiting in a long line at the post office. Bored and with nothing to read or do, she instigated an impromptu choir of carolers among the other customers waiting for their turn at the counter. The resulting smiles, eye contact and fun was a true sign of the season.

Robin’s children inspire her to make up stories. For this winter season, a story lesson on snow was transformed into a magical sparkling experience of the imagination.

Finally, Elaine told “Luck or Intelligence?” where a sculptor, tailor and gardener compete for the affections of a beautiful mute princess. Does luck or intelligence prevail? It was great to juxtapose this story with Cal’s story about luck.

If you enjoy these story summaries, you’re in luck! Come hear more stories told live at our next Do Tell Story Swap, on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Happy New Year!


October Swap Update 2016


There is a lot happening at Do Tell Story Swap these days. We are getting ready for TELLABRATION!™ coming up on Saturday November 19th.  We’re looking for volunteers (you!) to help with publicity now, and to help at the show on November 19th. Sign up at our Swap on November 1st or email producer Meg Brown at

We are also very proud of the new business card and info post card our team has put together. We worked with Corrine Arnold at Minuteman Press – Petaluma to design great looking give away pieces for everyone to get the word about Do Tell Story Swap out to the community. Pick some up at the Swap next month.


As part of our outreach to the community, we hosted an hour of storytelling on October 1 at the Sebastopol Library.  Six Do Tell Story Swap storytellers kept the audience entertained and Meg Brown introduced each performer.  There was an enthusiastic response from listeners, many who’d not known about our Swap before now,  and the event provided a great experience for our tellers. We plan to do more of this type of outreach in the new year and hope you will join us.

At our October Swap, we enjoyed a variety of mostly true life recollections and sometimes suspenseful, dark stories this month of Halloween.

The first teller tonight, Brandon Spars, will serve as emcee at our November 19 TELLABRATION!™  He is also performing in the Grand Slam competition at West Side Stories in Petaluma on Wednesday December 7.

Brandon’s true tale brought us to remote places not found on any map, geographically, situationally, or emotionally.  Involving farfetched factors such as following his girlfriend’s whim to travel the world, then being assigned to teach in a remote Indonesian outpost, only to find it was a deserted nomadic cluster of shacks in the Jambi jungle, Brandon wove heartbreak and heartfelt connections into the story of how he became a humanities teacher.

Laurie’s story, You Can Go Home Again, touched on long lasting memories of her childhood house, and a magical return visit decades after her family had sold it.

Marjorie had us enthralled as she told of the childhood daring she and friends took on as black children bicycling to the whites-only public park in 1952 Nashville, TN.  Adventure, suspense, the shock of salt on a wound, 8 stitches to the chin:  a brave, strong and vibrant girl.

Mary was effective in both outfit (black cat t-shirt she designed and black spidery earrings) and the darkness of her tale about human-eating creatures called Obias, a dismembered dog, and eventually, redemption for an orphaned little girl.  A Halloween tale to remember!

Robin wove a story about earthlings and celestial beings and the ethereal world in between.  Along the way were berry-stained skulls, punishing parents, and starlit suspense, literally.

Clare shared a momentary anecdote about being greeted as she boarded a city bus with her guide dog, by a man who gave her a friendly bark, to which Clare and all the other bus riders replied with a chorus of “Ruff Ruff!”  Another encounter she had on the bus was with a lonely woman whose seven parrots would greet her homecoming with three words we all seek to hear: I Love You.  (Sweet coincidence: Brandon’s tale tonight had a character whose broken-English greeting was “Hello-I-Love-You”.)

Thomas had us tensed up, then laughing, as he described his first foray into bingo night run by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  With playfully punishing nuns, crazy rules and kitschy prizes, it was a vividly memorable experience!

David described, in rhyme, the history of his niece’s relationship with her husband.  While touching on difficult times, it embraced the underlying power of love that strengthened their bond.

