Generational Storytelling

Everyone Has a Story!


Think you’re too old for good old-fashioned storytelling? Think again!

Some of you may remember the show I hosted last November, “Wisdom in the Spotlight.” Ten wonderful community members morphed into amazing, courageous storytellers and shared their life lessons with very receptive audiences. As a cast, we all had a ball and our audiences seemed to truly appreciate the time they spent with us.

I walked away from that weekend feeling very grateful for the entire experience. I also discovered I had an even greater appreciating for the value of storytelling than I’d had before.

No matter what the topic, sharing a story can be a rich, entertaining experience. Whether you are the storyteller or the listener, stories breathe life into concepts and experience. Sometimes a story shines light on a new perspective and our wheels get turning in a brand new direction. Stories can validate our feelings and connect us in a way no movie or book ever will. And at the risk of sounding like I just dropped in from La-La land (!) there is an inexplicable exchange of energy that happens when stories are shared. You can’t see it or hear it but wow, you sure can feel it and trust me, it is wonderful!

For people of a certain age (!) storytelling has even more benefits. It helps keep us mentally sharp and challenged, fosters creativity, and utilizes problem solving skills. It gives us a purpose, a sense of contribution, and can enlarge and strengthen our social circles.

Given these many benefits of storytelling and my pure joy at participating in connecting people with themselves and others, you may not be entire surprised to learn that I am teaching a new class about storytelling, “Everyone has a Story.” I invite you to find your voice and share your story!

Offered through HLOC’s new Sunny Brae Performing Arts Center for Education (The SPACE), this introductory class will be the first in a series that teaches how to write and read an entertaining story.

Now, before you freeze at the mere thought of ever wanting to read your piece in public, please consider the variety of other audiences who would love to hear your stories … family gatherings, potlucks with friends, grandchildren, and schools. (How better to teach children history than to learn about it from people who have lived through it? I imagine you can vividly recall the exact moment when you learned of President Kennedy’s assassination. What other life events have you experienced that are locked away in boring old history books? Oral histories are welcomed in many classrooms.)

And, in good faith, I have a confession to make. Eventually, I hope to have a troupe of happy storytellers who will traverse the region with me, sharing their experiences and good will. (Stay tuned! Beginning this summer, HLOC is partnering with OLLI and there are some exciting ideas floating about! Interested in a tap class? Maybe you explored the theater as a kid and would like to get back into it? Perhaps you’ve been singing in the shower for years and are ready to learn more? Would you like to share oral histories with school children? Looking for movement opportunities that are more creative and fun? A full schedule of classes will be announced in the fall OLLI catalog.)

Please just keep in mind that for my class, if a public venue isn’t your thing, it’s no big deal! All I ask is that you recognize there are plenty of people interested in hearing your story.

In three sessions, “Everyone has a Story” cover the fundamental elements of writing a strong story based on personal experience. Through examples, activities, and prompts, you will identify how to identify your unique topic. You’ll learn how to you grab your listener’s attention from the very first sentence and discover how descriptive language can move your story along or slow it down to a snail’s pace. In the final session, we’ll explore how to share your story with an appreciative audience, no matter who they might be. All levels of experience are welcomed!

The class fee is $45 and will be held from 6:30 – 8:00, on Wednesdays, March 25, April 1, and April 29. (There will be a four week break between the final two classes to allow time for the writing process.) The class will meet in HLOC’s SPACE, located at 92 Sunny Brae Center, Arcata. For more information or to register, contact HLOC at 445-4310 or email them at

Hope to see you there. Who knows … this could be the start of something great!

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