The Short Story of a Short Storyteller – #IST646

When I was young, it was thought that I might be a pathological liar, though I prefer the term “avid storyteller.” I would make up the most fantastic or horrific things that had never happened to my family and proceed to tell absolutely everyone. This would be a good time to note that I got in trouble for lying a lot! As I grew older into school age I became the class clown, always good for a funny story and a laugh. In college, on a whim, I decided that my minor would be Dramatic Production and I took acting class for 4 years. I was never in a play. They always had me work backstage crew because I was a terrible actress. It was no surprise that after working in libraries for several years, in 2013 I was asked to cover a story time for our Youth Services Librarian. I’d seen her do it 100 times, but I was still nervous to get in front of these 3-5 year olds with their pouty lips and “judgy” eyes! Apparently it went well because I continued to cover our Preschool and Baby story times for the next 3 years.

YS Room

Where all my previous performances happened.

Who knows if it’s my constant attention seeking ways or my love of entertainment, but I do love having an audience (even if the audience only comes up to my knees). It seemed like a no-brainer to me that my first Grad class would be Storytelling for the Information Professional. Another note, you should really actually read what the class is about before you register. Silly me thought it would be just like all of my story times! How simple. I’d ace this class. Silly me never saw the description about DIGITAL STORYTELLING. Oh boy. What I thought was going to be a cinch class has challenged me in every possible way for the last 3 weeks. I became so out of my comfort zone that I even considered dropping the class!

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Maybe reading the title of the text book would have given me a hint.

The first assignment was to make a short video introducing myself to the rest of the class and our teacher. 2 minutes. My video was 2 minutes long… and it took me 2 HOURS to complete it. What is wrong with me? I  thought as I slumped over my computer at my dining room table. Why was it so hard to think of any interesting facts about myself! The comments on my video were gracious and it boosted my confidence to work full steam ahead on our next assignment!

The second assignment was to record myself telling a tall tale. I calculated that my interpretation of the tale I chose would take me about 2 minutes to recite. 2 minutes. It took me 3 hours to complete! With some tips from my rehearsal buddy, I sat at my table and prepared to record myself. Why was my throat so dry? Why was I sweating? How could I be nervous when there was no one here to listen to me (except for my cat)! The first time I recorded myself I messed up. The second time I messed up again. The third time you could hear my cat meowing in the background! After I finally recorded a semi-ok version, I listened to it. BLECH. My voice! Why is it so loud? I tried again, but now my voice sounded too high! Another try and I was reading so fast that I sounded like an auctioneer! Thoughts started to creep in. Have I always sounded like this? Is this what people hear every day? Why has no one told me that I sound like Fran Drescher from the tv show The Nanny?!?!? I slumped over my laptop in defeat, sighed dramatically, drank some water, and tried again. The next recording didn’t sound half bad and I figured I couldn’t do any better than that. I crossed my fingers and toes and submitted my assignment. My teacher was kind and encouraging in her remarks and gave me a better score than I gave myself!

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The noisy culprit. 

Now with our third assignment I am faced with the challenge of writing a story about my storytelling journey, and make it seem not as boring as my real life journey actually is. Friday nights at my library tend to be dead. So with my favorite pen in hand, some scrap paper, and a quiet moment (more like a few quiet hours), I dashed out some notes on what I could possibly write to tell my story. Should I make myself sound cooler than I am (there’s that compulsive liar trait again)? I guess you’ll have to tell me what you think, since you just read it.

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