Stories – even the dark tales — all have elements of love, connection, and hope. We hope you’ll join us at our November Swap, to be held on the first Tuesday of the month, which is November 1.  We promise, no political debates, just entertaining stories!



September Swap Summary 2016

A balmy September evening brought 25 story lovers together to tell and hear tales at our Do Tell Story Swap. The atmosphere was relaxed and casual, with stories full of fun and feeling.

Nicoline began with a sweet story of how she found love in her small French town. Love at first sight and lots of walking and cuddling led to a long and happy relationship…with her dog!

Some of Brandon’s folk were from Missouri and he spent magical times visiting there with them. This story of his grandfather, an old wrecked car, “Injuns” and Indians took us back in time, and then forward to tell of a mystery with an ironic ending.

Pat told a tale of a common girl who wanted to marry a prince. When her fairy godmother failed to show up to help, she was persuaded to marry a common man who loved her. Years later, the fairy godmother finally appeared, and the girl declined her services because she already had her royal husband.

Rosemary’s masterful telling of the Cinderella story in twisted funny language had everyone laughing! “Pinterella” is a tongue twister of a tale that really brought new life to this old tale.

Mary recited The Fairies, a poem by William Allingham. With vivid language we are told about the fairies and what happened after they stole little Bridget.

Cal told the Yugoslavian story “The Cock and the Czar.” When a man’s neighbor proved selfish, he used his clever cock to become rich. Then he turned the tables on his neighbor and wouldn’t share the riches the cock brought him.

Robin’s story about children playing king, queen and knight was a delightful window into imagination. Weapons, treasure and a thief (Robin herself) brought joy and insight into the world of the child.

Thomas recalled his experiences learning to ride the rails. Combining that with his backpacking experience, Thomas had us along for a hilarious whirlwind ride as he hopped different trains, got busted and had to deal with a heavy unwieldy pack on his way to Glacier National Park.

Dimitri’s tale of the fool who can never say the appropriate thing for the occasion was a lesson that maybe some of our candidates for office should listen to. Though very humorous, the story shows that if you don’t know the situation, you shouldn’t say anything.

Clare told a story about an ethereal being who visited her in the night and demanded her left eye. Though reluctant, she gave the being her eye which it then used for seeing beauty. When the being returned the eye, it had been transformed so that Clare now viewed life as someone else had seen it.

Rachaelanne told a tale of a man who is given a gift of beautiful glassware at a time when it was extremely valuable. Upon returning home, the man hurls all the glass objects against the wall, shattering them. The reason? He would rather break the glassware himself than have to punish a servant who might have accidentally broken it.

Katy recounted how she and her husband spent summer visits at Lake Tahoe and had an open Bronco truck at the time. During an afternoon outing, a rainstorm appeared on the horizon so they sprinted for home. Their neighbor, waiting and watching the storm, was sure they would be drenched. But they dodged the rain, much to the neighbor’s surprise.

Rosemary told of a man going on a journey with his wife’s six rice cakes to keep him fed the whole way. However, his hunger gets the best of him. He eats them all and afterwards is full. The man then says to himself, “I should have eaten the sixth cake first because that is the one that took away my hunger!”

Our next Do Tell Story Swap is October 11th. Please join us for more wonderful stories and fun!  The Swap is a non-competitive gathering for all adult and teen storytellers.

And be sure to note that our November Swap will be on Nov 1, not our usual 2nd Tuesday, due to the presidential election which takes place on the 2nd Tuesday this year.

Our Swap is scent-free for the health/comfort of all.  Thanks for taking care to refrain from wearing fragrances and scented products at our gatherings.







August Swap Update 2016

A convivial group of 19 listeners and tellers gathered for shared stories on a balmy summer evening. We heard about people and animals from Texas to West Africa, Mexico and beyond.

Katy and Laurie gave reports from having attended the recent Sierra Storytelling Festival held in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near Nevada City, California. With a casual setting in amphitheater under the trees, six excellent professional storytellers, a Slam competition, open telling, and friendly folks – a hot time was had by all!

