And the above is the somewhat questionable official logo of World Storytelling Day. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me… I get what they’re going for, but it doesn’t quite seem on the level.
Anyway, I love Mental Floss for the fascinating information I’m constantly finding on their blogs, and today I learned about WSD. It’s an annual celebration of oral tradition with a new theme each year. For 2012 it’s trees, while previous years have included water, light & shadow, dreams, and the moon, among others. The event began in Sweden around 1991, and became a global event about a decade later. (Source)
The art of verbal storytelling is almost entirely separate from the written word, requiring different cadences, word selection, purpose and direction. As storyteller Georgiana Keable says in the video above, it seems to be more about the journey than the transmission of the information itself – you’re not just trying to teach the listener or get from plot point A to plot point B, you’re enriching and entertaining the listener along the way. When reading a suspense novel, the reader must find himself on the edge of his seat or the journey is ruined, and all of this is dependent on how well the book is written and whether suspense is injected into the words on the page. If the same story is told in the oral tradition, the storyteller can vocally impart whatever urgency is necessary and breathe life into the story almost without regard to the wording.
There are storytelling festivals all over the country, not just on March 20th but throughout the year. I must admit my ignorance, having never heard of such a thing until a few months ago when I found out one of my favorite musicians, Steve Poltz, is booked for Oklahoma’s Storytelling Festival in September. It was something I thought was interesting but which I ultimately dismissed as a unique event outside of my region until I took more time to look into it today. Storytelling festivals seem to have quite a cult following. Some of the big ones are the National Storytelling Festival which features a midnight ghost story event, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival which hosts Utah’s Biggest Liar Contest, and the St. Louis Storytelling Festival which offers workshops and University of Missouri courses to correspond with the festival.
I love this idea! The festivals sound like a fantastic, eclectic experience. It’s too bad I can’t find anything in my area for today though – I’ll just have to come up with a story of my own.