Story Challenge Day 20: World Storytelling Day

Yes! Yes! You read that right! Today is World Storytelling Day. Some of you folks from online know me as a writer. The folks who know me in real life know me as a storyteller.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since I was three, putting on puppet shows for myself with my gloves.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since fifth grade, when Mr. Stifel came and told my class the epic tale of Beowulf.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since my class went to the St. Louis Storytelling festival down at the Gateway Arch and I looked at the people performing and decided I wanted to do THAT.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since high school, when I competed in the Missouri State speech tournament.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since college, when I’d share stories as a student teacher.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since it got me my first teaching job. I completed my interview with the principal and assistant principal, and I happened to mention that I did storytelling. A moment after the interview, they stepped back in the room and said, “You said you told stories. Can you tell us one?” So I did.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since a the mom of one of my students, who happened to be a professional storyteller herself, encouraged me to do my first professional gig, and I couldn’t believe someone would actually pay me for it. But they did.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since I could drag my children to my storytelling performances, only to have them heckle me beyond recognition in the process.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since I’ve encouraged countless kids (and hopefully teachers!) to put the book or the paper or the cards to the side, take a deep breath, and speak from the heart.

And I’ll do it as long as I can.

Photo from a gig, kid in tow

Interested in learning more about the March Slice of Life Challenge, or wanting to read more great posts? Head over to the Two Writing Teachers site!

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

24 thoughts on “Story Challenge Day 20: World Storytelling Day

  1. What an amazing part of your identity that I didn’t know before! The joy and confidence in this piece shines through. I love the picture of you storytelling with your son at your side.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I love this photo too. I certainly brought my older son to a fair share of gigs – which is why he probably tired of so many of my stories…

  2. This is awesome! I would love to hear one of your stories. What a marvelous combination, writing and oral storytelling – they must feed into each other so beautifully. I would love to hear a story from you! This line shows how passionate you are about this, “I couldn’t believe someone would actually pay me for it.” Fabulous!

  3. Whoa!!! Such immense love for the art shines through this slice! Love the picture, and loved the image of your sons heckling you! 😀 I bet they’re extremely proud of you!

    1. thanks! My kids are…grudgingly proud of me. They’ll heckle me and give me a good solid ribbing…and then they’ll let me know, in one way or another, that they believe in me the way I believe in them. Certainly makes the tougher moments worth it.

  4. Storytelling is a gift and an art. Your joy of storytelling jumps off the page. Weaving storytelling with writing brings the writing to life and really stirs the imagination. Keep on telling your stories.

  5. Omgosh this is amazing. In the last year that I’ve had the honor of reading your work, I’ve desperately wanted to sit with you and chat over a cup of coffee (or are you a tea drinker? 😉); however, now I want to just LISTEN to you!

    1. Ohhh that would be WONDERFUL! By the way, I’ll be attending the slicer meet-up on Thursday night. Any chance you’ll be there?

  6. Love, love, love this whole story told of you being a storyteller! AND – that photo is fantastic! Truth is, you and Story go so far back that I do not think that little you was waiting for Story to show up, or that you somehow found Story…nay. I think Story was sitting by your mother for a very long time, drumming fingers on the table and sighing, waiting fo you to arrive in the world and be claimed. It is so clearly what you were born to do (well and of course other things, but).

    1. Oh Fran, you are right as always. She was probably waiting for me long before I was ever aware of her presence. Makes me wonder who else was sitting, drumming their fingers along with her at that table. Wonder? Joy? hmm….

  7. “I’ve been a storyteller ever since…” What a clear vision you have of this part of your identity! I “fell into” theatrical improv a few years ago, and it brought me much joy! Then I moved 2,000 miles and then Covid-19 happened. I am craving that part of me again.

    1. Ohhh….theatrical improv. Now THAT is a load of fun as well. There’s so much freedom and joy there. I do hope you’ll be able to return to that piece of yourself, as well.

  8. I adore every single word of this. I once told someone I don’t write poems, I tell stories in verse. There are people who can tell you what happened and there are people who can tell you the story of what happened. The latter is a rarer breed. It is from where our minstrels and griots arose. It is a gift passed down to you. You knew it early and grew with it as it grew with you. And now your students benefit from that gift.

    1. “I tell stories in verse.” Yes, Raivenne, that is exactly what you do.

      And…to be compared to a griot is beyond humbling. Not sure I deserve *that* one, but maybe. Maybe some day. ❤

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