"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh Where, Oh Where is that Opening Story?

My center and final stories for the "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" came in such miraculous ways that I expected another miracle to shine light on a story and say "Here is your opening story!"

So far no light.

I dedicated today to the libraries to find that opening story. There is a certain mood that an opening story needs that, at times, can make it so difficult.

Humor is powerful. Yet, I had always imagined one of my stories to address child abuse, at least in an indirect way. My center story is on abandonment while the final story is on adoption.

I have tossed around the idea of a version of "Hansel and Gretel", but nothing so far has struck me as "I must tell this one!"

In "emergencies" such as finding the opening story with the premiere a little over two months away, I settled on the floor at the Central Branch of the Davis County Library system. It seems more inspiration has come from sitting on the floor rather than sitting in a chair.

At times I worried if I blocked the way for other library patrons, so I was quick to move my feet aside to allow people through. Some people could tell I was on a serious mission and so avoided my area.

Normally I would check out about 20-30 books and take them home to peruse. This time I sat for hours reading. I scanned titles and the first paragraphs as most likely the focus would be revealed through those means. If the story did not connect with some level of family relationship or even with food or famine, then I skipped to the next story.

Finally, I ignored the collections of folktales and moved on to the picture books. Sometimes these books reveal the ethnic background and bibliographies to further research. I did not want to do a literary piece. I wanted to create the story based on the folktale's structure and culture.

When a few hours passed and still I seemed no closer than when I first arrived at the library, the story "Iron John" jumped out at me. Many years ago I considered telling this story. To this day, I do not know many storytellers who tell it despite it being part of the Brothers Grimm collection.

In all the versions I have read for "Iron John", not once have I read that the boy-prince's father was abusive. Yet, the boy feels a need to have a second father in the form of a wild man. My imagination fills in the blanks by thinking perhaps the king was not all that he seemed.

The story may be too heavy for an opening piece.

So the search continues for that elusive opening story.

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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