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.