The Newsletter of the Story Circle of the Capital District
Publisher: Claire Nolan 11 Norwood
Street Albany, NY 12203 (518) 209-6477
Visit our web site
December 2007 – January
The story of your life
is not your life it is your story
Story Circle Business News
October at GPL – facilitator – Joe Doolittle
Stories told by
Claire Nolan, Fran Combs-Burger, Adam Hoffman Eric Randall and two women whose
names I do not have. (Editor’s note, October Meeting Notes were not received
in time for publication.)
Nolan, Kate Dudding, Nancy Marie Payne,
November at Colonie – facilitator Louise Koenig
Groper "The Little Duck"
Koenig "If You Like Nightmares, Travel Today"
Barbara Cullum and Bess Arden
Meetings run from 7:00 to 9:00
p.m. at the William K.
Sanford Public Library and 6:00
to 9:00 p.m. at the
Guilderland Library. Every other month, from 6:15 to 6:45
at Guilderland, we will have a topic for panel/roundtable discussion.
date change for December -Tuesday December 18 - Nancy Payne facilitator
OPEN MICS in Saratoga – New dates!
in new dates to tell stories in Saratoga!
Saratoga open mic will now be on the Second
Wednesday of each month.
On Wednesday, December 12, 7:00
pm. Signups to tell stories
at 6;45. We hope to see you at Woodlawn Commons. The audience is
warm, hospitable, and enthusiastic. The cookies and
punch are delicious. And the stories we all tell--inspiring, funny,
touching, always interesting--are the best part of all. Come and tell or
come and listen. FREE!
Broadway in Saratoga, turn West on Church St.
right on Seward St. (if you get as far as the hospital,
you've gone one block too far).
right again on Clement St. (at the 2nd stop sign)
for Hospice. Woodlawn is the big yellow building nearby. (156 Lawrence St.)
2, 5:00 Pm to 8:00 PM Jeannine Laverty & Joe Peck:
"Stories for the Season(s): Seed Catalogues, Stockings and Cows on Skates”
Storytelling Dinner Series Continues Its Ninth Season.
Don't miss Story Sundays at the Glen Sanders Mansion, 1 Glen Avenue, Scotia, New York,
Cost $27/person, menu options: London Broil, Chicken Normandie, Vegetable Stir-fry,
Or call Kate at (518)
384-1700 or email email@example.com
Our ninth season!
It's not often you can hear two farmers from Saratoga Springs telling stories on stage. Jeannine
Laverty, master storyteller for many years, was raised on a farm in Iowa and has recently re-visited farming -
Community Supported Agriculture – from which she has found many new sories. Joe
Peck has been a dairy farmer for nearly 50 years. He was raised on his
family's farm near Saratoga
Springs, where he still
lives and works. He loves to share stories about his life there. Their
storytelling is a shared experience between the listeners and the teller that
combines the intensity of a one person play with the intimacy of a one-on-one
conversation. Story Sundays is produced by the Story Circle of
the Capital District www.timesunion.com/communities/storycircle.
Thursday, from 4-6pm.
Bairbre McCarthy, Storytelling and Book signing on, at the NY
Folklore Society, Gallery of Folk Art, 133 Jay St., Schenectady, NY. Telephone : 346 7008. Bairbre will
tell stories and sign copies of her books and CDs. This event is sponsored by
the NY Folklore Society and is part of Downtown Schenectady's evening of
"Magic and Melodies."
December 16 Sunday 7:30. “Frank-Lee
Speaking” at the 8th Step at Proctors in Schenectady. Solstice Program presented
by Kim and Reggie Harris and Magpie. Doors open at 7 pm.
Tickets are $21.00. For more information and to purchase tickets
for this delightful evening go to the 8th Step website: www.eighthstep.org.
February 1, 2 and 3 -- Jeannine Laverty's Annual Winter myth workshop will
be at the Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, NY. Mark your calendars now and stay tuned
for more details. Call Jeannine at 518-587-8932 to hold your place.
evenings March 5, 12, 19 2008 7-9 p.m. Marni Gillard will once again
present a workshop for the Consultation Center. The classes are held at the Pastoral Center, 40 N. Main Ave. in Albany
(parking available off street) Cost $35 (before 2/27) or $40 for the series.
