Catherine Conant grew up in a large Italian family in New Jersey where she learned to stitch together the things of family and of imagination to create powerful and beautiful stories about the world around her. Funny and poignant, you are sure to fall in love with Catherine!
1. What is the first story you remember hearing and/or the first story you remember telling?
The first story I told was one I found when I moved to a new town. I asked longtime residents what were their favorite stories about the place where they lived. The one they loved best was about a man who lived many years ago. His name was Bill Baker and he had teams of oxen. People hired him to plow farms and haul freight as well as any other odd job. (They even had a postcard of him standing with his team!) This is a favorite because it introduced me to the history of my town.
2. How was the seed of storytelling planted in your life?
I had had many different occupations but was still searching for the one I felt spoke to my heart. Twenty-five years ago, I attended a Connecticut Storytelling Festival in New London, Connecticut, and witnessed a storyteller captivate an audience as she told an African folktale. I suddenly realized I had found what I had been searching for and never looked back.
3. Where does storytelling grow from here? How do you want to see storytelling influencing society?
Much of my current work is helping groups and organizations become acquainted with the idea of using stories to create stronger and more vibrant neighborhoods and communities. It is exciting to watch people embrace the use of stories to instill understanding, connection and shared vision. I believe it is the most effective way to support the meaningful change we need and want. Stories that help us understand our past are essential for shaping our future. Stories tell us who we are.
4. If you needed to start a dance party, what song would you lead with?
Hey You (I Love You) Michael Franti and Spearhead
Don’t miss out on seeing Catherine at this year’s Festival. For more information about Sam’s schedule and the Festival, visit: https://timpfest.org/events/28th-annual-timpanogos-storytelling-festival.