P apa J oe's T.S.S presents:
( Papa Joe's Travelling Storytelling Show)
Papa Joe ~ Travel NotesPJ's Travel Notes
To: Storytell group
Date: Saturday, June 13, 1998 5:41 PM
Subject: Week One of Papa Joe's Tour Notes - Summer '98
It's great to be back on the road. K~ is at the office and running the business end on her own. It's her solo flight, she doing excellent and I'm free to enjoy being a teller without worrying about what going on back East. A first for me. Unlike years past, I didn't need to pack up the office or close down the cottage. And as the Vardo has been working all Spring, I didn't even need to pack. All I needed to do was clean out the in box on my desk (transferring much to K~'s) and go.I started left right after my older son's High School graduation. But I didn't go far. I'm travelling solo (okay, Tasha Tripod is with me, but she doesn't help much with the driving.) and feeling I'd rather be more cautious. So I'm not doing much night driving. It makes it a little harder to miss the rush hour city traffic, but then once away from the East Coast, there are very few cities.
Saturday, May 30th. Driving
I drove 800 miles with only stopping for gas, coffee and an oil change. I needed the oil change, but I lost some time and had to stop for the night in Virginia, just 200 miles short of Jonesborough, Tennessee. I did eat, I just didn't stop to do it.
Sunday, May 31st. Driving
I knew I had three hours to kill some where and I've never been to Jonesborough, the Storytelling Mecca of the USA. lol! It's not far off my route so I drove over to NSA's headquarters. I got there about am and Jimmy was there.
It was interesting how concerned he was about our (Storytell) view of the NSA. I think he got the clue. I explained that there are as many views out here as there are members and there are a lot of members. By the way, the NSA is now monitoring Storytell. A wise move and I send a big thank you to you, Doug. You've been doing good work there.
At any rate, it was a 700 mile day and got me where I needed to be. The shows start on Monday.
Monday, June 1st, West Memphis, Arkansas.
West Memphis is not my favorite place to be. Someday I hope to meet someone who really likes it there and they can show me the side of this city that isn't locked up with bars on the doors and windows. But for all that, these folks love storytellers. I worked at a couple of childcare centers with groups of about hundred children, ages 3 to 12.
It was so much fun to show the older kids the joy of story. They were thinking "Why do we have to listen to stories with the babies." But by the time we were through they were so excited, I knew they'd be telling tales all Summer to their friends and neighbors. This city needs more telling desperately.
I had lunch with the librarian and the Arts Council director. They are trying to do a lot of Story here. The cost of bring in storytellers is always a problem, but if you would like to cover your gas, this is a major route from East to West. I really enjoy the break in the drive and telling here keeps me in shape. The city isn't pretty, but the folks do love tellers, so...
It's a quick (200 or so miles) drive to Faye's from here so after the shows, I drove to her place in Little Rock. Nice place, fenced in yard for Tasha, good food, and her husband even found me some Nut Brown Ale. I didn't drink much of it (Sorry Conrad, too much driving to do. lol), so I hope he likes it too.
Faye is doing a lot of work for Storytelling and I had a great time chatting face to face. It's always interesting to learn about the differences in attitudes in the many regions of this country.
Before I left on Tuesday, Faye took me the to a natural food store, Beans. It's quite a place. I brought some Stoneyfield Farm yogurt from New Hampshire. I guess it's famous all over. Faye and I had lunch there. Lots of things, but a big surprise was sushi. Never knew I could get that at a health food store.
Tuesday, June 2nd to Monday, June 8th Oklahoma.
The hot weather promised has disappeared upon my arrival. Northeast Oklahoma is cool and comfortable, but everyone around here is wearing warm clothing and wondering why I'm in shorts and barefeet. Seems a nice day in New England is a cold day here. lol!
I did a bunch of childcare centers while I was in the area. They are a great way to fill in the holes in my schedule. There's not a lot of money to be made, but it sure adds up if you do enough of them. And they are very flexible about the scheduling. I really like the opportunity to warm up my voice and learn the unique expressions of a region before doing stage performances. It also gives me a chance to find the timing and pace of the folks. These are all important things for a travelling teller to learn.
Each community is a little different and the differences between the Northeast and the Southwest is vast. There are little differences I noticed, like the use of the word cellar (which tends to call to mind tornado shelters here).
What can I say about Fran? She's a wonderful teller and a great host. I stayed in her driveway for my stay here except for the night before my Stillwater show. That night I spent at Barbara McBride Smith's place (another wonderful person to stay with).
On top of everything else, Fran runs the Story Stage at SunFest. I shared the stage with some great tellers, both local and national. I met Robert Rodriguez, a blind storyteller from New York City (funny meeting these East Coasters out here in the West). He is a marvelous balladeer. And Ken Mikell, a singer, teller, cowboy poet. Plus, a dozen or more of the local tellers, who were wonderful to work with.
The thing that stood out in my mind about the local tellers is how they got up with the pros and did their stories without a concern about how they looked or sounded in comparison. It was really satisfying to be with these folks who needed no strokes for their egos. This is a really strong story community.
I've meet Faye Hanson, Ken Oguss, and Fran before, but this was the first time I've preformed with them. They were great, but the earmark event for me was sharing a set with Fran. I told a tale and she came up with one to go with it. Then I told a story using a line from hers to start and then she'd pick up a line from that and was off again. Back and forth we went for the hour. I'd never done that before and loved it.
SunFest is really a nice community festival. You might want to drop in if your ever in the neighborhood. I know I'll be back again someday.
Monday morning came too fast, but it's a long drive to Idaho and tornadoes were heading into Oklahoma. Time for me and the Vardo to be off.
Pax & Amicitia,
In the Vardo, On the road.
Papa Joe ~ Travel NotesPJ's Travel Notes
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