2/07/2008

Storytelling Report

Last night Sherry Geyelin and I told stories at the Kensington Row Bookshop. We had a delightful time.

Sherry brings such an elegant presence to her stories. Her use of language and gesture is rich, graceful, and enchanting. She takes you right to the scene of the story and brings it to life. I could see her seeing the story as she told it. When she told of attending a 1940s modern dance performance by Charles Weidman at Constutution Hall she showed it to us with small body gestures and words. It was a rich bit of storytelling.

Sometimes the producer has to fill in. I was not the scheduled other teller but when she cancelled at the last minute I was delighted for the chance to tell two stories that I am telling today for a large group in Arlington. Practice. Practice. Practice. It had been a long time since I had told the "elephant man" - the story of a tragic circus accident in Charlotte in 1880. I found the vivid account of the event in an old Charlotte Observer and then connected it to St. Peter's Catholic Church and my great grand-father, John Walter Cobb,who would have seen it all. The other story is one my mother recalled from her childhood which brings back a July afternoon in 1931 when a sweet, summer evening turns dark and bloody. The story couples mama's 13 yeare old eye-witness account of the incident with my investigation of it sixty- five years later.