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ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Books / Writing • Storytelling • Muse

A Storytelling Journey

I gave a talk on Storytelling at my 50th Dartmouth College Reunion last month. Following is the text of my ten-minute introduction. If you want to see the whole, one-hour presentation, including video clips and stories, click on the video player below. Closed Captions (CC) available.

I never wanted to be a performer … until I discovered storytelling.

About two-and-a-half years ago, a friend of mine had a gig playing classical guitar at The Marsh, a club in Berkeley that was hosting a monthly storytelling night called Tell It On Tuesday. She urged me to come along. After she finished playing, five people, all roughly my age, stood up in turn and told stories. . . . CONTINUE READING: A Storytelling Journey

ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Books / Writing • Storytelling • Muse

BILLY SOLO Video — Part 2

One-Man Solo Storytelling Soirée Salon

4/20/18 at Silk Road House, Berkeley, California

Part 2 includes these stories:

"FDR: Fear Itself"

"Evelyn’s Story: Alex and the Cole Porter Show"

"Mendocino: The Essence of Nature"

"Snow Story: The Moon and Dr. Zhivago"

. . . CONTINUE READING: BILLY SOLO Video — Part 2

ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Books / Writing • Storytelling • Muse

BILLY SOLO Video — Part 1

One-Man Solo Storytelling Soirée Salon

4/20/18 at Silk Road House, Berkeley, California

Part 1 includes these stories:

"Anansi"

"Dog Years: Pop, Sophie, and the West Wing"

"The Seven Lies"

"Chartres: Ecstasy at the Altar"

. . . CONTINUE READING: BILLY SOLO Video — Part 1

ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Books / Writing • Storytelling • Muse

BILLY SOLO: One-man, One-hour Storytelling Soirée Salon with BILL ZARCHY

Friday, April 20th at 7 pm / Silk Road House, 1944 University Avenue #107, Berkeley (6-minute walk from Downtown Berkeley BART)

Tickets are ON SALE NOW: http://bit.ly/billysolo OR Go to zarchy.eventbrite.com . . . CONTINUE READING: BILLY SOLO: One-man, One-hour Storytelling Soirée Salon with BILL ZARCHY

ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Books / Writing • Storytelling • Muse

Moose Encounter

(Loosely inspired by a tall and nearly true tale)

Jake rushed through the door—sweaty and disheveled—to find Al playing solitaire in the main lodge.

“Al! I just had a moose encounter,” said Jake. “Up on Bacon Ridge. It was pretty great, dude. Wait’ll I tell the guys at home about this.”

“Was it sweet and chocolatey?”

“No, dipshit! Not that kind of moose, with a U! Moose with two O’s, like Bullwinkle. Huge, with antlers. I just saw one.”

“Tell me.”

“I grabbed my camera, hiked to the top, then took a few snaps, looking down at the ranch in the fall foliage. It was right purdy, pardner.”

“Jake, you’ve gotta cut that shit out. We’ll be home in Baltimore at the end of the week, and you’ll still be a dental hygienist. Not John Fucking Wayne.”

“Whatever. I blazed a doobie up there, lay in the sun for a while, then began to walk slowly down, through a clearing covered with wildflowers. Then, up ahead, off the trail, I saw movement in the trees. Something big and brown. Large, broad, flat antlers. Lots of points on them.”

“And you’re sure it was a moose? How do you know? You’ve never seen a live moose before.”

Jake looked at him with the same expression he might have if he’d been watching a baboon scratch its balls. “Al, I’ve seen enough ‘Bullwinkle’ episodes to identify those antlers.”

“You can’t be serious!”

“Hey, whatevs. Dude, trust me, this was a moose.”

. . . CONTINUE READING: Moose Encounter

ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Books / Writing • Storytelling • Muse

A Writer’s Debut As a Storyteller

About two years ago, I went to a storytelling event at The Marsh in Berkeley and watched six people tell six very different stories. Some personal, some historical, all about 10-15 minutes long.

My first reaction: I can do that.

Little did I know.

The tellers were all from Stagebridge, a Senior Theatre Company housed in an old church in Oakland, so I started taking storytelling classes there. Stagebridge also offers courses in acting, directing, singing, dancing, and many other kinds of performance. It’s the only “senior” thing I’ve ever done. But close friends, both recently retired psychologists, have found new passions in performance at Stagebridge, and, so I dove in.

I’m a big fan of “The Moth,” the NPR show, and the storytelling of travel writer Jeff Greenwald. I’ve always liked reading my written stories in public. I saw storytelling as a way to extend that fun with different audiences. But it’s not as easy as I thought it would be, because it’s all done without notes or text.

At first I tried reading some traditional/folk tales to myself and then trying to deliver them in class, adhering as closely as possible to the words I had read. Then I tried to convert some of my own written stories for oral delivery. The tendency for newbies like me, especially writers, is to want to memorize and reproduce the pearly prose I put on paper. That’s not how they teach it at Stagebridge.

It’s more about learning/knowing the . . . CONTINUE READING: A Writer’s Debut As a Storyteller