“What the hell is wrong with me?” is the opening question in a participant’s story during the Rabbit Box Storytelling workshop hosted by Regi Carpenter in collaboration with Avid Bookstore. Our participant moves into her tale while Regi chimes in periodically. “What’s a good metaphor for that?” Regi asks, and the sensory-rich language gushes forth.
Last year Regi won first place at MassMouth, a very competitive storytelling slam even though people told her she didn’t have a “winning story.” It wasn’t funny, but it had meaning, and as Regi shared, there’s a difference between the plot and the meaning. Finding universal meanings is what storytelling is all about. She performed two of her stories and walked the walk right in front of us.
Sharing her process, Regi directed participants to “blurt and blab” stories relating to the theme “Help.” After brainstorming participants partnered up and shared their help stories, with Regi inviting us to be kind to our memories and let them in. Another teller came to the fore and asked the group: “Have you ever been sure you were really good – or great – at something and then found you weren’t?”
Again Regi helped draw out the universal appeal of stories by encouraging economy of language, present tense, and sensory-richness. She queried: How did her student nurse’s apron look? How did it sound in while walking? A collective nerve was struck as we connected to the student’s efforts to be like Florence Nightingale with sometimes-condescending sweetness to a man with a range of inflections but only one word: “Damn.”
Rabbit Box would like to thank Regi Carpenter for sharing some of the tools in her storytelling toolbox with us. Our storytelling coaches were taking diligent notes, and so the flame of the Athens story grows more brighter with her spark. Rabbit Box would also like to thank all of the participants and the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Athens. Hope to see you Wednesday, February 13t, at The Melting Point for a special show: Duets. Doors open at 6 PM.