Call 518-489-4431 to register. The topic is Stories That
Lift The Spirit: We carry within us memories, folktales, scriptural
images, even poems that feed our spirits and give us the courage and calm we need
to keep walking
the path. Marni will tell some tales and we'll work in partners to find and
share the tales within that can serve us and the world. Bring a poem,
passage or you especially love or just come open to looking within.
March 8 10
a.m.- 5 p.m. Marni
returns to Still Point Retreat Center (near Saratoga Lake)
for a workshop entitled Celtic Guidance: From Irish Tales to Inner
Landscapes. Marni will share tales from ancient Ireland and help participants explore how stories reverberate in us
today. Drawing from a variety of tales, we'll journey into the mystical hills
of Ireland and our own fertile inner lives. You don't
have to be Irish to find yourself in Celtic tales. Bring a journal or notebook,
a favorite poem, photo, or object and your willingness to open to the Truth
that lies within. Cost $65 includes vegetarian lunch. For more information,
contact Still Point
at or call 518-587-4967.
March 15 Women’s Symposium at Fulton-Montgomery
Community College. Marni, one of many presenters
offering workshops on women’s health, spirituality, and history, will share
insights on the power of telling life stories and give participants a chance to
tell to a partner. For more information contact Carol Cownie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 30, 2008 - Celebrating Tom Weakley at Lena's -
After years of talking about it Tom Weakley says he's really going to
retire. Some of us thought it fun to use the excuse to draw him onto the
stage one last time. (He maybe carrying a "going out of business"
sign!) The program will be a benefit for FINCA International, the group
which has fought poverty in the third world for the past 20 years by
granting small loans to women. That may or may not inform Tom's Stories
that night, although we're prepared for him to tell anything he likes.
Hold the date! Details to follow!
Late Spring 2008 TBA Marni will once again host nationally known
STORYTELLING TEACHER and LIFE COACH Doug Lipman at a long weekend for 8
tellers, teachers, or artists in any field. Each participant receives three
opportunities to be coached on a story, writing, song, project, or issue
related to education or artistry. Participants in any field interested in using
storytelling more effectively are welcome. The weekend is life-changing. Early
registration is $427. The early bird deadline is not set yet since we’re still
settling on the exact date. There is an additional food fee of $50 which covers
dinners, breakfasts and snacks. Returnees receive an additional discount of
$30. Free housing for out-of-towners. Contact Marni (518-381-9474 or email@example.com) for more details.
8 2-4 pm. Bairbre
McCarthy, Storytelling and Book Signing at Celtic Treasures, 456 Broadway in Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Telephone : 518 583 9452. Bairbre will tell stories from her latest
book, The Keeper of the Crock of Gold, published last month in Ireland by Mercier Press. It is a hard-covered
book, and includes 10 original leprechaun stories, beautifully illustrated by Czech
artist, Oldrich Jelen. Borders in Ireland has chosen it as their
children's book of the month.
19--Tales ‘n Tunes (Carol
Connolly and Don Darmer) will perform at the D.R. Evarts Library, Athens, NY. The family concert: "Holiday
Celebrations Around the World," is free and open to the public.
945-1417 for time and
As some of you have heard, Story Circle is going to become the Resident Storytelling
Company at Proctors! To read about this exciting development,
including Word Plays, the first storytelling series there for adults, and how
you can be a part of it, please see
. NOTE: if you want to nominate yourself as a teller for Word Plays, the deadline
News from Marni:
’I am just back from a week in ISRAEL. I traveled as a pilgrim with a group of
23 including Fr. Kofi Ntsiful-Amassah, pastor of the Black Catholic
Apostolate at St. Joan of Arc Church in Menands.
