We are all mosaics of many different stories.
Our experiences are different of course but if we are lucky and if we don't fight the changes they ask of us too much, We learn to see how much our mosaic of stories connect us.
Here's a glimpse of mine.
Sophomore year in high school I was yanked straight off my foundation like Dorothy's house. I was diagnosed with stage III multiple tumored cancer.
Bald, wearing masks long before it was pandemic cool, lots of chemotherapy- after 2 years- by pure grace, and the guidance of the celestial St. Jude Children’s Hospital - I went into complete remission. I graduated high school and three days later I left for college- aching for change yet utterly bewildered.
I worked at Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp- a haven for kids facing life threatening experiences. Thought I could help. i suppose I did. But I also got helped. Hard. Magic abounds my friends. Camp is a magnet for gifted souls and artists of all kinds.
At a campfire one night I witnessed a talented artist tell a story. It happened then.
That was my moment.
I knew I would learn the craft. I would be a storyteller.
I threw on a backpack and I went to to the roots. I lived in Ireland, Scotland for over a year, seeking and finding storytellers.
Festivals, pubs, schools. I learned. Then I started to I perform...anywhere, on the street, with musicians. I was fortunate to intimate time with gifted seanchais (storytellers).
I was all in and I wanted more.
I needed to be inside stories bigger than I alone could tell. So
I trained at the Dell Arte International School of Theatre. Craving more tools than to Actor’s Avenue Studio for Meisner. Then more, -Anne Bogart's Viewpoints- mask work etc.
I want my tool box full and ready to serve the story.
Stories are soulfully nutritious. They give validation. They give permission. They offer moments where we can experience our collective humanity. We laugh, shout for justice, weep for peace. We learn things and find strength to release burdens. Together. Stories remind us we are not alone.
It is impossible for me to stop being moved by people. Humanity inspires me in all of its chaotic and divine motion. It's a superpower and a kryptonite. I am fortunate to work with many talented, diversely skilled storytellers. On stage, on camera, coming through my headset in my recording studio. We bring our skills, we dive in, and we let go into the work that connects us all. We give it away in hopes even a glimpse of truth can help remind us,- that we are all in this together.