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  • Writer's pictureKevin Cordi

Reflections of a Listener/Teller


In studying and sharing stories and learning from others about the art of storytelling for over 27 years, I have noticed there are transitions to storytelling awareness. When I was much younger, I was not ready to listen to certain stories because I did not do the homework to understand them. Stories from Ireland, First Nations, Iraq ...can not be judged, evaluated based on an American sense of story. Beginnings can change, endings can be longer, shorter and the language and culture behind the tales are worth study. However, when I was younger, I was not ready, it was not the story that I did not understand, it was me who needed to understand the story requires more than a retelling.

As I grew older and attuned my ear to stories, I realized that each cultural tale, not always, has a different rhythm, pulse for the tale. As I travel and listen to native tellers of the countries that the story first live, I noticed the cadence, the tone, and the telling. I listen and this helps me tell.

I have so much more to learn. I started telling folktales and fairytales and I still do. However as a youth teller once said, "Every story has a little bit of you in it." I see myself in the tales that I tell. It also took awhile to realize that my stories are worth listeners. I began to write, design, play, and re-design my stories using oral practice to find the voice.

There is power in the personal. I have seen a new movement in storytelling and value that the voices are reaching more audiences. People will take time to listen. I continue to learn that we can regulate our telling by limiting our vision. The personal, the folk and the fairy contribute to the personal.

I began to listen stronger to my parents and my brothers and sisters that lived and shared experiences with me and realized that my telling is not their telling. They can add to the tapestry of the personal.

Now I play more and find and develop stories better because of it. I work hard to do my homework and also accept that my stories are different than others. I don't worry about big stages, however, I have had the pleasure of sharing them. But I also value small spaces where intimacy of story is further revealed.

Story is not only for telling, it is for making spaces for narratives to occur. These narratives need not have a goal to be performed, but instead illuminate the meaning making that comes from rich or thick narratives.

Lastly, I value more story spaces and silence. I see and slow down to make story spaces more present in my and others lives. I love this art, but also science, know as story making and telling. I value using rich narrative to make connections. I see this world from a story lens and you know it is much brighter that way.


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