Journal logoThe Journal of Tar Heel Tellers is the official newsletter of the North Carolina Storytelling Guild, full of wonderful articles and information regarding upcoming events, festivals, and workshops. The Journal is published biannually (Fall and Spring) and available online for Guild Members.


Article recently published in the Journal of Tar Heel Tellers:

Have You Met the Storytellers’ Devil by Janice Davin

I am convinced that there is a special devil whose assigned task is to provide challenges for storytellers.  He is the one who whispers reasonable but devastating ideas into the ears of those who hire you.  Have you met him yet?  I am sure you have. 

This mischief-maker is the one who inspires the event planner to put the fire pits between you and your audience so that children can roast marshmallows as they listen to the story.  Then he whispers into the children’s ears, “That long, sharp, pointed stick would make a great sword.”   He simultaneously sends a fog over their parents as they enjoy the wine and cheese buffet producing amnesia regarding the fact that they have children.  Thus, the only adult who notices young children poking sharp pointed objects at one another’s eyes is you.  Your challenge: Break up the sword fights as part of the act.

This fiend persuades the festival organizer to put Dottie, the face-painting clown, and the storyteller in the same tent so that the storyteller can entertain the children as they wait to get their faces painted.  Sounds reasonable, right?  Ah- but the fiend is not finished.  He gives Dottie a terrible cold that causes temporary deafness and loud sneezing.  He tells the organizer that the tent is too small for a microphone for you.  And he inspires you to do interactive stories with puppets.  The result:  Dottie’s speech and sneezing is five decibels louder than your story and the kids that volunteer to join you on stage abandon their puppets to join Dottie before the story is over.  Your challenge: Resist the urge to kill someone.

The challenge devil even has the audacity to persuade Bible School planners to make storytelling the last event- after the crafts, the soccer games, the three-legged races, the cookout, and the ice cream sundaes.  He advises the planners to use the semi-dark, warm sanctuary for the sacred story.  Your challenge:  Ignore the fact that half of your audience is snoring loudly.

If you have not met this devil yet, you will soon because he is out there.  But he won’t prevail.  We storytellers are a hardy, ingenious troop.  Every time he sends us a challenge, he inadvertently provides us with another story.

After 35 years of teaching and applying storytelling in the classroom, Janice Davin hung up her teaching career.  She now resumes her role as an educator and an energetic storyteller in private practice.  Janice currently serves on the NCSG Board of Directors.