"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Friday, November 28, 2008

Holly Robison: Buddy for "The Gardener's Wife"

With so much time dedicated to the marketing of "Family Famine: Hunger for Love", I had to focus on story development.

As simple as blocking the time on my planner, I scheduled every Friday from 1:00pm to 3:00pm to be "The Gardener's Wife" Day with story buddy Holly Robison. (Yet this time was to almost 4:00pm.)

As there are one or two songs I would like her to sing duet in this story, then it made sense to choose her. The other fact is that she is fun and inspirational.

For perspective on the story, I asked Holly to read the version in "Latin American Folktales: stories from Hispanic and Indian traditions" edited by John Bierhorst and published by Pantheon Books. The way Holly would interpret what was happening through her tone of voice or pauses was enough for me to dwell in the story and create images in my mind.

Afterward the reading, Holly asked me questions. For some I did not have answers but they were great to consider.

Out came the whiteboard and here were some of the results:
  • Does the Garden reflect the barrenness of the Gardner's Wife?
  • With the image of the squash at the end, how can that image be threaded throughout?
  • What are the meanings behind the symbols of the bird that speaks, the orange tree that dances, and the water that jumps and leaps?
  • What if everything seemed to blossom around the Gardner's Wife except for having children?
  • Would the Gardener's Wife have a favorite plant or tree? Would it be referred to in the story?
  • What importance, if any, is there for the titles to be Gardener and the Gardener's Wife versus Farmer and the Farmer's Wife? Has this any Colombian connection? Does this mean that the Gardener and his Wife live within the palace?
  • What draws the Queen to the garden? Was there a rumor that the King overhears and shares with her?
  • Why would the King need a night patrol to overhear conversations? What kind of unrest is in the kingdom? What problems does the King fear that people may talk about?
  • When reviewing the Hero's Journey (Joseph Campbell), is the threshold when the Girl goes up the mountain and then down to the plain?
  • What is the Gardener's Wife response when each of her Adopted Children go on the quest?
  • Why does the Queen not sense the presence of her own Children when with the Gardener's Wife? Or does she?
Finally, a rough outline of the story was drawn as I wanted the Gardener's Wife to be the focus whereas the original focuses on three sisters and who they want to marry first.

Besides whiteboards, I am a believer in scrap paper. The image below is the original outline and some of the print from the other side can be seen:

This is only the beginning of a fantastic journey for "The Gardener's Wife". Feel free to follow the process.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

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