Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Storytelling Cafe

What triggers an idea?

Perhaps it is when we notice a need, or when we see the potential of fulfilling a need.

Hence, observation is the first step to combatting idea paralysis; when ideas are absent, so is action.  Action paralysis is the great threat to an abundant life. Life without action, without ideas is a desert.  Ideas are dew drops from heaven, coaxing flowers and suppleness from dry and shriveled cacti.

Or perhaps ideas spring from abundance. my class, it was the abundance that created an idea.

When the talent in my storytelling class manifested itself so well, we had to utilize that talent. Storytelling lunch hour! Their response was--open--willing--excited--all the trimmings for an idea to move beyond a mental picture.

We picked a date, sleuthed our opening storytellers, and chose love stories for our debut festival. A student gave it a name: Storytelling Cafe. The most unexpected, excited student created a flyer and designed small notes to tape on lockers. We chose an emcee and decided to serve cookies.

The plans looked good, but until we actually had our first storytelling cafe, it was like a porcelain cup balancing on the head of a toddler--would it crash to the ground or stay balanced? If........we mused, storytelling cafe is a success, we'll make it a regular Tuesday event.

As the days neared, I became keenly aware of another need: the students who eat alone, who walk the halls alone, who sit outside on the school steps eating their lunch alone. Storytelling Cafe held during lunch, could be a refuge for the lonely! I invited my students to seek out the lunch loners and invite them to room 147.

I excitedly entered the room at the appointed hour. It was almost full! Both our storytellers were ready. The emcee stood--curtains! The extra chairs filled with late students and at least five had to take a seat on the floor. Our two guests, beloved teachers, couldn't have told a better story. There were laughs, and oohs and ahhs. It was the most enjoyable lunch time I've had since sitting in a Parisian sidewalk cafe with the one I love.

Our class had witnessed an idea, that turned into an event, that only took one short week to plan, prepare, execute, and enjoy.

When the bell rang and the students filed off to class,  I saw at least one of my wishes had been fulfilled--a young man who walks the halls, alone, during lunch, had enjoyed the storytelling cafe.

Storytelling had more than fulfilled its purpose.

Next week: Traditional story re-telling.