Community of Storytellers

Marvin Pittman, Sylvester Salcedo, Michelle Trieste, Adair Heitmann, Mitzy Sky. Photo credit: John Swing

I’m sharing a moment of gratitude for my storytelling community near and far. Storytellers have this way of getting to the heart of the matter and for being an inclusive band of renegades and angels. I am fortunate to have stumbled upon the art and act of visual storytelling — writing, creating visuals, and speaking the spoken word in front of live audiences.

As an artist and writer who specializes in personal narratives, visual storytelling is right up my alley. I appreciate my national storytelling exchange group via Zoom and the drafts they sat through, asked questions about, and provided constructive feedback on. The Bridgeport Art Trail Storytelling Exchange is phenomenal! Our local in-person We Rise Storytelling Collective is fun and risky and embracing. Thank you for encouraging me to tell my authentic stories in front of such an appreciative group! Then there is the national Artists Standing Strong Together that connects and weaves and advances the art of storytelling.

Recently, one of my stories “Art Saved My Life: Journey of a Lifetime” was selected for me to present in front of a live audience in a theatre alongside 12 other visual storytellers and the entire experience rocked my world. There is this vibe and connection between the PechaKucha Night Bridgeport storytellers that cut through any phoniness or pretense. The tellers shared their own true stories on the theme: Journeys: How Did We Get Here? Thank you City Lights Gallery and PechaKucha Night Bridgeport.

You can watch and listen to my 2022 PechaKucha presentation here. Please be advised it has adult content about healing and transformation.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Consider creating and sharing stories in the presence of others, it may just change your life!

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This I Believe

It’s a snowy day here in New England. I have a few minutes before I head out to work so I’ll share some cross-pollination news with you. Have you heard of the international project, “This I Believe?” It started in the 1950’s and since then has engaged people in writing, sharing, and discussing the core values that guide their daily lives. I’ve listened to it on NPR for years, and I’ve often heard my quiet voice say I’d like to do that. Last summer I got my wish in a very creative way.

An invitation came from the Unitarian Church in Westport, for speakers to contribute to a lay-led service filled with closely held convictions and jazz. How could I resist? I spent several weeks and many drafts creating my essay. My writing critique group inspired me to strip away the layers until I got to the heart of my message, and members of the church committee guided me to clarity. The results were that I gave back to my community; met new, bright and articulate people; modelled for my critique group that writing can take a long time; and after a few minor changes, I submitted my essay to “This I Believe.”

Five months later I heard back from the international project — my essay “I Believe in Dreams” was selected for the permanent collection.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Just do it. Show up for your life and the rest will follow.