How did you become storyteller?
If you asked my father how I became a storyteller, he would tell you I have been telling stories all my life. To be completely honest, I really did not know anything about storytelling until 1994. I was working at Live and Learn Early Learning Center in Lee, New Hampshire. I was working with the children in the toddler program that particular day. The head teacher said, “A storyteller is coming in to entertain the children.” I said, “Cool, but what is storytelling?”I had never seen or heard about storytelling. In fact, I had no theater experience in elementary school, middle school or high school. One day, my English teacher, Mr. Tappan, asked me to be in a school play, but I was too cool for school and wanted to only play basketball. At one point in my life, my father dragged me kicking and screaming to Les Miserables in Boston, Massachusetts at the Wang Center. I surprisingly loved that play!Back to that fateful day at Live and Learn Early Learning Center. The stage was set for a life altering experience. His name was Papa Joe, a storyteller, from New Hampshire. I was so impressed at him and at how he entertained the children. I said to myself, “Wow! If this guy can do it, I can do it too.” A true compliment for a true master storyteller, Papa Joe.The most amazing thing about that storytelling performance was that I believed I could do it too. The very next day, I covered the kindergarten teacher’s lunch break. The children asked me if I would read them a story. Instead, I asked the children, “How about if I tell you a story like the storyteller did the other day?” They said, “Okay” and I told my very first story. I called it the Magic Cow. It was a fable and it had parts of every fairytale, folktale, and parts of my own childhood all mixed together. The children loved it and every day after that day, they asked me to make up a new story to tell to them. That is how I started and became a storyteller. It wasn’t until much later that I had my first professional paid performance on December 19, 1998.
Is this really your full-time job?
Yes, since 2000 I have been a professional storyteller. I never regretted my choice of being of storyteller. However, to be completely honest sometimes it has been very scary, especially in the very beginning. Being self-employed you always have something to do. There is either too much work or not enough work. You have to think about buying your own health insurance and how to fund your retirement. Storytelling has become a dream come true and has allowed me to have a truly amazing life.
Where have you traveled to tell stories?
I have travel to every New England state, Florida, and as far as California. My dream trip would be a storytelling tour of Europe especially, England. I was born in Huntington England.
Can I learn to tell stories?
Of course you can. Everyone is a storyteller. You just need some practice. The key is to tell the story right away. If there’s no one to listen to your story, you need to jot down the key elements of the story. Example: the setting, the characters, the issue or problem and the outcome. Hopefully your story will have a happy ending, but it is your story, so you can have any ending you want.
Where can I learn more about storytelling?
You can start by reading some great books. I highly recommend Ready To Tale Tales and More Ready To Tell Tales by David Holt and Bill Mooney. These books have great stories to start with primarily folktales and each storyteller talks about the tricks of the trade and how to tell the story. You can also check out www.Storynet.org, which is the National Storytelling network. Be sure to check out my storytelling recordings and book, Sam and the Peanut Butter Crackers.
Can we take pictures and videos of your performance?
Absolutely. Please make sure to send me a copy of the pictures or the video. I can only use pictures of myself in the backs of children’s heads on my website without obtaining permission from parents