Meg reminded us that our presentation of TELLABRATION!™ will be on November 19. Everyone who attends our Swaps and appreciates good storytelling, is invited to help spread the word and volunteer with simple tasks so that our team effort comes shining through.

It’s always great to greet “regulars” who often come to the Swap, and to welcome newcomers each month as well. Our setting is relaxed and encouraging to all tellers, beginners and more experienced alike.

Laurie started us off with her true tale, “Sweating it Out” about finding herself locked inside a friend’s car! She told this story at the Sierra Storytelling Festival Slam’s theme of escape, and tied for second place out of twelve.

Cal relayed a story called “Airport” about a series of mishaps a woman had while trying to book a flight, ending up with two lottery tickets, but no plane ticket.

Katy shared her “afterglow” feeling of love and connection in the days following her experience at the Sierra Storytelling Festival. Lovely to be reminded that stories are all about love and connection.

Mary told a charming story with what at first was a befuddling title, “How I Found a Lost Dog in My Teacup.” True life is indeed stranger than fiction.

Alicia’s story from West Africa was about a man named Cosmo and his effort to pass along his debt. In various ways, a monkey, lion, tree, and others had, then got rid of, the debt…until it came back for Cosmo.

Our host Elaine told the story of The Empty Pot, from China, in which the emperor needed to choose his successor from among the boys in his kingdom. Honesty prevailed when only one boy admitted he could not produce a thriving plant from the (sterile) seed issued by the emperor.

Before taking a break to enjoy snacks including homemade apple bars, we formed a friendly circle to introduce ourselves and state what our favorite food is. A variety of answers (surprising that only one person declared it to be chocolate!) had us smiling, nodding and licking our lips in agreement.

Cal returned to the stage with a story of comeuppance a young boy dished out to his domineering grandmother. Upon her yelling at him unfairly, he deliberately flooded the bathroom. When asked why, the boy answered reasonably, “Now I gave her something to yell about.”

Mary’s story about Cinderfeller had a magic tree that revealed the true nature of the boy and his mean stepbrothers.

After someone mentioned during our favorite food sharing that theirs was the first tomato of the season, Laurie was reminded of her own “first tomato” experience and told us about it.

Robin described having lived in the hot, dry, dusty Texas panhandle and three kinds of plant life that managed to grow there…along with the associated memories she has of what they meant: the poky poisonous plant, sweet smelling honeysuckle, and the mystery of tumbleweed.

Newcomer Patricia told about her childhood in Guadalajara, Mexico and what it was like leaving her home in a big city for her grandmother’s in the country. From fresh milk direct out of the resident cow to a myth about a monster in the lake, her visit was vivid!

Elaine told her ever-popular tall tale, “One Bullet Left” about how she learned to hunt while living in the Virginia wilderness. Believe it or not, a bear, a deer, seven ducks, a rabbit, turtle, and a bounty of trout all came her way, one way or another, by using just one bullet.

Our next Story Swap will be Tues Sept 13. Plan to come and be carried away by stories, meet and greet fun, imaginative folks, and perhaps tell us your tale.

Posted by Laurie Reaume

July Swap Summary

A long balmy summer night brought 32 story lovers to the Do Tell Story Swap on July 12th. We welcomed several newcomers who learned about the Swap from friends who come regularly, this website and in the recent Press Democrat newspaper article about live storytelling venues around the county. We are very thankful to all who help us get the word out!

Here are links: , and on our website:

Each month we ask an introductory question at the beginning so each person can say a bit about themselves. This time it was “What is the name of the street where you grew up?” We got to know each other a little better as we enjoyed recalling the place we grew up and kids we played with, from big city to small village. Definitely a fun way to share our “small” stories.

