Joe McHugh
The Art of Storytelling
Since earliest times storytelling has been used to entertain, instruct, and motivate. Participants in this workshop learn practical techniques on how to find, develop, and tell stories from an experienced storyteller and folklorist. A variety of story types are discussed and demonstrated including humorous anecdotes, personal stories, folktales, urban legends, tall tales, ghostlore, ballads, and family memories. Concepts such as the importance of personal imagery, the power of silence, the “gift of selection,” timing and gesture, and storytelling as ritual are explored so that participants gain an understanding and appreciation of this rich and varied art form.
Joe McHugh Storyteller

Teachers, librarians, community and business leaders, ministers, attorneys, park rangers, camp counselors, whitewater rafting guides, elected officials, and activists.

Ideal for:
“I am delighted to tell you that the evaluation sheets were unanimous in the “Excellent” comments given for the presentation, “The Art of Storytelling.” Thank you for a most effective and enjoyable workshop.”

Kay Atchison, Placer County Office of Education, Auburn, California
The Telling Takes Us Home
A Workshop for Writers
A unique form of oral literature, family stories provide a treasure trove of creative ideas and inspiration for the writing of fiction and memoirs. This lively, participatory workshop exmanines the primal relationship between family stories and the world of folktales and myth—how the character of Zeus is transformed into Grandpa Reynolds in his white Stetson skylarking about west Texas with his long-suffering but undefeated wife Hera never far behind. Or there’s the family story about a tea party on an island off the coast of South Carolina where the men dress up like women and drink whiskey out of porclean tea cups. Does this tale not reach back through the mists of time to the Dionysian rituals of ancient Greece where the male celebrants dressed as women and drank themselves into oblivion? A near-death experience and the writing of a song, a thousand dollar bill tucked away inside a wooden leg, report cards used to get a bank loan, a grandmother who misses sailing on the Titanic by only a few hours because she stops to say goodbye to a relative. Family stories form the bedrock of narrative. They spark the imagination and place us in a larger, more dynamic story than just our own experience. They teach us about life and love. What could be better than that?

“The turnout and the enthusiasm of those in attendance offered proof that the residents of Montclair do have stories to tell and are interested in writing about them.”

~Rachel G. Brown, Montclair Public Library, Montclair, New Jersey

© copyright 2007
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