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The Smoky Mountain Storytelling Festival

Canyon News (Benedict Canyon, CA) , February 11, 2007


We went over the mountains last weekend to attend the Smoky Mountain Storytelling Festival. Before I describe that, what do you think it was? Do you imagine a bunch of good ol' boys in bib overalls, swapping outrageous fish tales? No such thing. It was far more interesting than that.

We attended a workshop on the Art and Heart of Storytelling, by Connie Regan-Blake. By example and exercises given to the audience, Ms. Blake showed us that storytelling is a separate and different skill than writing in any form, or acting in any other form.

We saw a wide variety of presenters with tales ranging from what was true, to what was clearly fabulous. There was one classic fish tale, about the surprising contents of a barrel that allegedly floated down stream from the Jack Daniels distillery. It was clearly false from the first word spoken. But the teller was such an engaging character that we all engaged in what Robert Penn Warren called, "the willing suspension of disbelief."

So, here are the recommendation we offer to all readers: If you hear about a storytelling festival anywhere in your vicinity, pack a picnic lunch and go on over.

Subjects Covered: storytelling festivals

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