This month our special guest, sound engineer, Tim Ray, set up his professional sound equipment for the Swap. He presented a helpful tutorial on Do’s and Don’ts of speaking into a microphone. Two key tips Tim provided: stand a fist width of distance from your face to the mic; and aim your chin at the mic for best fidelity. And to avoid the dreadful screech of audio feedback, be sure to stand closely enough to the mic.  Tellers then had the opportunity to work with the mic resulting in great practice for the tellers and an excellent listening experience for everyone.

A hearty thanks goes out to Tim Ray who has donated his experience and skills each year to provide professional sound at our annual TELLABRATION!™ storytelling performance. Mark your calendar now and plan to attend this year’s TELLABRATION!™  ON THE EVENING OF Saturday, November 19 at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa.

And now, for the delightful stories heard at our July Swap! Keep reading…

Brandon Spars returned with a new telling of his story about the perils of grocery shopping when faced with machete-wielding Consuma and muumuu-wearing “flasher” Eesha. As always, Brandon’s vivid telling and animated expression, made his listeners gasp and gawk and wonder. Brandon will be emcee for this year’s TELLABRATION!™ event.

Trudy had us all sitting up straight and trying to keep a straight face with her comical alternative version of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. (In 1971, Alinsky wrote this entertaining classic on grassroots organizing.) As a former teacher, Trudy has mastered the power of emphatic hand signals and “hard-boiled” stare downs.

Katy’s suspenseful story about having hid her jewelry too well, plus needing to hide from her husband the news of a missing safe deposit box key, had some of us shaking our heads. Hasn’t something like this happened to you?

Martha wove a whimsical tale about how a group of Native American women shaped the formation of the Seven Sisters (Pleiades) and Taurus constellations in our night skies. Who knew the odor of raw onions had such influence over men?!

Newcomer Dimitri had us wondering just how a lobster could defeat a fox in a foot race. It was an animated telling of this fun folktale, proving that clever often wins over conniving.

Alicia’s tale from West Africa reminded us that even without bones, muscles, skin or breath,  no one is dead until they are forgotten. It’s a story with so much more below the surface!

Rachaelanne began telling us how Solomon came to be so wise, which involved the King of Demons who knew a lot but was unapproachable. Tantalized as we were to hear the rest of the story, it was a long one so Rachaelanne has promised to tell the conclusion at our August 9th Swap!

Laurie shared her tale of magical spontaneity when, upon spotting the season’s first figs at the market, she was inspired make a deal with the produce clerk and trade a kiss for a fig. This is what I call “fair trade”!

Clare had us laughing and scratching our heads with her ponderings about decimal points and how a single misplaced decimal can change everything. Having purchased concert tickets through a computerized system, she had first hand experience with this when a decimal point shift showed she owed $10,000.00.

Rosemary’s story about a wise rabbi and a clever wife was heartwarming and hopeful. When her husband of ten years planned to divorce his wife after he felt he’d disappointed her in not producing any children, their rabbi instructed the otherwise happy couple to have a banquet and invite everyone who had come to their wedding. The husband wanted his wife to take any memento she chose from their life before they divorced. What did she chose? Him!

Cal’s funny story, told in his understated way, was a true tale called Man VS. Coat, about a man on a first date who was determined to earn a second date with a woman he especially liked. Alas, it was not to be, due to a wrestling match he had while efforts to put on his coat left him crumpled on the floor as his date wordlessly walked away.

There were so many sign-ups for telling stories this Swap! A good problem, for sure. We didn’t have an opportunity to hear from Deer or Jessie…yet! So we are looking forward to everyone joining us for another lively session of storytelling on the second Tuesday of each month – August 9th will be here soon!




June Swap Update – 2016

June’s Swap was lively with 19 audience members who heard tales from China, Japan, and more. Stories with poignancy, suspense, humor and history connect us all by bringing heartwarming humanity to our lives.

Mary started out with a children’s story from China about two brothers and the challenge of having a multi-syllabic name when it comes to falling in a well. The story explains why Chinese children now more often have single syllable names. In case you have ever wondered why, the reason is in this story.

Cal told a tender tale about a young boy with leukemia whose last wish to become a firefighter came true with the kind help of the local fire department.

