I had the most happy opportunity of attending one part of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival's Midwinter event last night. Telling first (apart from the 14 year old warm-up act) was David Novak. I can't say that I am won over as a fan, but I can see how others (especially children) really love him. His story about how cats evolved from snakes did ring true to me and makes complete sense--I always knew there was a good reason I don't like cats: they are snakes (tails always moving like a snake, like to stretch out in the sun, hiss when angry, etc.)--sorry to other cat lovers; and just so we are clear I don't hate cats and don't advocate stringing them up or drowning them in the nearest river, but could you please keep them off my lap when I come around? Next up, and my number one reason for going (this and maybe the fact that I get in free on account of my mother being on the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival's committee) was Donald Davis.
Isn't he the cutest? I love Donald Davis. He is probably one of the best professional storytellers to ever grace a stage. Add to his greatness as a teller a true humility and an honest interest in people and really you have a complete package and some very good reasons to follow him around like a love-sick puppy. (I especially appreciate his humility in light of some other tellers who believe they are God and expect to be treated as such complete with the bowing and walking 5 steps behind them--sadly so many of these tellers are actually very good so rather than sticking it to them for their disgusting behavior I end up buying their cds and then standing in line for an autograph--I'm weak that way) Anyway, Donald was as wonderful as ever telling hilarious and touching stories about his youth (last night it was Aunt Mary's night (I think it was Mary)) and now I have some new inspiration for the kind of aunt that I want to be.
For those of you sad and sorry people who have not yet been introduced to the fantastic world of storytelling let me just tell you that it doesn't involve people sitting around reading aloud from books. It is, though, made up of a very talented community of individuals who tell stories to children and adults of all ages. Donald is a great way to introduce yourself to storytelling so check him out in your local library (my favorite cd is the Grand Canyon one). A couple of other recommendations that I would have for you are Bill Harley (great for kids), Bil Lepp (yes I spelled his first name correctly--a great tall-tale teller), and Carmen Deedy.
Also if you are coming to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in August you get to see Bill Harley and Carmen Deedy live and in person! There are 8 others coming, but I am going to be following Bill and Carmen around.