Full and happy

Los Angeleno by birth, Northwesterner by choice, Second-hander by nature. Librarian, housebound chef, father, and lowly subject ruled over by the needs and whims of a very old house.
Partial to Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese cookery but will eat damn near anything. Collector of many strange things..the result is chaos and anarchy and a very pleasant place to live.
There is pleasure in accumulation, not just "collecting": music, books and film, in all their multi-formated glory. Outsider artists and those kinds of prints you would recognize if you took liberal studies classes in college. Cooking implements and gadgets for recipes still untried or those ventured. Glasses for most types of libations. Flowers in the garden, herbs in the pot.
It's a life of the senses and a good home life reflects that. Walking helps take in all the rest. Requires no special equipment, opens up the pores, brightens the taste buds, clears the decks for further adventures, puts on the miles, widens the eyes and helps fuel the imagination.

Live boldly, play graciously and love with all your heart knowing that true love comes only once or twice in this lifetime. Speaking of which..donde estas, Empress of my Heart?


"Lack imagination and miss the better story" Yann Martel

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result....the worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

"Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you
You must travel it for yourself" Walt Whitman

And above all, friends should possess the rare gift of sitting. They should be able, no, eager, to sit for hours-three, four, six-over a meal of soup and wine and cheese, as well as one of twenty fabulous courses.

Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask,

When shall we live if not now?

-From Serve it Forth,
M.F.K. Fisher

Monday, August 5, 2013

Storytellers guild

We are getting ready to wrap up our summer reading program here on the coast and so far it has been a mighty good one. I came onto this post last year with a program in place and it was not quite what I was used to, but, hey, it wasn't mine to control just to monitor. Programs were attended, prizes given out, treats eaten. Attendance is everything. This year it's been a bit different, a bit more like what I am used to: reading logs, gauges of measurement on the walls, programs reaching far and wide and an ice cream social coming up on the heels of it all.

But I was able, in the midst of all the children's librarian planning, to slip in a couple things I felt were important to do. I did fit in a moderately well used Farmer's Market Bingo program. I like what they around the county and what they represent and wanted a tool to somehow get kids down to the market, interact with the growers, the vendors, all that.With the program theme revolving around food I felt it was a good match. But my big wrap up for the summer, since the idea of outdoor "drive in" style movies didn't really fly well here on the cool in the evenings coast, was to push for storytelling in the park. The park across the street from the branch, in the end, was booked but I managed, here at press time, to secure two tellers who promised to share their art with family and kids here at the branch later on in August. I am beyond pleased as it is bringing back to me a bit of my early library career history. Once a storyteller, always a storyteller.

I have been fascinated with the art going a long time back. Maybe it was the sea stories I heard back in my days with the fleet. Maybe it was all the tales my parents and grandparents told of 1940's LA and of Pancho Villa and growing up in Mexico during the Revolution. Maybe it was my penchant for cinema, for good stories, for a tale well told. No matter, I was sent off to workshops right at the beginning of my time doing children's work and thought to myself, man, I could do that, too. And so I did. Gathered up tales by Lang and the Grimm Brothers, learned a few good paper folding stories, picked up a few magic tricks and songs and I was ready to share my tales, too.

It was a happy time, that first librarian assignment. I had a great manager who believed in the power of good programming, was game to let me do whatever I conjured up, so long as it reflected well with the branch and brought up our monthly statistics. I kicked around the idea of a guild with colleagues and friends, and after a few months of fits and starts, got together the first incarnation of the South Coast Storytellers Guild at the Costa Mesa Branch Library. Those first few months felt as if we wasn't going to launch but by our final show in August Susan, Nancy and Jim and I were able to drag in a full house which pleased me and my manager immensely.

I took that talent on the road and performed all around the region, worked good times with Make a Wish, with church groups, at birthday parties. Went up north to Oregon and started another guild, the Jefferson State Storytellers with the Ashland Branch children's librarian. Did storytelling in the park, a llama backpacking trip, told tales in a staff gather for the State Librarian, hung out with magicians and built up a crew who went on to do great things. By the time I got to the Puget Sound I was almost ready to stop awhile as the competition was heavy and storytelling began it's shift from an small regional, ethnically tinged, locally cultural art form into a major source of entertainment, bucks and egos. Did a bit of telling with Everett and then, years later, after disillusionment and much too long of a sabbatical, began to tell tales to my kids. Back to the roots of it all, a blazing fire, good mood lighting and a fist full of tales to share with wonder filled children.

The idea of the guild came about mainly from my connection with the regional Renaissance Faire but it eventually took off and went it's own way. I looked them up this morning and was happy to see that they are still associated with Costa Mesa and are still performing and conducting workshops regularly in Orange County. And while it has been years since I have stood in front of an audience and wove a tale I have to admit that this latest effort to gather tellers at the library to tell stories to family and friends sounds like a mighty good time, but more a possibility to possibly enter into the art once again.

Once a teller, always a teller, indeed!


A bit of contemporary South Coast Storytellers Guild scheduling:


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