June 1, 2014 by Paula Reed Nancarrow
In a recent post, I answered the questions assigned to me by Nillu Nasser Stelter, who nominated me for the Liebster award.
I enjoyed answering her questions, and appreciated the response the post got. (Several people were unaware that kindness was a superpower. I can only assume it comes naturally to them. Anyone who has tried to talk to me before my coffee in the morning knows it does not come naturally to me.) I also explained that since the reciprocity part of the award – in which you nominate others and ask them questions in turn – is interpreted in various ways by various people, I was going to take some liberty with the rules.
I asked fellow storytellers on Facebook (there are very few on Twitter) just who blogged regularly.
People emerged I was familiar with, as well as people I was not. Here I am going to concentrate on five blogs written by storytellers with a long history of consistently blogging (and one who says she is inconsistent but I love her anyway). I’m also going to reference one blogger who told me she did not have time at present to participate. While these folks are well known in the storytelling communities that have nourished me creatively for years, most are not that well known in the blogging communities I am now discovering. So I thought an introduction to them would be in the spirit of the Liebster award. All of these bloggers are professional storytellers, and for many of them their material includes folk and fairy tales, as well as historical stories. They perform and teach storytelling in schools, for congregations, at festivals, for corporations. If they do slam storytelling, it is a relatively recent addition to a rich repertoire. Their blogs should give readers a broader appreciation of performance storytelling than my weekly posts, which currently focus on the slam format. When I began compiling profiles of these bloggers, I found I wanted to introduce each to you in a way that did not admit of putting all of them into one post. Therefore I decided to introduce one in this post, list the others, and offer the questions. I will post other profiles as others have time to respond (or to break up a month of Me, Me, Me), and link you back to each post as these are shared with me. Here, then, is the first:
Ellouise Schoettler, who blogs at Ellouisestory, describes herself as “a North Carolina Native and Septuagenarian who tells original stories from Mayberry to Capitol Hill that touch hearts and tickle funny bones.” She has been blogging consistently since 2005. I don’t think I’ve ever met Ellouise – though it is possible I was introduced to her at a National Storytelling Network conference, or at one of the closing parties for storytellers at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough.
Ellouise is an early adopter, having been on Twitter @ellouisestory since 2008. She has all sorts of video on her blog, like this wonderful story that she told at TedX:
She’s just completed the A to Z Challenge. This year she’s in the Washington, DC Capitol Fringe Festival, doing a one woman historical piece about “The Hello Girls” – a group of American, female, bilingual telephone operators who played a large part in The Allies’ victory in World War I.
Not bad for a woman who is celebrating her 78th birthday this summer.
The others – and the dates they began blogging:
Karen Chace (2008) – Catch the Story Bug
Megan Hicks (2008) – Life, the Universe and Everything
Susanna Holstein (2007) Granny Sue’s News and Reviews
Laura Packer (2007) – True Stories, Honest Lies
Zalka Csenge Virág (2007) The Multicolored Diary
If you did the A to Z Challenge this year, you may know Csenge, because she was on TeamDamyanti. I’m not quite sure what that means, but it sounds important. I do know Csenge was instrumental in getting a number of storytellers to try A to Z; possibly Ellouise was among them. At any rate, Csenge’s not able to participate in the Liebster questions, but her blog is well worth checking out. I’ve asked Ellouise and the other storytellers/bloggers to pick four or more questions from the list below, according to their interest and other time commitments. (Yes, I know I have bunched questions up. They can interpret “four” any way they want.)
- Why do you blog? Have your reasons for blogging changed over the years?
- Does your blog enhance your storytelling? Does your storytelling enhance your blog? In what ways?
- How does the audience you write for on your blog compare to the audience you perform for? Is there much overlap? Or do you write mainly for your peers and colleagues? Has your blog’s audience changed much over time?
- Do you know how many followers your blog has? Do you care? Do you get as much comments/interaction as you would like? Do you check your site stats regularly and know how many visitors/page views you have, and where they are from? Is this a fairly steady number? How long has it been where it is now? Was the growth in your audience incremental, or did you see big leaps at certain key points in your career?
- Is there a post on your blog that is a particular favorite of yours, or has important evergreen content you’d like to share? Is there a post that generated more than the usual amount of dynamic interaction with your audience – where the comments made a significant contribution to the post? Are the reasons similar to the reasons you get good dynamic interaction with an audience when storytelling?
- Do you publish your own stories on your blog, in written or oral form? Why or why not?
- On a monthly basis, how much time on average do you put into blogging? Has that changed over time?
- What do you find the most satisfying about blogging? The most challenging?
In case you are wondering, yes, there are men who are performance storytellers who blog.
However, men who are storytellers who blog and who have been blogging for as long as these ladies and who are now regularly blogging (that is, at least twice a month) are a set so small I cannot now currently find any. I would be happy to be proved wrong.