Thursday, January 15, 2015

Telling tales


Le lien or link through my adult life has been in telling tales.

As many of you know, my first career was that of a professional actor. This was in the pre-Fall in Love with a Handsome Frenchman and Change Everything years. It was all I ever dreamed of, to be a part of sharing such incredible stories - some of which had retained their magic for centuries - and to be able to do so live in front of an audience in order to feel the ripple of exchange. It is a metier that is rooted in hard work and many techniques are needed - from such fundamentals as how to train the voice and body to resonate in a several-hundred seat house without losing their subtlety to very specific gimmicks such as how to breathe from the bottom of the stomach when you are playing a character that has just died onstage (franchement, way harder than it looks). Extensive research and exploration, not to mention a little song and dance (literally and figuratively) - these all go into an actor's bag of tricks. 

So when Remi and I formed a team of travel writer (me) and photographer (him) - after I doggedly accepted that the only roles that my non-French speaking self could pull off in France would be mime-related (no thank you) - it was actually an easy transition. All I had to do was to keep telling stories and what was even better was that I was able to travel widely with my Honey while doing so. During one such trip, while covering the Khampas people in what was formerly Tibet, we came across a grungkan whose job was to sing "The Song of King Gesar". He offered to give us the ultra-condensed three hour version of what is considered to be the world's longest epic poem. While we declined his services, I definitely saw a kindred spirit in this fellow story-teller (albeit he was a divinely chosen one) and with a click I realized that I had seen many such figures in societies throughout our travels, huddled around a fire, speaking to the stars, spooling out images like silk. How we need them to know who we are.


Recently, I was asked to consider what would I barter if the world's system changed, if electricity was out and we just had our skills to rely on. The answer came quickly: I would remain a story-teller, most certainly as we would all need a bit of wonder and perspective in our cut back to basics world, wouldn't we? It would be a rag-tag existence but I can't imagine anything better than to make people laugh or cry or think. It would be a good life. It is a good life.

I am late to the party in writing about this as I needed to let my previous post stand. But it is an interesting question and I am, admittedly, selfish. Well, I told you upfront that what interests me is the exchange. That is why I am still shelling out stories on this blog. It is a bit of barter in itself. A little bit of me for a little bit of you, even if just in stopping by. So then (and I know that many of you have already responded elsewhere), what skills would you offer up to the world? Mainly, I just hope to hear you say, "I am good at this..." Because you are. So, please tell. Cook, sew, grow, hoe? Rewire, paint, dogwalk, teach a dance class? Diversity is what keeps this amazing world turning and what each of us has to offer is more than important. It is life.

Of course there is more than one way to spin a yarn and this one is sublime:


This post is my belated contribution to our monthly get together on a central theme. To see what the other fine bloggers would barter, please click here.


Ps. And yes, I know that I am a big liar in that I promised to get back to Provence but this was a now or never situation! À lundi prochain...


40 comments:

  1. You are sublime Heather and the music at the end is as well. I have such an admiration for songwriters.
    I would take up painting again, (a passion which went away awhile during events of the past few years) and still continue to support others in their artistic endeavors!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Featuring "Inner Spaces"

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    1. I really hope that you take up painting again even if the world doesn't go back to a barter system! Being creative does a person good, even if no one else ever sees it...

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  2. I would offer hugs, lots of hugs! I'm not sure what else I might have to give, this is a very provocative question - one on which I am going to be pondering for a bit of time! Do I have anything that someone else might want to experience, see, hear? I don't know right now, but I'm going poke and prod and see what's inside me.

    Thank you, Judi

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    1. Top skill? Professional Hugger. I love it! But Judi, I am sure that you have a lot that you could offer up. If you think of things don't hesitate to come back and share...

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  3. I am a singer and I would barter away with standards and jazz. I'd need a good pianist to join forces with, though. Storytelling is a beautiful art, one in which you are very accomplished, dear Heather.