In honor of summertime’s arrival, Laurie shared about her family’s longstanding tradition of having a watermelon seed spitting contest, and the surprise delivery her father made while stepping up to the line for his turn.

Involving a young Japanese man, his dragon companion, and a quest for jewels to pay his love’s father for her hand in marriage, Rosemary told of Totorro’s creative path to getting the needed rubies.

Also from Japan, Clare’s story about deities who developed human likenesses, and how dancing, laughter and discovery of a mirror, returned light and hope to a village darkened by loss.

Laurie, returned to the stage and described the process in having composed her first song, a lullaby, then sang the lilting lyrics which captured childhood moments of pure joy.

Elaine treated us to four stories to wrap up the evening: Senor Snake, a silly, sibilant story with a “punny” punchline. Little Boy Blue, a poem about a young boy and his toys came next.  The Pickpocket, a story about two young thieves who marry and whose baby seemed to have a birth defect until they discovered the baby was just following his parent’s profession. Elaine finished with a tale of a man on the quest for truth. Thanks, Elaine – it was such a fun “mini” concert!

It’s true- we have a great time at the monthly Do Tell Story Swap! Come join us and tell your own story or just listen. No pressure, no competition, judges or scoring; we share stories for improvement and just plain old fun!

Join us July 12 for more great and entertaining stories!

May Swap Summary 2016

At our May 10th Swap, we had a lively gathering of 25 people, and 12 tellers ranging in age from 18 to 93! With our question of the month: Where were you born? we discovered that 90%+ of us are California natives. Also, at least half were born on or near Navy or Army bases, with fathers who were serving in the US military.

Special mention:
Do Tell Swapper, Brandon Spars, recently competed in the Moth Radio Hour Story Slam in San Francisco and came out the grand prize winner! He shared with us his winning story, based on the theme “Leaps.” If you’ve heard Brandon tell stories before, you won’t be surprised that this one was set in Sumatra and included a squid, monkey, bus ride and much excitement. Brandon’s recording of the story he told live to a large audience during the competition will be aired on NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour, broadcast nationwide. Congratulations, Brandon!

Other announcements: Host Elaine shared about her recent visit in Washington state with Do Tell co- founders Kenneth and Patricia Foster, where they hosted two storytelling house concerts for neighbors and friends.

Beth gave a summary of the Bay Area Storytelling Fest and acknowledged Elaine (24 years) and Martha (30 years) for their leadership and work on the festival, in particular Martha’s quilt making and coordinating.

Pat started off the evening’s telling with a humorous tale set during the Spanish Inquisition, called Debate by Sign Language, that involved mixed signals between a chicken man and the king, where both parties got their hoped-for outcome.

High school senior Liam described his harrowing encounters trying to tend aggressive chickens, in what he described as the worst and scariest job at boarding school, worse even than feeding firewood to the huge, hot boiler in the basement where rats rambled.

Pam relayed a Russian story, Sack of Diamonds, about a 100 year-old woman’s dilemma upon receiving such a gift from the king, and not knowing where to hide it for safe-keeping. Next time you gaze at a star-lit night sky, notice how those gems twinkle!

Rosemary entranced us with an ancient Japanese tale about an artist whose painting came to life; the image of a friend in a rowboat he’d painted saved his life from an evil emperor.

Katy’s imagination took off on a feel-good spring day when she imagined an operatic tenor singing just to her from the balcony of an Italian restaurant as she walked past, and in real life she made a spontaneous gesture of kindness in buying a cup of coffee – with lots of honey – for a person she met along the way.

Martha told a story from Japan about a girl mouse’s father who wanted her to marry the most powerful creature in the world. Was it the sun? clouds? the wind? No, it was the boy mouse next door whom she most wanted to marry. He could chew through walls, making him more powerful than all others.

First-time teller Clara described, in good humor, her unusual summer camp experience that turned out to be more Miss Gertrude and bible quotes than the brochure’s promised horseback rides.

