NEW VIDEO - Conversation with Willa Brigham

Willa Brigham from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

Stories in Focus as recently broadcast on Channel 16, Montgomery County, Maryland. 
A fun conversation with the delightful and effervescent storyteller Willa Brigham. Plus Willa's Hat Story.
For more information about Willa: www.willabrigham.com

Roll Call

Pondering - 

A young soldier I know has been writing a blog about her training before being posted
to Afghanistan. In a recent post - as she prepares to leave the US for her tour of duty in a war zone she wrote:

So the epic journey starts in a little less than 2 hours, and I am pumped! I've spent a huge majority of today on the phone talking to the people who matter the most in my life

It started me thinking. Her journey is dramatically immediate into such a dangerous far-off land where she will be under real and constant threat. The unknown prospects jolted her into taking the time to value those she loves. To call them. Tell them. Spend time with them.

I could not help but think about how I often take those in my life for granted. Am I showing them I care and telling them I love them - often enough.

Because, the truth of life is that every day is an epic journey.

What is really important?

We each have to answer that for ourselves - everyday.

The list of people I would call changes -
because many have slipped away.
When I flipped through the contacts on my cell phone the other day -
I was startled to see how many are gone -
lingering on my phone
because I cannot bear to erase them
even though I cannot call them.

A wake-up call - to call - those who matter.

Thanks to the traveling soldier - for shaking me out of my fog.

Sending my prayers for her safe return.


SURPRISE video - music, images and my story

Daniel Medina, a Chicago music student, sent me a video telling me had made a video using my Aunt Annie story. I was surprised and delighted. Hope you like it as I do.


Polishing the story

so wanting to paste and glue
and sew
but cannot
until after the Capital Fringe.

Right now I am stringing words together
to make the story of Gus come alive

If you think a storyteller just walks in
and starts to talk - - -  you are wrong!


Gus, Gus and more Gus

Enmeshed in myCapital Fringe story, Finding Gus.

Telling it for a "director" tomorrow to tweak the telling.

Gus Keasler is very alive in my imagination. That's what happens when you really go into story.

First performance July 8 at 6 PM - - - Wow - that's soon!!

Details HERE.


A Hugging Gift

Isn't this a great gift?

Our grand-daughters made this photo-collage in an exhibit frame for Jim for his recent 80th birthday.

His hug returned four-fold.


City Abstract

Reflections in large buildings fascinate me.
Found compositions in glass and stone
created by LIGHT.
You are the artist when you SEE and recognize them.

Taking the photos reminds me of Amsterdam in 1977 where I was alone and feeling isolated.
On the edge of panic.
Forcing my attention outward - finding light patterns in reflections on large shop windows steadied me -
I have used that technique ever sense
Look outward.


Happy Father's Day to Jim

Jim Schoettler

   a much loved dad
   just ask his kids!
   just ask me!
   Happy Father's Day!
   Thank you!



For Father's Day

The Door Story from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

This is one of my favorite stories about Daddy. He was a character and totally unpredictable which made our family life interesting.


Here Comes Capital Fringe - Counting Down

Counting down.

My first show is Friday, July 8 at 6 PM


Back at the wonderful Goethe Institut -
   lovely, comfortable, and ---- air conditioned
   which in DC in July is FABULOUS.



This beauty was surviving in the Baltimore heat.

  • Feeling tired tonight.
  • Worked on the Finding Gus story...
  • Counted the days until the Fringe - makes me a bit nervous - a lot to do in a shorter time.
  • Interviewed this afternoon - enjoyed the conversation. A bit of turn about as I am usually the one asking questions.
  • Have a difficult decision to make - and having a bit of trouble working out the best ocourse of action. Ugh! I hate these stalls.


Kathryn Tucker Windham, R.I.P.

Kathryn Tucker Windham - R.I.P.

Ms. Kathryn as many called her was an extraordinary storyteller, beloved far and wide by any that heard or knew her. She carried the knowledge and experience of many generations and shared them through her stories. She was 93 when she died this week.

