Sunday, June 26, 2011
Creating Summer Memories Storyteller Style
I have been having such an amazing summer thus far. It has been incredibly busy, with lots of travel and more shows in a week than I've ever done before, and yet there have been so many beautiful moments that have caused me to stop and say, "Wow! How lucky am I? Is it really possible that I'm earning a living at something that I love so much?"
How can I describe how great it is to see a parent pull out their camera with a huge smile on their face as they try to capture the special moment when their child is standing next to me, dressed as a parrot or ram or some other crazy character from one of my stories, and to know that I am helping to create a memory for this family? Something that they will smile or laugh about or share with others. . .
What words can I find to express how much it means to me, at the end of a long day of three shows, to have a parent come up to me and say that her and her daughter were at last year's show and that when they saw that I was returning to their library system, they made a point of finding a show they could attend before their summer trip to India? And not only that, but inviting the daughter's friend to come with them -- an outgoing friend who ended up playing an important part in the show when I had a very shy audience.
Speaking of shy audiences, in the last week, I had quite a few of those, more than usual. These are the audiences who are interested in the story but aren't much interested in getting involved and playing the parts. This is in contrast to the audiences I get where every hand is raised and I wish I had more parts to go around. The shy audiences can pose a challenge, especially when it's a small crowd and everyone is shy. That was the case at one of my shows on Saturday. But imagine my delight when the parents of one of the young children quickly jumped at my request for volunteers and dove into their characters with reckless abandon! The father even had to be called upon to play two different parts. In all of it, the look of delight on their daughter's face as she watched her parents pretend to be dogs, roosters and rams, was priceless.
I am a storyteller. A maker of memories. A bringer-together of families and peoples. A humorist. An improv artist. A bridge builder. A storyteller.
Lewis Carroll described stories as "love gifts." I could not agree more. Every time I tell a story I am grateful for the relationship it creates between me and the audience. Sometimes it's a relationship that lasts beyond those 30-45 minutes and extends to a year or two years from now when the same people come back to see me tell again. Or maybe it extends in other ways through a ripple effect that I know nothing about but that is very real all the same. I certainly hope so. Nonetheless, I am mindful of and thankful for the opportunities to meet wonderful people whom I would never have the chance to meet if it were not for my vocation as a storyteller.
It's funny because when I started World of Difference Ltd three years ago, I never intended to do it on my own. I enjoy working with people and feeding off the synergy that collaborative energies bring. And so that has been one of the biggest challenges for me in working solo. However, now, as the Lord has opened so many doors for me to perform, I realize that He has given me the desire of my heart by bringing wonderful people into my life at each place I go with World of Difference. Some of these people are now my biggest encouragers -- and their support has meant the world to me!
I can't even tell you how many times I wanted to give up when times got tough or things moved slower than I thought they should. How many times it seemed that something else, anything else, would be a better, wiser idea for a job. But somehow (with lots of support) I stuck it out, and that makes the many beautiful memories I'm creating this summer all the sweeter.