Daniel Morden respects the power of a great story, stories that have stood the test of time, sifted through generations of tellers until the words and message have been polished smooth. When I listen to his Welsh accent carefully crafting tales I fall in love with words all over again. From Greek and Celtic myths to Jack stories to Welsh folktales, Daniel explores it all. He lights up dark places so we can peer into the corners.
Get to know him a little better by reading his answers to our five questions.
1. At TimpFest we are very family oriented, will you tell us a little about your family?
I live in Wales with my wife Marion and our two sons, Benjamin (11) and Joseph (9). The boys are both soccer mad. As long as they have a patch of grass where they can kick a ball, they are happy. We have a story club in our home, where adults and children share traditional stories. My eldest son won a contest for his storytelling last year. The boys love festivals. Ben likes discovering new acts. Joe likes discovering new food!
2. If you weren’t a professional storyteller, what would you be doing instead?
Probably a teacher. As my sons grow up, I realise what an important and rewarding job it is. Their teachers have had an enormous influence on them.3. Do you get nervous when you tell stories on stage? If so, what do you do to overcome your fear? If not, what is the key to your fearlessness? I get nervous, particularly in front of thousands of people. What do I do? – I trust the stories. I am just a conduit for a tale that has charmed, chilled, or thrilled audiences for hundreds-sometimes thousands- of years. If I can get out of my own way then the story will work its magic. And just before I go onstage I think of the most inspired teller I ever saw, Brother Blue. He was an extraordinary performer, consumed by delight in words and ideas. I remember his passion and try to copy it.
3. Do you get nervous when you tell stories on stage? If so, what do you do to overcome your fear? If not, what is the key to your fearlessness?
I get nervous, particularly in front of thousands of people. What do I do?- I trust the stories. I am just a conduit for a tale that has charmed, chilled or thrilled audiences for hundreds-sometimes thousands-of years. If I can get out of my own way then the story will work its magic.
4. What is the most embarrassing thing that you have done or has happened to you on stage?
I got the hiccups once….’Once upon a (hic) time….’
5. The BYU football team will be playing Nebraska the Saturday of the Festival. Who is your pick to win? (This is a “know your audience” moment.)
And a bonus question: How did you get your start in storytelling?
My Dad read to me and my brother when we were children. I remember him sitting at the end of my bed, I remember the sound of his voice. His words became pictures in my head. We went to Middle Earth, the wild west, Asgard, WW2 Poland: many extraordinary places. A wardrobe wasn’t the portal that took me to Narnia, or a beanstalk to the land of a giant. It was a voice. Every time I tell a story I am attempting to reproduce that experience for the audience. To give them what I had.
Listen to a podcast of Daniel Morden at a telling at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough last year. http://www.9thstory.com/tatterhood/