Cal weaved a story about his gramma, a Swedish immigrant who landed in Utah, and his recollections about the sugar cube treats he received after finishing his chores.
Laurie relayed in poetic fashion her tribute to a remarkable, resilient and compassionate woman, who we learned at story’s end, is her own mother.
Elaine told us of an unfriendly neighbor who changed his behavior with the help of a mask, and described how the folks who thought him hypocritical were the ones who needed to peer in the mirror.

Finishing out the evening of storytelling was newcomer Rachael who, with great animation and joy, told a Russian folk tale of a traveler seeking wondrous wonders and marvelous marvels, and found them in a magical goose.

Summer is here and it’s light out late, so come on over to June’s Do Tell Story Swap on June 14th. Bring your story or just come to listen. All are welcome!

Our annual TELLABRATION!™ is coordinated by Meg Brown, who is seeking volunteers now and in the months leading to our November 19, 2016 big event. In the immediate future, we would like one or two folks to step up and help with publicity year-round for our monthly Swap and for TELLABRATION!™ The work entails submitting event info to various local websites, and on occasion, sending email or making phone calls. No long hours, research, or complicated tasks – just an hour or so every few weeks. If you are interested, please contact Meg at (707) 887-7996 or email her: Thanks!

March Swap Summary 2016

With springtime upon us we welcomed several newcomers to the audience and stage this month, and appreciated the “regulars” who always have a new-to-us tale to tell. 24 folks tuned in and enjoyed a variety of stories and telling styles.

First-timer David recited a poem, “Who Owns the Land?” which is also a book review and recommendation.

Laurie reminisced about a junior high school gym class when she choreographed a gymnastics routine to the song Bend Me Shape Me. Drama, suspense, triumph!

Clare told a tale from Northern China about straw hats, statues, and magic.
Katy described her appreciation for Gor Yaswen, a local radio host who welcomed her to tell a story on the air.

Cal’s story from India about the power of karma involved a poor man, a melon, a king, and jewels.

Newcomer Liam told a folk tale set in Vermont, where a dairy farmer plays harmonica.

Another first-time teller, Jayne, had a heart-wrenching true story about she and her nine siblings being sent in different directions when very young, and how she eventually found her mother again after age 50.

Chard had a thoughtful piece, “What If?” asking us to consider what is the one thing we have that we’d be devastated to lose? With his limited eyesight, Chard believes he has never seen more clearly.

Elias told his first story at the Swap, describing his speech as a high school senior to the student body disclosing something embarrassing about himself. As he did in that speech, he asked our audience, instead of applauding at the end of his presentation, turn to the person next to you and share something embarrassing about yourself. Powerful (and cringe-worthy) exercise!

Rosemary relayed an ancient Chinese story set during the Ming Dynasty, about a young girl who sacrificed herself to make metals merge into a perfect huge bell.

Come ring your own bell and tell us a story – it can be true, new, old, faraway, funny, or whatever you’d like it to be, up to seven minutes in length. We welcome listeners, too! Come join us for the wonder of stories!

April Swap 2016 Summary

April’s Swap brought out lots of the Swap’s favorite tellers as well as a special guest, Cathryn Fairlee. Cathryn is hosting the “MythOff” coming up May 22nd, from 4 til 6pm in Cotati. Several Do Tell Swap tellers will be participating and it is not to be missed! Details available at May’s Swap or send us a comment below for follow up.

At April’s Swap, Cathryn shared a piece from the “The Popol Vuh” entitled “Hero Twins”. With a mysterious jungle as the background, two brothers seek to conquer death. The characters and twists in the story make the lessons learned very memorable.

It is always fun to see what a teller does with a prop. Chard Lowden’s purple top hat with a pink octopus clinging to it, created curiosity and a bittersweet touch to the tale of the consequences of environmental degradation: we’ll all be living in the ocean!