I talked Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi, a storytelling friend, into going
along and that added immeasurably to my delight. We laughed and cried and
simply felt a profoundly deep sense of walking in the Bible stories we’ve heard
all our lives. We walked the streets of Nazareth and Cana, rode across the Sea of Galilee and climbed the hill where Mary and her
cousin Elizabeth met when they were both pregnant. We carried a large cross
through the streets of Jerusalem, retracing Jesus’ journey to his death and
saw remnants of his tomb, housed now in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We
climbed the mountain of the Beatitudes, taxied up to where the Transfiguration
took place (where Moses and Elijah appeared as figures of light alongside
Jesus) and walked up to the source of the Jordan where He once took his apostles
to get away and to ask them, “Who do people say that I am.” You could really
feel a sense of Jesus as a man like Gandhi or King with a message of peace,
love and forgiveness that his contemporaries didn’t get. I felt his deep
discouragement in so many places – the Garden of Gethsemane of course, but also in Nazareth and Capernaum where those who
knew him the best couldn’t see him as a prophet, let alone a messiah.
The land is alive with metaphor and lessons for our times with the Palestinian
refugee problems and Jews wishing only for a land where they can pray, study,
and thrive. Our guide was a 35 year old Palestinian mom of a 10 month old, sad
to leave her baby for days on end, but so grateful to be employed. In Bethlehem, Bethany, and Jericho, places mostly populated by Palestinians,
we saw examples of refugee settlements. We also toured Bethlehem University
which is about half Muslim and half Christian. The college kids had lots to say
about the political situation. They were so grateful to be having access to a
university education but many feared they wouldn’t find work once they
graduated. There was sadness but also a wonderful energy and joy everywhere
Since her return
to the states, Lorraine says she’s been looking closely at Luke’s gospel and
finding the parables and "short stories" about Jesus are like Zen
koans. Last summer Paula Weis from the interfaith storytelling circle lent me
“A Land Twice Promised” by storyteller Noa Baum, born and raised in Jerusalem. In her DVD performance she tells both
sides of the Jewish-Palestinian story from the point of view of 4 women. While
in Israel, I felt like I was walking the story Noa tells. I highly
recommend that DVD available at http://noabaum.com/index.php?page=resources.
I recommend any
journey to a place where you can “walk in stories.”’
Dues are Due!
Circle dues are due in January. Dues are $10.00 per person.
By paying dues, you are listed on the Story Circle Membership List,
are eligible to be included in our Roster of Tellers, receive
bi-monthly issues (by snail mail or email) of our newsletter, the
Talespinner, and are eligible for a discount on SCCD sponsored workshops with
national tellers. So, mail your dues to Carol Connolly Carol Connolly, 1100 Niskayuna Road, Niskayuna,
NY 12309. Use
the form in the
A review of Tellabration November 18, 2007
By Adam Hoffman
an amateur storyteller, interested in the spinning of yarns for fun and as a
way to pass the time, has its unique advantages. For one, I’ve become aware of
the styles and habits of local professional storytellers. Some I know by first
name (though I do have the habit of forgetting those names at times). At the
same time, I still approach much of the storytelling scene from the outside, as
an audience member. So it was on November 18 of 2007 that I set out to see my
first Tellabration. Tellabration, held every November, is one of the biggest
yearly events in storytelling circles. It is held around the world to help
fund local storytelling programs. So, with plenty of lead time, Mapquest
directions and slightly conflicting directions from my father, I headed off in
the direction of Schenectady and the First Unitarian Society. Naturally, I got
lost on the way. When I finally found my way there, I was surprised at what I
saw. I had expected a pretty good turnout, but there were many more people
than I had expected. Perhaps my expectations were colored by having only been
to monthly Story Circle meetings, where there are considerably fewer people (of
course, it seems obvious in retrospect that more of the public would naturally
be interested in hearing stories than telling their own). The place was a
flurry of activity. People I knew and people I didn’t know where rushing
around, meeting people, setting up the sale table with books and CDs, setting
up tables with refreshments for intermission, taking raffle tickets and so on. It
was quite a sight to see. Eventually, the room settled down, the lights dimmed
and the program began in earnest. Joe Doolittle was the first to come
on stage as one of the co-Masters of Ceremonies, introducing us all to what was
designed to be a night of stories made to make people laugh, the second half of
his introduction being delivered while wearing a rather nice, red clown nose.
