How Did I Become a Professional Storyteller?

While coaching elementary faculty years ago, I had the delight of hearing the famous storyteller, Jackie Torrence, carry out at my college. She had these long fingernails and rubber band facial expressions that enlivened her tales. I sat on the brink of my seat, glued to her each phrase. Deep down interior, I idea there might be no extra pleasure than to tour the USA telling tales. Alas, I lacked braveness. Plus, I become addicted to ingesting normal meals supplied via a constant paycheck.

The next year, my school employed Jackie Torrence to offer a repeat performance. I heard rumors that she made $4000 in step with performance. I calculated that that need to equate to being paid one dollar per word. I’m certain my faculty had no such price range to pay her everywhere near that sort of money. I nonetheless observed myself fantasizing about telling tales for a residing. Unfortunately, I still had no longer shed my addictions nor had I received any more braveness.

In 1987, I married a totally pleasant man. I determined to move back to college complete-time. At first, I thought to shed my school trainer function altogether. I signed up for a pc science diploma. While I took laptop classes studying programming, I became a volunteer storyteller at a pre-faculty and an fundamental school. I loved the experience. It became for the duration of that time period that I heard that Dr. Flora Joy, an ETSU (East Tennessee State University) professor, turned into going to offer a storytelling graduate stage application. The long ready list pressured me to delay taking that elegance until the autumn of 1988.

After a yr of computer programming instructions, I determined that years two, 3, and 4 were going to contain on the whole idea. I notion, “I don’t care how a computer works, I without a doubt want to use them.” So with my husband’s assist, I dropped the computer technological know-how diploma program, and began running on my masters in Elementary Education. I additionally flirted with the idea to go back to teaching. I applied to 41 school districts in a ninety-mile radius. Not one school bit. God obviously did now not think I became supposed to go back to teaching at that point.

How could you want to take a university class wherein the homework changed into to head perform tales for huge and little audiences? I loved it! That Basic Storytelling magnificence changed into one of the maximum a laugh college training I had ever taken. Since I had already taken 4 graduate level classes prior to this magnificence, I did now not desire to begin my masters diploma throughout via having to take four more instructions. Therefore, alternatively of having a Storytelling Masters degree, I elected to keep my M.A. In Elementary Education with a specialization in Storytelling. I figured that could make me more marketable in several one-of-a-kind methods.

Winter semester of 1989, I took the Advanced Storytelling magnificence. It turned into for the duration of this time that I determined that I absolutely wanted to inform memories complete-time. In February, I went to Dr. Flora Joy to find out how I should first-class follow this path.

Dr. Joy said that I possibly might ought to do volunteer storytelling for a 12 months or  first. I could want to accumulate a resume and a repertoire of memories to inform. She presented to type of sponsor me for the primary 12 months by using sending potential clients my manner. She said that when I obtained a storytelling offer, I ought to ask the all-essential query, “Do you have funding for this?” If they did now not, then ask, “Could you as a minimum get a reporter to take my picture and put a bit blurb in the paper?” Even if that became no longer possible, take delivery of the gig besides to help me get greater pro as a storyteller.

I made this decision in February of 1989. In March, an Elementary school in a bit town in Virginia hired me to inform testimonies. I changed into to perform  suggests for four hundred children consistent with show. At that point, I only knew four memories appropriate for that kind of target market. They did no longer have any cash left. They did, however, provide to usher in a reporter to take my photograph and placed a blurb within the paper. The show become pure adrenaline fun. I informed certainly one of my preferred testimonies by using Arlene Mosel known as “Tikki Tikki Tembo.” It changed into quite a heady revel in to hear 400 kids chanting along with me that little Chinese boy’s very long call.

In among the 2 performances, the trainer who hired me, instructed me the most first rate piece of news I had ever encountered. She informed me that the main become so impressed with how I had captivated the audience with my stories that he wished to pay me $a hundred for my overall performance. I attempted to fake to be calm, cool, and amassed as I thanked her and stated that I gladly universal his provide.

After the second performance, I went to thank the foremost for his generosity. He said, “I’m sorry that I couldn’t pay you any more than that as you are well worth it. You are the first-class storyteller that our students have ever skilled.” I must admit I ought to infrequently in shape my massive head into my automobile for my ninety-mile drive domestic.