Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J is for Jack

I’m participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge throughout April.
Monday - something light to start the week. A bit of self-care, creativity challenge or the like.
Tuesday - telling notes for a specific story or kind of story. Tips and tricks to help you think about what you're telling and how.
Wednesday - my usual #tellinglife post, looking at some of the more personal aspects of storytelling and its role in my life.
Thursday - a dip into some of the issues facing contemporary storytelling or a dive into some of the more unusual applications of storytelling.
Friday - my usual personal post about life following the death of my husband
Saturday - the storytelling coach offers a tip you can use right now. An example of the kinds of tools I encourage my students to use.

Oh, Jack gets up to all kinds of mischief. Jack is a trickster figure from British Isles folklore who has emigrated to the Appalachia mountains. He is often portrayed as foolish or innocent, but through his wits manages to prevail.

I love telling trickster tales. When I tell a Jack tale I try to remember that Jack must be believable. The audience is already in the joke. They know what to expect, that Jack will (by wit or by luck) find his way through the trial, ending up rich and happy. My job is to patronize neither the character nor the audience but to tell them the story in ways the listeners can identify with, to amuse and delight them, and to let Jack have his moment in the sun.

Listen to the video above, master storyteller Ray Hicks telling Jack Old Fire Dragon. What did you like about it? What was compelling? How would you tell this story?

Some things to think about when preparing to tell a Jack tale:
  • Don't forget your context. In Mr. Hicks' telling he includes a great deal of local knowledge that made it more entertaining to his audience. How can you help your listeners identify with the story?
  • Believe in your Jack. He is your hero and, fool or no, if you believe in him then your listeners will, too.
  • If you decide to fracture the tale, make sure you understand it's original meaning and context. This story is a direct retelling of a British Isles Jack story, but with local flavor and meaning.
  • Make your Jack relatable. We all want to be the hero now and then.
  • Don't be afraid to be a little foolish; if Jack can do it, you can too!
(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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