Story behind the story


This isn’t going to be a very long entry or anything - no worries there - but I always find it interesting what the children who visit my shows are most interested in.  I constantly get the questions about how I learned how to juggle.  Truth is, I taught myself how to juggle and for no other reason than I could.  I taught myself in one afternnon while working in my preschool classroom.  I was years away from even thinking about being a storyteller - but something compelled me to figure out how to juggle.


I was finishing up a game of bullseye with the kids - we were using bean bags and throwing them through holes, or “bullseyes” - and I was holding onto three of the bean bags.  As the little ones ran off to different areas I was overseeing the classroom and thinking about how I could juggle the bags in my hand.  I tried to break it down in my head - it’s simple, I thought, just throw a bean bag up in the air and before I catch it throw the one in my other hand up.  Catch the first bean bag and then throw the bag in my other hand up before catching the one in the air.  I continued to think how simple it seemed in my head… and then I tried it.

 more fun at truro

I dropped all three bags on the floor.  I picked them up and tried again.  I dropped only two - but was still no where NEAR learning how to juggle.  But I tried again.  One of the kids asked me what I was doing and I told him trying to learn how to juggle.  The boy went back to coloring, not really interested in watching me drop and then pick up any more bean bags, and I continued to try and try again.

I am not sure how many times it took me to figure it out.  I know it was about 3:00 when I started and I did one jug (that’s what they call one round of juggling) before I went home at 5:30.  I am not sure how many times I picked up those bean bags and tried to catch them in my hands - but I do know I did not give up.  I continued to try until it made sense to me and I could juggle with confidence.

Ready to Juggle!

So, when people ask me how I learned how to juggle - I simply tell them - Don’t give up.


I never went to my own prom - but I went to plenty of them… here was my favorite tuxedo out of the bunch.  This was my famous Tux shorts with Sketchers sneakers.  A classic for sure!  I think the lapels were non-existence on this tux - and as you can tell - a full shag on the dome.  Styling myself in the morning is WAY easier now :)


max and charlie 

The beautiful puppets I use are amazing.  I don’t even need a theater to conceal myself - when I bring out the puppets all eyes are on them!  But after 8 wonderful years of telling stories with them it has finally happened.  I need to replace them.  I need to get new “friends”, and even though they are just puppets, it’s still a little sad.  It’s like they have a personality of their very own.  But I know I need new puppets…

During one storytelling, as I brought out the dog puppets, Edgar, the little black puppy, shook his head and all of a sudden his eye popped off!  It went bouncing across the floor and landed right in front of a little girl who picked it up and just held onto it until the story was done.  After I put Edgar and Uncle Charlie down I walked over and the little girl handed me the eye.  But, I’m telling you, that could’ve gone a lot worse!

If anyone is interested in what company makes the puppets that I use, or would like to buy some of them themselves - you can go to - great puppets that last a long time even after constant use!  And I am living proof!

Lastly, if any school, library, or fan is interested in my taking my old puppets off my hands please email me at - Thanks, Big Ryan