Open Mic Blog
|Posted on February 16, 2015 at 1:15 PM|
Dr. Linda Tate
StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups
Recently, I launched a weekly blog and podcast – StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups. Readers and listeners are abuzz with excitement about the new project, and many of them have asked how I got the idea to focus on stories.
Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison answers the question better than I can. She says:
"People crave narration. People want to hear a story. They love it! That’s the way they learn things. That’s the way human beings organize their human knowledge – fairy tales, myths. All narration."
I love Toni Morrison. To me, she is the great American writer alive today. And one of the primary reasons she’s a classic is that she understands the power of story. Storytelling – one person talking to another, spinning a yarn – is at the heart of all her fiction.
Human beings tell stories all the time, in so many ways. We tell each other the tale of what happened that day. Families pass down stories of treasured memories – the favorite in my family is the tale of my grandparents’ first date. Communities pass down lore, the history of the culture, spiritual lessons through oral storytelling. Writers convey stories through novels, short stories, memoir, poems. Dramatists write plays, and filmmakers tell stories through the world brought to life on the big screen. Songwriters encapsulate stories in short lyrics, little tale capsules. Even visual artists – painters, photographers, sculptors – tell stories.
It seems that we humans can’t stop telling stories – and as Toni Morrison says, we “crave” stories. We want to hear them. We want to read them. We want to experience them.
My weekly blog and podcast – StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups – celebrates this human love of stories. Each week, I highlight yet another storyteller – a fiction writer, memoirist, poet, playwright, filmmaker, songwriter, visual artist, folklorist. To bring the stories to life, I feature an audio or video excerpt from the story of the week.
And when you’re inspired (and you know you will be!), you’ll find links to read the book, watch the movie, listen to the song.
Stop by StoryWeb to learn more or visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StoryWebPage
A former Professor of English, Dr. Linda Tate loves stories of all kinds.
After 26 years of teaching literature and writing at universities around the country, Linda left higher education to focus on her writing. She’d had a great run – she’d even been named West Virginia Professor of the Year – but it was time to write!
Most recently, her memoir, Power in the Blood: A Family Narrative, won the Colorado Authors’ League Award for Creative Nonfiction and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Currently, Linda is at work on Ferguson Girl: A Memoir of Family, Place, and Race. You can learn more about the research for this book at her website and blog, The Wellston Loop.
If you’re interested in learning how Linda brings her talents to the nonprofit world, check out her Tate Communications website.
Through StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups, Linda brings her knowledge of stories to you. She hopes you’ll be inspired to read, watch, listen, learn.
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Your website is intriguing. I followed the links to your memoir on Amazon, and read the beginning. Quite intriguing. I've bought myself a copy and look forward to reading it. Your story about seeking your grandmother reminded me of my need to invent who my grandmothers were, since I never met them, and never heard them mentioned. Invisible women. But power in the blood, indeed.
Thanks for your interest in "Power in the Blood." I think you will find it compelling given your interest in "invisible" grandmothers.
Let me know what you think after you read it!
Yes, I do indeed draw heavily from family stories in my work. In fact, "Power in the Blood" is all about reclaiming and reconstructing lost family stories. I LOVE family stories . . . and I'm glad you do, too!
One of mine was Richard Burton. I used to be captivated by the stories that he told on talk shows like Dick Cavett's. Occasionally I watch the reruns of that show just to hear Burton tell his tales again.
Jean Ritchie could spin a good yarn, and so does Jim (Jimmy) Costa, from Hinton, West Virginia.
It's great to hear from a traditional storyteller! What kinds of tales do you find that listeners most want to hear?
I remember hearing that the head of 60 Minutes told all of his reporters to "Tell me a story." That was the most important thing to him above all. Why are stories important to you?