It was such a wonderful year for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and so it is no wonder that we are having a hard time officially saying goodbye. But, alas, all things must come to an end—and besides we have some fun things coming up in the next couple of months. As we make our final goodbye, we offer this look back in pictures at the 24th annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival:
All photos were taken by two of our fantastic volunteers: Laren Helms and Tom Thurston.
It is Saturday, 6 pm at the Orem Public library and I have just picked up the last of the entry forms for our new “Hauntings” storytelling competition. The library is now closed and I head back to my car so excited for the contest next weekend I can hardly stand it. I tuck the entry forms under my arm. As I approach my car I notice it is partially engulfed in a red gelatinous mass. Thinking this is some sort of joke I approach the red-shiny goo just too touch it and it suddenly reaches out as if to grab me.
No, it doesn’t want to grab me, exactly. It is actually trying to grab the contest entry forms from my hand! I keep the papers away from the red sticky arm. I begin to back up and run to get some help, but it is too late. An icy tentacle has wrapped around my waist and rebounded me into direction of the car. I am now stuck to the car like a fly on flypaper or a rat on a glue board. I am trying to keep the registration forms away from the approaching mass of goo, but to no avail. The red goo had grown around my whole body and began to creep across my outstretched arm. I began to understand how a toddler moves when he is keeping a prized cookie away from a determined parent. I held the registration forms as far away as I could from the encroaching evil gelatin.
“Why?” I yelled. “You don’t need these! I do!” I tried to scream for help, but apparently I didn’t practice enough screaming as a child. Nobody came.
Cold began to creep over my neck, scalp, and face. With all of my strength I quickly opened the contestant envelope and memorized the names. Panic set in as the slime entered my nose and mouth. I am so claustrophobic! I had to drop the registrations.
I awoke on the ground next to my car. A library staff member was shaking me. “Are you all right?” I checked all of my limbs. Everything was in place. I glanced around and there were no registration papers, anywhere. I brushed myself off and got in the car. At least I had remembered to look at the names. My eyes caught something unusual as I put the key in the ignition. On the dashboard was a note written in red slime, “See you on Saturday.”
I just don’t know whether I need to warn the “Hauntings” contestants or not.
With the temperatures (finally!) starting to creep slowly down the thermometer, my thoughts are increasingly turning toward my very favorite season: fall. With sweaters, hot chocolate, all things pumpkin flavored, leaves changing colors, crisp air, boots, soup, and football, what is not to love about this season?
And with Halloween just around the corner (as the local grocery store is going through great pains to remind me), fall also just happens to be the time of year that my entertainment choices also start getting creepier.
From books—I’ve got two books sitting on my nightstand and both have the word poison in the titles—to movies—Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn, anyone?—I am looking for a bit of spine tingling fun. Not too much of a spine tingle, mind you, since I do want to sleep at night. I just want something deliciously creepy, if you know what I mean.
Well, if you feel the same, Timpanogos Storytelling has one more thing to add to your fall must-do list: Hauntings, a brand new competition for scary stories! Whether you are interested in participating as a storyteller or just need a good scare, we have you covered this year.
Up first is the audition on Saturday, September 28 from 10‑2 pm. If you have a great spooky tale for us, or know someone who does, you can download our registration form online and take it in to the Orem Public Library to pay the $5 registration fee. You will then be contacted with a specific time slot.
Interested in a bit more information? Here you go:
There will be no separate divisions for youth and adults, but youth ages 12 and older are welcome to compete (and judging by our Liar’s Contest, the youth in this area can bring it!) Your story should be no longer than 10 minutes and should be spooky but not gratuitously violent or gory. We are recommending an audience age of 12+ so keep that in mind as you craft your stories (as in, we are looking to be scared and are warning our audiences to leave the littles at home).
Once the auditions are complete, the general public is invited to attend the finals of the Contest to be held Monday, October 28 at 7 pm at the Orem Public Library—don’t worry we’ll talk more about this next month!