Sometimes short humorous stories fit the need. Everyone should have one or two in their back pocket to tell. Martha Shogren has more than just a couple, we suspect. She told one about a forgetful couple and their doctor’s advice and another about a dog who was incredibly quick-witted when confronted by a panther. Laughs all around.

In memory of a friend who recently died, Cal Johnson told a story about a woman who wanted to be buried with a fork in her hand. At church dinners, everyone always said to “keep your fork” for the desserts and so, since she believed that the best was yet to come, she wanted to have her fork ready!

Powerful family stories told by Nicoline Leseigneur about her birthday and Alicia Bonner’s story of her grandmother’s strength are wonderful examples of telling our “histories”.

Clare Morris and Rosemary Hayes told stories of those living by the sea and the whimsical and mysterious things that happen there.  Katy Mangan told of finding the perfect yoga mat (no small feat!), and Elaine filled in the last few minutes with “The Bee and the Butterfly”.

Thank you to all our Swap tellers! Everyone is invited to tell at the Swap so come on down to share fun, laughs, thoughtfulness and camaraderie! See you at the Swap on Tuesday May 10th.



January 2016 Swap Summary

A cold winter night provided a perfect opportunity to tell and hear stories at the first 2016 gathering of the Do Tell Story Swap. Imagination, fun, and life lessons all had their places in the stories told.

Brandon started off with the sobering tale, “Once in a Blue Moon” about the tragedy of the impact from atom bomb tests upon the Bikini Islanders. It is a lesson not to be forgotten and stories are meant to help us remember.

Katy, having just visited family in England, reminded us of old traditions and superstitions. Apparently, burying a St. Joseph statue upside down on a property will help the owner sell it quickly. Katy’s brother’s family carried on this tradition with great humor as they sought to sell their farm.

Clare’s story started out rather puzzling. But as she unfolded the tale,  listeners discerned that she was doggedly describing her alter ego/transformation into her beloved canine, Leticia, who was peacefully napping at her feet.

Epics from foreign lands and distant times past are always welcome at the Swap. Rosemary’s Finnish tale about Vainamoinen, a wizard, evoked the snowy far north and the magical land of giants and songs of power.

Cal’s style of speaking in the voice of the character makes his stories come alive. In this, The Return, Cal’s character dialogs with others as he returns a gift he does not like. The twist is that, after all the effort to return the gift, his own son happens to buy it for himself!

Newcomer Laurie took us back to a 1960’s winter in Illinois, where she worked with lab rats. Her open mind allowed her to enjoy socializing them. She even thought one special rat seemed to talk to her.  Laurie’s ukulele ending was fun and upbeat.

Another first timer to the Swap, Corina brought a folk tale from Colombia that expressed the mystery of life along the rivers and the alligators that inhabit them. A common thread of folktales is transformation when a child is stolen by a mythical creature, only to become a mythical creature too.

Nicoline’s folktale featured a hummingbird hero and animals working in teamwork to quench a forest fire.  Something to take to heart.

The “other” Laurie celebrated her third year of Swap telling with a true account, “The Penny Picker Upper”.  In the bank one day, she found herself pondering…were she to pick up a penny she found on the floor of the bank, would that make her a bank robber?  Muse on that.

Elaine treated us to two stories at evening’s end. One was a favorite “tall tale” about her adventures growing up and living in the backwoods of Virginia. Self sufficient, she describes how she brings home a feast with only one bullet.

Meg requested a story she heard Elaine tell at the 2015 Sierra Storytelling Festival. Elaine told how she didn’t like school and, being a military brat, ended up in a parochial school in England. There she got to wear a uniform! But she also had to deal with nuns. The story revolves around a life’s lesson about truth telling and its consequences.

Come spark your imagination by listening to stories, and/or tell one of your own at our monthly Do Tell Story Swaps!  Our next gathering will be on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.  We would love to hear your story.  Any tale, tall or true, is welcome.  Feel free to post a comment here so that our storytelling community stays connected on-line as well as at our Swaps.