Spotlight on Storyteller Kristin Pedemonti
Today we spotlight the work of Kristin Pedemonti. In our last post we reviewed her latest book and we now are able to talk to with her more about her work.
At a time when some people are shouting to build walls, I love that you title your work A Bridge of Stories. Can you tell us how you arrived at the title?
I wanted a title that reflected bridging cultures together through the use of story, valuing indigenous and cultural stories and how that may also symbolically connect to the idea of being of service: building a bridge between peoples, skill sets and needs. I also am very aware of building bridges rather than walls and believe that story is a powerful vehicle to achieve this.
What are some stories not in the book that you wished you would have the space to include them?
Perhaps a bit more information shared about the friendships formed and the experiences I was able to be a part of by becoming part of the local fabric: for example the trip to Dangriga on the coast for Garifuna Settlement Day, where my friend Barbara dressed me in traditional Garifuna clothing, plaited my hair and included me in the parade with all her Garifuna friends. I was one of a hand full of while people in that parade and I felt deeply honored she included me as her friend and honorary family member.
Kristin, your journey is revealed in the book but it is far from over. How has this journey informed future steps?
This journey into Belize opened the doorway for several realizations: how little one truly needs to survive and thrive: learned both in selling my home and most possessions and giving so much away too. Also in seeing how little many live on and have in a material sense. People are far more important and valuable than possessions. Other doorways opened to more travel and being very open to explorations of other cultures both in storytelling/service travel to places like Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Poland, Colombia, Romania and being the first American Storyteller accepted into the Kanoon International Storytelling Festival in Iran in 2015: I am forever grateful for that opportunity. The Belize journey also opened up taking more risks like auditioning for the TED Talks Worldwide Talent Search in 2012 and being a finalist for the US in that search. It led to moving to NYC in 2008. It led in some ways to being open to working at the World Bank too!
How did your involvement in the hug campaign begin?
Free Hugs found me in November 2008 in NYC. I was invited by a group hugging to honor a photography who had drowned saving his girlfriend off the coast of Portland. That first Free Hug experience deeply impacted me as I witnessed so many complete strangers, building trust in a hug and sharing intimate details of their lives. I was forever changed and after that time began offering Free Hugs every Saturday in NYC. Over time it was once a month and I carried my sign every where I went including on all my world travels. I’ve organized Free Hugs events in 20 countries and 50+ cities. In the last several years it’s become more focused to reach out to the homeless and encourage deeper conversations. You can see my TEDx here--
If you could be a physical bridge, what would it be, where would it be located, and how would it be used?
Do you have a name for the bridge? If I could be a physical bridge it would stretch and connect beyond all borders, it would be vibrant colors and serve to connect us heart to heart and see our common humanity. It would be called The Bridge Between, We Need NO Borders. ❤
How would you write a next chapter of a follow up book?
Can you provide the first three sentences. Follow-up Book: Potential Title: A bridge between life and death…
They thought she would die, full-term and weighing only 3 pounds back in 1967, they called in the Priest to deliver last rights. Though small, she was mighty and a fighter and she persisted. She lived and here’s her story of heart, compassion and seeking to serve others to suffer less, see their own shine and realize they are enough just as they are made.
You can order her book by clicking on the link:
For more about Kristin’s work check out her website at https://storytellerkp.com
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Be sure to check out his latest book Playing with Stories and find out more about how to use play in your writing, telling, and more. Subscribe to this blog to learn more about storytelling practices and spotlights on innovative telling and tellers.