2 ~ February ~ 2022
In October I started in person storytelling in the schools again, after a year and a half of doing it intermittently online. (and my 14th year of telling) I told a story of the legend of a Samurai and a Willow Maiden, Aoyagi, which is an ancient Japanese folk story; seven times since Tuesday morning. It had some Halloween scares, (Samurai) some mystery, and some romance, and seemed to be well received by the students and teachers. Some 2nd graders told me yesterday though that it was not scary enough for a Halloween Story. It is always a fine line to find a story with enough conflict and danger to make it interesting, but not too much to scare some of the more sensitive kids.
I put some of myself in the story, like I usually do. The parts new to my version of the story are where the young Samurai took an interest in nature and his natural history teaching, which is something he had in common with his mother and his true love, Aoyagi the Willow Maiden.
I have a good life backpacking, camping, and hiking with the dogs, then dancing on the weekends, but as wonderful as those activities can be, they are not quite enough to make me feel like my life is totally balanced. It felt very good to be doing something that I consider worthwhile, and to be offering a service to the community with this volunteer work, again. The teachers have said my stories tend to promote literacy in the children, since I retell them from books that the kids can find afterwards and read themselves. In fact today at one of the gifted and talented schools some children came up afterwards and wanted to get the exact spelling of Aoyagi, so they could be sure to find it.
I have another week of telling Aoyagi, then start the search for my November story. I was thinking I might retell Island of the Blue Dolphins again next month, for the older students. I haven’t told this story in a couple of years, and it is my favorite one. None of the children I am telling to now have heard it