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: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/specialsections/5354029-181/storytelling-events-are-on-the?artslide=0 , and on our website:  http://dotellstoryswap.org/

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!