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    1. See? This is EXACTLY why I persisted in publishing this post even though tardily. I had NO idea that you can sing - let alone the standards! Wow. And you could always sing accapella!

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  4. Heather .. your acting has never stopped, you are simply receiving applause from a new, very appreciative audience. With a standing ovation we declare .. "Please, Heather .. act on!"

    Mahalo et Merci,
    Bill Facker
    www.kauai-to-paris.com

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    1. Much Mahalo, Bill. Truly. But do tell, what would you barter? Your gorgeous exotic flowers?

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  5. I would tell children to adults how wonderful and valuable they are.

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  6. Love this. Storytelling is the essence of all entertainment. Tales of sherazade (sp?) only lived bc of tales. Would barter food for some of your tales.

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  7. “...speaking to the stars, spooling out images like silk.” You have a gift to tell a story and inspire many of us even though your life didn’t depend on it like Scheherazade. Thank you Heather.

    A thousand and one nights inspired Russian composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov to compose the symphony, Scheherazade. Link to the symphony's first movement below:

    http://youtu.be/GgMrw0UwNLs?list=PL720CB57F28108126


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    1. Oooh, I will listen to it, thank you Edgar. And your talents as a doctor would be very needed - what else would you barter?

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  8. Hello Heather
    And a very good storyteller you are too. There will always be an audience for a storyteller.
    It is a great subject and one that makes us review our skills. I can knit, sew, bake, paint, escort tours. Perhaps we should go in business together!!!
    Have a great week
    Helen xx

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    1. I think that we would make a formidable pair, Helen. :) "Charming Lady Tours"?
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend and week ahead as well,
      xo
      H

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    2. Ha Ha Heather, I love the name. It covers a multitude. Just book with us and we will deliver whatever we feel like delivering.
      Have a great weekend

      Helen xx

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    3. Exactly! One day it could be a wine tour, another day a historic home tour, another day a "lets picnic at the beach" tour... ;)

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  9. THAT WORKS!!!!!!!!!
    I hear through the grapevine you are an EXCELLENT ASSISTANT CHEF TOO!Most likely a REAL CHEF but I will not put you on the SPOT!I have seen some of those dishes you have cranked out!Of course, if you lived on my STREET or in MY VILLAGE you would BE IN CHARGE of the evening cocktails!!!!!!!XOXO
    PS.LOVED what you wrote on HAVE SOME DECORUM BLOG backing me up!MERCI BELLA DONNA CON CAPELLI ROSA!XXX

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    1. This made me laugh so hard! Much Love to you, amazing Contessa!

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  10. Hmmm - what would I barter? Not my cooking skills! (though I just made a quiche tonight - hooray!). I would not offer up my financial prowess. I guess I'm good at singing? Teaching music to little kids? I'm a pretty good listener (what a great pair we make!) and I don't know if I'm good at it, but I REALLY like to make my sister laugh! I think you forgot to add writer and photographer to your list, but actually I guess they do fall under the storyteller heading! And, hey, we forgive you for not getting right back to Provence; you've had a rough go of it over there. Sending love, as always...

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    1. Sister, you are good at SO many things I don't even know where to start!!!

      To my dear readers: did you know that my Sister is an incredible song-writer and has recorded a great album? That she was on Broadway and can teach the opening number to "A Chorus Line"? That she is a delightful card-maker and illustrator? And yes, she is really, really good at all of the things that she mentioned, especially making me laugh!!!

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  11. I love the image of "spooling out images like silk." Pure magic. The phrase reminds me of Isak Dinesen telling tales after dinner in Africa.
    What could I barter? I can grow and cook and preserve food as well as sew clothing, and I would trade all of that, but I'm also good at seeing wonder and sharing it with others.

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    1. You most certainly are good at that! And we would need a whole lot of it too. But I think of you as a "can do" woman, for sure... :)

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  12. Your story telling is magnificent, and certainly barter material. We would all need entertainment and with no electricity, you'd be a busy lady!