First up was Frances
Combs Berger, telling a story from her youth highlighted by the humor that comes
from sibling relations. She was followed by a rather touching story delivered
by Betty Cassidy. Next up was Margaret French, telling a story
of a vacation gone awry. This story was delivered with such calm, quiet wit
and deadpan brilliance it would have made Bob Newhart jealous that someone was
using his own style of comedy so well. After that, Kathleen Gill
presented a humorous, modernized take on the European folk tale of the Straw
Ox. I’m led to think that if any of the major movie studios need help with
scripting their various movies poking fun at and updating classic folk and
fairy tales, they may as well give Kathleen Gill a call. I’d imagine she’d be
just as good as many of the people working for Dreamworks. Last up on the
roster before intermission was Marni Gillard with an old Irish
folktale. Now, these next statements are not meant as a slight to any of the
other storytellers I know. Also, my opinion may be colored by the fact that I
once spent one whole Story Circle alone with Marni Gillard just telling stories
and letting the critique process fall by the wayside for a night. However,
there are few people I know who embrace the sheer joy and fun of storytelling
like Marni Gillard does. Our emcee expressed the fact that he was unsure if
someone could actually make a story entitled “The Corpse Watchers” into a
humorous tale. I was pretty sure that if anyone could do it, it would be
Marni. I was right. Marni’s delivery of the story perfectly enhanced the more
absurd elements of the story and didn’t let the creepy parts overtake them.
She would often go down into the audience and talk directly to the audience,
getting reactions ranging from the confused to the comical.
was intermission. As is usually the case with intermissions, I ate too much of
things that I generally shouldn’t have eaten at all. At least it tasted good.
Upon returning to the program, we were met with a new co-emcee, Kate Dudding,
and the bad news that storyteller Nancy Marie Payne was under the
weather and couldn’t make it. We needn’t have worried though, seeing as Kate
herself chose to step up and fill in with her own story. Now, what I know of
Kate’s material largely stems from her love of history and her desire to craft
stories from it. I was in for a pleasant surprise when she told a Syrian story
that I’m pretty sure never appeared in a history book in any form. Though, I’m
pretty sure that many of the people who’ve known her longer than I have would
have known the depth of her material better and probably not have been quite so
surprised with the stories she’s capable of telling. My experience probably
just scratches the surface. The night continued with three great
storytellers. Claire Nolan told a humorous tale of the pitfalls of
married life inspired by her parents. Karen Pillsworth told a Native
American folk tale spun to have her own humorous interpretation. The event
wrapped up with a personal story from Christie Keegan, reflecting the
humor that can only come from the troubles of falling in love and growing up.
was satisfied with all the stories I had heard and with the discovery that the
program had gone on an hour more than it was originally advertised on the flyer
I had gotten. Oh, well. I’ll be prepared next time. There will be a next
time. I had such a blast this time that I’d have to try it again. Maybe I’ll
even try to bring someone else along. The one thing I hope is that next time I
won’t end up getting lost on the way there and on the way back like I
did this time.
Thanks Adam and to all -
See You Next Time!
meetings are held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the 3rd Tuesday or Wednesday of the month
alternating between Tuesdays in odd numbered months at the William K. Sanford
Library and Wednesdays in even numbered months at the Guilderland Public
The Guilderland Public Library is located at 2228 Western Avenue,
Guilderland, 1/2 mile west of Rte. 155 on the south side of Western Avenue.
William K. Sanford Library
is located at 629 Albany Shaker Road, just off Northway Exit 4, and 1/4 mile
east of the intersection of Wolf Road and Albany Shaker Road on the left side.
18* Round Table and Holiday
Meeting (GPL) – 6:15 – 9:00 Nancy Payne Facilitator *Note Date Change!*
) I want to be a member of Story
Circle, enclosed is a check
for $10.00 for the newsletter and a roster of members. Renewal January of each
) List my name among performing storytellers for referral.
) Send my newsletters via US mail.
) Send my newsletters via Email.
renewals are due each January and are good for one year. Please make checks
payable to “Story Circle” and send to Carol Connolly,
Niskayuna Road, Niskayuna, NY 12309