Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WV Storytelling Institute

I know, I know - write about the kitchen. I promise - but I wanted to get out information about the latest storytelling event (arguably the largest) in West Virginia. A lot of my fellow tellers will be there, and West Virginia's Spectral Heritage will have our display there as well!

The West Virginia Storytelling Institute will take place on April 3-4, 2009. This is a Friday and Saturday, and is the second time this event has taken place at Fairmont State University.

This is the Falcon Center, the student union at Fairmont State University. It's a new building, and impressive. The university is hosting the second annual WV Storytelling Institute here. There will be storytelling, sessions on how to storytell various styles, and music! Lots of storytellers use music in their storytelling (something I've yet to do). One of my favorite balladeers, Susanna "Granny Sue" Holstein, will be there again this year. Here she is presenting a workshop on ballads last year:
Of course, my favorite things about the storytelling institute are getting to see a lot of my friends that I normally only see once in a great while - and some that I last saw at the institute! Sad, I know, but thankfully a few of us have discovered Facebook, which helps us keep in touch better. Still, face-to-face is much more preferable. Here are Jo Ann Dadisman (of the Mountain Echoes), Granny Sue, and Ilene Evans. All are primo, excellent, one-of-a-kind storytellers!
Here are some other photos:

Here Ilene is in costume, when she portrays Harriet Tubman (and does a great job with it!). I'm not sure what made us laugh, but with us it could have been anything.


And who says no one is interested in Appalachian culture? It seems to me that we drew one heck of a crowd! Of course, with a great book such as this one, how could we not?

This book is our latest guild publication, titled From Our Mountains: A Collection of Stories from the West Virginia Storytelling Guild. It's a great read! And it puts its best foot forward - after all, my story is the first one! (I'm not saying anything about the stories being in order by author's last name). This book is still in print, and still for sale through any storyteller. You can get yours by contacting me, or any other storyteller from the
WV Storytelling Guild.

The schedule starts on Friday, the 3rd of April starts at 9am and runs through 9pm (or later). Saturday is much the same, with various tellers, events, and presentations throughout the days. You can find more information on the guild site, as well.
While you're at Fairmont State University, you may want to check out the Dr. Ruth Ann Musick library.
If the name sounds familiar, Dr. Musick was the lady who collected WV's ghost stories long before I was born, and is my inspiration for the WV Spectral Heritage Project. Her works include: The Telltale Lilac Bush, Coffin Hollow, and The Green Hills of Magic. Here are some photos from the inside of the library:
There is a large tile mural in the library depicting various scenes from Dr. Musick's books. This particular scene is of the coffin rider ghosts, a common theme in WV ghost stories.

This scene is from The Telltale Lilac Bush - a story about a husband who murdered his wife and buried her in the yard, but the lilac bush gives up his secret. I recommend these tales to anyone who loves a good ghost story!

This is several scenes of the tile mural, but the one in the middle depicts the "ghost light" spirit of a man killed by a train while walking the tracks at night. His ghost still lights his way on the tracks where he died.
If you want to know more about WV ghosts, read Dr. Musick's books, or go the West Virginia Spectral Heritage Project. I will work on getting the kitchen posted on here, but until then I hope you can forgive me and my spring fever!

3 comments:

Lanny said...

Those lilac bushes never could keep a secret.

It is good to see storytelling is alive and well. Both of my parents were storytellers. My father just was. Everyone loved his stories and the way he told them. He could keep family and guests enrapt for hours at a time. The dinner hour always lasted longer than a mere hour. While he was a live my mom told a little bit but then really blossomed into her own after he passed. She joined a group very similar to yours.

It seems that no matter how sophisticated we get we still just love to hear a story from a real person in person.

Granny Sue said...

Can't wait to see you, Jason. Only a week away! I didn't know you had those photos.

Jason Burns said...

Granny Sue - check out my facebook albums. There is one last year containing all the photos from the institute that I took.