A lot of people ask me if I’ve had any training in Dramatic Arts or if I’ve ever taken Alligator Up Closeworkshops to learn to do what I do.  The answer is no.  I’m not saying that you wouldn’t learn to be a better storyteller by taking classes or workshops (in fact, I wish I had more time so I could attend workshops) but I, personally, have never been taught by anyone to tell a story.  It was something that I could do naturally.

I will share some thoughts on the subject of storytelling because I have some thoughts worth sharing.  These are my own personal beliefs and they are to be taken as so.  If they inspire you to try your hand at telling you own tales (be it to your children or to a room of complete strangers) then I’m glad this little checklist helped.

  • My first thought is simply this: Have Fun.  It’s a simple thing to do really, just open up a book and start reading each character with a different, goofy voice.  East lThat’s fun in itself.  Or try to act the book out.  Remember, most of the time you will be telling stories to young children.  Children LOVE to be silly, and they love it even more when adults can be silly with them.  If you don’t want to be silly, don’t want to read a book, your feelings will shine through and your audience (even if it’s an audience of one) will pick up on it.  They will have just about as much fun as you.
  • My second thought: Be careful of what you read.  This is essential, not only to the enjoyment of the audience, but to what kind of message that you are sending to them as well.  If you tell a story about a child who cuts their own hair and everyone loves it (which is a real storybook) then you may be planting ideas that might be misunderstood and acted upon.
  • My third thought: Find out what your audience wants to hear about.  Children are at a delicate time in their lives where they are just learning about their feelings in a real way.  They are expressing themselves and trying to be heard.  When they get angry they mayc+e lash out and hit someone - then they hear “Don’t hit.” But no one has validated how they feel.  “It’s okay to be angry, but let’s find another way to deal with our feelings other than hitting.”  Some children’s literature focuses on these very important issues.  Learning what your children are dealing with and then finding stories that they can relate to is a step in the right direction to finding out what your audience wants to hear.
  • My last thought: Make the best out of the time you have.  Your children will grow up really fast and won’t want to sit with you and hear you tell them stories forever.  This very unique opportunity is fleeting and you must grab it by the horns and run with it!  Don’t let this moment pass you by!

I love my job.  I want to tell stories for the rest of my life.  I’m good at it and it’s been very good to me.  Affording me the time to meet all sorts of new and exciting people, travel all across Massachsettes, Rhode Island, Conneticut and New Hampshire (and hopefully farther someday).  I think every person has the ability and the drive to do what they want - and if you want to be a storyteller - my best advice is to just go out there and try it.  Start small, tell stories to family and friends, then get comfortable telling them to people you don’t know, then, if it’s right, it will just strap you in and take you for the ride.