More information on both events can be found under the events portion of our website.
A few days ago, I returned to Colorado with my family from another extraordinary experience at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Twenty-four years of excellence is no small feat. Everyone who ever has been or is currently involved in the festival or mid-winter conference can be very proud.
I am a storyteller and teacher among many other things. Most of my life, my telling of personal anecdotes was limited to the dinner table or my classroom, usually to make a point. I never thought I’d have personal tales to tell because I simply didn’t live Donald’s life. Those kinds of things didn’t happen to me. I was satisfied listening to Donald, recognizing the people in his stories, the shared values or ideas we have in common and letting his memories trigger alternating laughter and tears in me, often in rapid succession.
Over the years, I had the privilege of working with Donald in various workshops and always came away the richer for it. I used many of the techniques I learned from him with great success in my classroom and in inservices I conducted for parents, teachers and students of all ages.
A few years ago, it dawned on me that my next logical professional move was to step out of my comfort zone and work on my own personal stories with Donald. What I learned serves me professionally, in storytelling, teaching and the students with whom I work; and also personally in my appreciation of family, friends, colleagues, and myself. The perspectives I gained around noticing details and deepening awareness of life events: gratitude, laughter, missteps, joys, tragedies, personalities, humor and how they are interrelated continue to make connections for me in profound ways. I listen, write and speak differently, especially with the people I love. Those scraps of moments in our lives create beautiful tapestries if we will but stand back and recognize them. Yes, there are significant stories in each of our lives. As my friends at Timpanogos say, the stories are “Yours, Mine and Ours.” We may or may not ever perform them in front of a storytelling audience like Donald does, but taking the time to craft them and tell them to our families and others; to learn to listen deeply, thereby honoring the stories others have to tell us can only create profound levels of understanding that will serve us all in time. Kathryn Tucker Wyndham once told me, “We must tell our stories.” She was talking about families, people in trouble, people sharing joy, different cultures, different generations and humanity itself. This is a path to that directive.
If I can encourage even one person to be involved in one of Donald Davis’ retreats, I know I will be perpetuating a rare gift in families and in classrooms everywhere because the word will necessarily spread. This work of sharing our stories is just too important, just too good to be quiet about. I heartily encourage anyone to do so. The retreat was mind-opening for me on many personal and professional levels.
Donald is not a sage on the stage kind of teacher. His style is much more Socratic. There is so much depth to be gained from listening to the stories shared, to Donald’s responses, to the questions he asks, to the questions and responses from other individuals in the group itself, and the experience of our own responses to all of the above.
My experience with the retreat was that the meat of the learning goes far beyond the incredible insights Donald shares with his words. Much of the learning opportunity lies in the marriage of Donald’s sensitive experience, knowledge and wisdom shared with the stories told, and the responses and insights from other individuals in the group. It’s a very thoughtful process that requires time and trust. It’s much more than a solitary learning moment. It is much more than a class. It truly is a retreat with all the nourishment that implies.
I wholeheartedly encourage anyone to attend Donald’s retreat. I promise you, you will learn and you won’t be disappointed.
The Donald Davis Retreat is just around the corner, next week to be exact. Have you bought your ticket yet? Yes, I’m talking to you, the one who has a secret desire to go to an inspiring five-day retreat to learn from a master storyteller, the one who has family stories to collect and pass along, the one who rarely spends money on yourself, but really doesn’t want to let this opportunity pass you by. Donald’s hands-on approach and feedback will help you unlock your memories, tap into their story possibilities, and shape them into works of art. So, if you want to breathe life into your stories and nurture your talent, then act on that secret desire you have to be part of this retreat and buy that ticket before it’s too late.
For more details visit the retreat event page or purchase your ticket directly through Timp Tickets.
If you are one of the lucky ones that has already been to his retreat in the past, tell us about your experience.
Donald Davis Retreat