Last year (2010) on Monday after the National Storytelling Festival ended Jim I were still in Jonesborough and stopped in at the Cranberry Thistle for lunch. At the neighbor table Ms. Kathryn was one of a group enjoying lunch. When she got up to leave I asked her if she would honor me with a picture for my record of the 2010 weekend.  She smiled patiently and agreed. We exchanged a few words and she left on her way to catch a plane. I am glad I asked.
Since the word of her death came storytellers have been posting comments about their memories
of her and her impact on them. To me, this NPR program someone posted on Facebook meant the most because it includes her, her voice and that wonderfully rich Alabama accent. Hear it on this link:

I did not know Kathryn Windham. Only ever exchanged a few words with her in an elevator at the Storytelling Center when she said, " I wonder about continuing to come." in a very tired voice.  I answered that I was sure she would know what was best for her - but if she ever was not there -
"I will miss you." And, sadly, I will.


Happy Birthday Jim!!!!

Setting up flowers arrangements and primping the house before people
arrive for Jim's Birthday party.

Then come the balloons.
You have to have balloons - especially to celebrate 80.

and a fabulous CAKE.

But the heart of it all - the wonderful people who come to celebrate!

All the way to Spiderman

This is the "today" main entrance for Johns Hopkins Hospital - which sees the world pass through but for me the real entrance is the historic North Broadway Street entrance - the one I knew first in 1954 when I walked through it as a young student nurse.

Today the gates are closed and cars come to the "rear". But pedestrians can walk in and out.

Under the Dome - He stands to welcome, reassure, and comfort the sick.

People still leave flowers and write notes of thanks and sadness in a journal near-by.

Jim and I arrived on Wednesday to attend the Bi-annual medical meetings and Hopkins Medical School Class Reunion. We started with a dinner with his class at the Black Olive Inn, a relatively new restaurant, suggested by a local classmate (because they wanted to test the food). Well, the food was mediocre, over-priced and disappointing but the company was superb and we were so glad to be there.

Thursday was the Grand Class Lunch at the elegant Monaco Hotel - a classic building built in 1905 - which reeked of the elegance of the period. Salmon was delicious. More good conversations and the bi-annual report on the State of the Hospital by the Dean and CEO.  Impressive.

Friday was a full day of medical lectures, food, and fun. My dear friend Kay and I once again talked the day away between other conversations and meals. Hopkins always out does itself with the cocktail "snacks" - which I just love - shrimp , crab cakes, poached salmon and a delicious pasta dish, pasta in Alfredo sauce with sauteed shrimp on top. Oh, my. Along with conversations and music. Met a woman doctor, Class of 1949, who practiced as a general practitioner while she raised 9 children - one son was with her, now a doctor.

Ofcourse we came back on Saturday.
Sort of off topic but I can't resist showing the ice sculpture that was installed for the picnic lunch - "for the kids". Spiderman. I talked with the sculptor while he was putting the finishing polish on it - he carves from a solid block of ice, using chain saws and other cutting tools - in about three hours. You too can have one for about $350. Check out the website.www.hoticeinc.com

It was a great few days.


Yal Come - Finding Gus is waiting.

Has it really been four days since I stopped to "blog"?

I tell you I am up to my neck in preparing for the DC Capital Fringe - --
the story, and all the stuff that goes into marketing - or more precisely letting people know you have the story to tell and "please, come."

There is no story without someone there to listen.

Info HERE.


Irish Peony and Stories in Process

Peony - taken in Ireland

Reading Shannon by Frank Delaney. Its slow getting into it but I love reading Delaney's prose and it brings back images of our trip to Ireland. So those two keep me going until I connect with the plot.

Happy with the way Finding Gus, my new one-woman show for the DC Capital Fringe. is going. Still have plenty to do with tweaking the story and staging but that is the FUN of these productions - the creation of the story. I told the story Wednesday evening for a small group in Kensington and the story surprised me with a new twist. Felt good on my tongue. Stories are wise.

I sent out the first blast of emai announcements today. Here goes. The opening is July 8. Now begins the worry over whether anyone will come on not. Stories need people to listen. The audience and the storyteller interact to create the story. Crossing my fingers.

Realizing more and more that, at this point in my career, my diamond jubilee, what matters most to me  - is what I want to do! And telling the story of my Mama's Daddy, Gus Keasler, Granny and Mama is what's important.

The more I recognize that impulse the more stories line up to be told.

For instance, Jim and I are going to the Bi-annual medical meeting at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore next week. Jim and I have a story here and this time I am going to do the ground work so that I feel it - - my next story. A story of two young immigrants - a girl from the South and a young man from the West - who met and fell in love - surrounded by life and medical history.

Ah, yes, Not an unusual story but one that is close to my heart and has a few twists from the fifty-six year perspective.