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    1. I would have to be in order to get by but YOU on the other hand...wow, I still can't get over all of the things that you know how to do.

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  13. Don't think it would surprise you to know it's words for me too! Also soup, hugs and teaching Tae Kwon-Do. Actually think we'd be better off under a barter system- earning money is not a skill we have mastered terribly well. I would trade my skills for more travel and theatre.

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    1. More travel, hear hear!!! Lisa, I think that you have so much to offer in ways both literal and mysterious. And you know what? I hope that we don't ever get to the point where we need to barter for hugs. Hopefully you can just give those away for free!!! hehehehe

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  14. With story telling you would be on to a winner (reading just now about Aesop and his influential story telling). For a short period of time I could offer care of the elderly. :) Long term I would have to find something less exhausting.

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    1. Oh my. You have all my great respect with your response, G.

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  15. What a wonderfully timed post for me. In the last month I've been reminded that while opening new doors is wonderful, it sometimes means closing other doors. In pursuing that daydream in Greece I have had to resign from a volunteer position on a board that is very near and dear to me here. In doing so, I offered to stay involved with the organization and said, "I can answer telephones and can write. Most recently I've learned I can paint, plant, haul things and do other grunt work." That, I guess, is what I would have to offer the world. . .a humbling thought-exercise you've given us all today. Hugs~ Jackie

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    1. A hug right back to you Jackie as I am most certain that the volunteer orginization from which you resigned is sad to see you go as you are to move on. But, with such a giving spirit, I have no doubt that there will be new adventures for you in Greece as well...you have much to share and offer...

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  16. Heather, you are a wonderfully talented story teller - you kept us all so absorbed during our walk through Arles and I love moments spent here with your words and photos. Kindred spirits we are and I always considered myself a story teller, too... all through my PR/Marketing days I remembered that ultimately I was just telling stories... and now that I've said goodbye to all that I consider myself still a story teller although now I trade in images more than words.

    I skipped this months topic - just couldn't get it together, but of course my answer is that I would trade my art. A story for a story in our case.

    Happy Weekend to you my talented friend! XOXO

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    1. Mais oui! I was sure that was what you would barter! But we can't all do what we want when we want in this blogging world, of that I know. And yes, we are kindred spirits and just different enough to give each other a bit of faith (well, you do that for me, hopefully I do the same for you) just when needed.

      You are such a lovely person, Jeanne, above and beyond your art.
      xo
      H

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  17. Good evening Heather,
    You are a Wonderful writer my dear, my students would surely appreciate your tales!
    I think I would be a good hostess... I like receiving people, cooking for them, preparing simple events... the entertainment is not lacking in my house as you already know ( music, dance... ) I think we could offer moments of comfort and culture.
    You could join us with your art ! It would be Wonderful!
    :) Have a nice weekend my dear!
    Hugs

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    1. Yes, that is perfectly said, Emilia! Of the little I know of you I am sure that your house would be the place to be!!

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  18. you are a good story teller, Heather, and I like to read your blogs again and again (also it improves my English...I hope) but the most interesting I met in Syria. it was my first meeting with a story teller at all and with all the atmosphere around it touches my heart . I must think about this man quite often and what might happened to him. I believe you can imagine what I mean.

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    1. I do. And I am as sad as you for the many innocent people whose lives have been torn apart by war and terrorism. But I am grateful that you were able to go and see.

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  19. Heather I would happily listen to a tale or two or three from you anytime! Come along to Vietnam...I will treat you to a day in return. I promise it will be unforgettable. ;) Just catching up on news and emails, I have been thinking of you and Remi and his exciting news! What a year it has been for both of you! So very happy for you both. xx

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    1. Thank you dear Jeanne. Oh my, the stories that you can tell...and do! How I would love to visit you in Vietnam. I am so happy that at least I can via the web. :)

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