One Thousand Scheherazades and Folktales Three Ways

Alcée Fortier doesn’t get it. He’s spent decades listening, absorbing, and translating a vast collection of stories recounted by the humans living in and around the great estate of Le Petit Versailles built by his grandfather – the first to refine sugar in Louisiana – Valcour Aimé. It is a strange fact that the old […]

My Dog Ate My Homework, or Why I Couldn’t Do My Assignment on Concrete Imagery

Dear Editor, I know I promised to write about how concrete imagery draws a reader into a story, but I’ve had such a week that I just couldn’t. Several months ago we had a huge Red Oak tree cut down after it dropped a large limb onto my neighbor’s driveway.  Unfortunately, she was in the […]

The Ghost of Mardi Gras

Click on blue title to read this post in your browser. Storytelling runs deep in the Ozarks. I grew up in the kiddie pools of it, but always waded over to the adult tables at picnics and reunions. If you ever get the chance, listen to some Ozark stories. Rest assured you’ll be either laughing […]

Storytelling in Songs

“Ode to Billy Joe” is one of the most popular and mysterious stories told in song. It’s Bobbie Gentry’s sad tale about Billy Joe McAllister, who jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge. Here’s the verse that has caused much speculation:  Mama said to me, “Child what’s happened to your appetite?   I been cookin’ all mornin’ and […]

The Wren’s Nest Forty Years Later

  Approximately forty years ago, my mother and her sister, whose family lived in the close by community of Lakewood,   took my brother, cousins, and me to visit The Wren’s Nest in the West End neighborhood of Atlanta.  I can’t remember anything about the visit except a general sense of the adventure I always felt […]

Storytelling at its Best: A Look at the National Storytelling Festival

Every year when I mention attending the National Storytelling Festival to friends, eyes glaze over, and, I suspect, they pretend interest for a few minutes, hoping I’ll veer off onto another topic.  For a long time, I was one of those people—storytelling?  Boring, boring – until I actually went to see and hear for myself, that is.  For […]