Finding Joy Through Storytelling with Karen Golden

Personal Stories –  are easiest to find when we search for them by:

PEOPLE, PLACE, EVENT, OR ANIMALS & OBJECTS.

Explore these questions by;

1. Sitting quietly and visually replaying the story in your mind, like seeing a movie. Notice what things look, sound, smell, taste and feel like. 

2. Share the story orally with a family member or friend. 

PEOPLE

1. How did you get your first name? Last name? 

2. Tell us about a person you admire.

3. Tell us about the oldest person you know.

4. Tell us about your most memorable teacher or one of your favorite family members.

PLACE

1. Take us on a visit to your house. Describe each room in detail, complete with smells and sounds. This house can be your current house or one from childhood. 

2. Take us with you during a holiday celebration.  

3. Tell us about your experience at summer camp or take us with you on one of your favorite vacations or not so favorite vacations.

4. Tell us about your favorite or not so favorite restaurant. 

  EVENT

1. Tell us about a time you were brave.

2. Tell us about a scar you have.

3. Tell us about a favorite family custom or a favorite holiday ritual.

4. Tell us about a life cycle event from your own life (Bar/Bat Mitzvah, wedding, birth of a child, etc.)

ANIMAL & OBJECT

1. Tell us about a favorite pet you have or had.

2. Tell us about an object you have had a long time.

3. Tell us about something that your parents gave you that belonged to them.

4. Tell the story behind one of your family photos. What happened that day.

Family Stories – Interview an older relative by asking them the above questions and adding the following. 

1. Where did your family come from? Where did they settle? Tell me what you remember of these places?

2.  Did your family name change when your family came to the United States? Or another country? How?

3. Do you have an infamous character in your family? If so, tell me a story about them?

4. Are there any expressions that have been passed down in your family5. How did you celebrate the holidays when growing up?


Where to find storytelling: Do a web search of “live storytelling shows near me” and “how to get involved in oral storytelling”. 

Here are some of my favourite resources:

  1. Free online 8-hour workshop on how to tell stories and many resources https://storycrossroads.org/. If you become a member, you can read my e-book in the member library. 
  1. Free online storytelling magazine with great stories and ideas. https://storybeast.org/ I wrote an article in the December 2022 issue on page 35. You can contribute your story as well. 
  1. Concerts, workshops and more: Storytelling Association of California. http://www.storysaac.org/
  1. Large archive of information on storytelling; National Storytelling Network (https://storynet.org/) and a free listserv for those interested in doing a deep dive into storytelling and connecting with the international storytelling community: https://storynet.org/groups/storytell/storytell-listserv/
  1. Great storytelling resources, pre-recorded stories, and online story swap information. https://www.nestorytelling.org/
  1. I run the Community Storytellers story swapping group the 4th Sunday of the month at 3:00 PST online. Everyone is welcome! Bring a story you would like to share or just come to listen. Our group has been going strong for 42 years! https://www.communitystorytellers.org/community-storytellers
  1. True personal stories: Sean Wellington producer of the 99 second story slam and the Mental Health Happyish Hour. https://www.facebook.com/seangwellington
  1. The Moth – is a non-profit that celebrates the commonality and diversity of human experience through the art and craft of true, personal storytelling. Online resources including podcasts and a calendar of in-person events worldwide.
  1. Bawdy storytelling – the original sex and storytelling series.
  1. World Storytelling Café – Online and in-person storytelling and the host of the Marrakesh International Storytelling Festival. A truly international platform!

Further reading