2007 Highlights

The 15th is a week away. I am excited. It marks my last performance of 2007. I will have a four week break! It has been a phenomenal year. I have had the opportunity of sharing the stage with some magnificent talent and I do not take that for granted.

I have met so many wonderful people this year and I am so blessed to have a tight circle of storytelling friends to whom I owe a debt of gratitude in one way or another. Whether it be for encouraging words, recommending me for a gig, critiquing me with a smile or giving me a place to sleep...the list goes on.

2007 had many highlights for me. To many to list. I thought that having Carmen Deedy start a standing ovation for me was going to be the highlight of my year.

I was wrong.

Last weekend I performed at 4 stages in Colonial Williamsburg. The first stage had about 500 people at it. A nice crowd that responded well. The second stage had about 800 people at it and they responded well too. But the third stage...aah yes... the third stage had 4,200 people at it. And they were so quiet as I told. The cold midnight air filled with a misty rain. They laughed at all right places, applauded lightly at the best spots and gave off an energy that fueled my telling to a new level.

But even that was not the highlight of my year.

The highlight was when I went home for Thanksgiving and my mom, dad, brothers and sisters talked me in to telling a few stories in the family room at a plastic table with my nieces and nephews there.

That was the highlight - although, I could get used to crowds of 4,000 real easy!

Happy Holidays.

Getting Better

Just returned from a WONDERFUL weekend trip. Hit Richmond, went to The Camel for a storytelling show then slept in my friends living room. Woke up headed to Courtland, enjoyed a ton of kids from the gifted program. We had a blast as I told stories and hopefully awoke in each of them the storytelling bug.

From there took the ferry across the beautiful James River and went to Williamsburg where I rounded out the weekend with a wonderful time of telling at the Williamsburg Tellebration. A lot of great tellers performed and I was honored to be featured with them. Stayed at a friends house - always an adventure. Thank God for people who will let you stay for free!

Now on to a little soapbox.

Artists (any type, but here we will mainly focus on storytellers) always want to get better at their craft. It is important. If you want to make a living doing what you love to do, then you better be good at it. To get good at it you better be open to criticism. I love criticism - even when it comes from a wrong heart, because usually there is truth in it. And truth brings realization and realization offers up the choice to change and get better or stay the same and stagnate. I prefer realization with the outcome of change.

I think, and forgive me if I am wrong, that many tellers seek out the kind, positive words of admiration when they are done performing. Some of these comments are offered up to them only out of kindness, not truth. So they walk around duped - believing that they are better than what they really are. This leads to confusion, because in the end they do not get the call back or get the gig.

I encourage you, no matter what your art medium is, to surround yourself with people who will tell you the ugly truth because they love you and want you to succeed. I am so grateful that I have friends who will do this. It has enabled me to fine tune much of what I do. And just when I think I am really hitting a home-run, they make sure I am brought down to earth with a few loving comments that let me know I have a long way to go before I hit perfection.

Loving criticism is really just pruning. Pruning brings growth . If you are interested in being pruned, give me a call. We can take turns clipping each others branches.


Whew! Take a deep breath...what a month.

September was amazing. I did a ton of shows. For one festival I did 10 shows in three days. It is exhausting but oh so much fun.

I was just at Jonesborough (if you don't know about Jonesborough it is the mothership for all storytellers). It was like being a professional bubble blower and standing in the middle of a bubblegum factory and someone saying - you cannot touch the gum. Just look at it. Ahhhh!!

I enjoyed my time there and all the tellers were great but the desire to be on the stage...any stage was overwhelming and exasperating. I came home and looked at my calendar and saw that my next gig is not for two weeks. TWO WEEKS!!! That is a lifetime when you have an itch to scratch.

So...I will make some calls and go somewhere and tell. Dinner tables, campfires, parking lots. The world is a stage.

Upcoming news:
Berry Hill Plantation (private show) and Smithfield Plantation are the next gigs on the map. Not my regular type of shows but it is good to be stretched.

After performing at the Colonial Williamsburg Storytelling Festival, I was invited back to Williamsburg as the featured teller for Tellebration. An honor. I will be performing in South Boston on November 16th and heading to Colonial Williamsburg on the 17th.

Hope you can come.

An Update

Thanks for stopping by. Lot's of great things going on. Just finished writing several new pieces of material. It's odd how the creative flow comes in waves.

Uncle Cigar makes an appearance for the first time. The Dandelion Festival in Pitscreek runs into trouble. Songs start showing up at the end of stories. Flying sleds, UFO's, inner tubes, Gollywhopper eggs, and more crazy Uncle Norm contraptions have been added. Grandma Anna shows her crazy side and the squirrels come home.

Confused? Well, you'll just have to check the events calendar and find a date that suits you and come out and hear what is going on.

I have some pretty good gigs coming up, and if you are a story lover, I will probably see you there. Williamsburg VA, Gettysburg PA and Bluefield VA are just around the corner. Real exciting news, I was just added as a featured teller for the Smoky Mountains Storytelling Festival in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee this coming February. An honor.

I will be sharing at the Swapping Grounds in Jonesborough. If you are going to the National Storytelling Festival, check in and see when I am telling. I need all the support I can get!! I will be doing my performance on Saturday at some point. Don't know the exact time till I get there.

The new CD should be out this month. Thanks to all of you who pre-purchased. I appreciate your patience. It will be worth it, I promise.

Thanks for your support! Keep checking the web site for updates.


I recently had someone ask me a great question. What is the one thing you couldn't live without doing?

Well, that may be an easy question for you...but for me it's real tough because I like to do so much. I write, perform, paint, read ( a lot), sing, play three instruments, camp, travel, entertain, and on and on it goes.

That one question made me pause, in the midst of the busy, and really think.

And I figured it out.


I could not live without laughter...mine or other peoples laughter.

If every word I said made you laugh, I would talk forever.

I love performing and hearing the response of laughter. It fuels me. To know that I can entertain people for 30 - 45 minutes and take them away from the hussle and flow of life, relieve them momentarily of pain, make them forget the job-arguement-sickness...is a wonderful thing.

So I will keep on writing, telling, performing and laughing.

  • Make 'em laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.
  • Laugh as much as you breath and love as long as you live.
  • The human race really only has one effective weapon, and that is laughter.
  • Nothing shows a mans character more than what he laughs at.
  • The earth laughs in flowers.
  • A laugh is a smile that bursts.
  • Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life.
  • What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.
  • Laughter is an instant vacation.

The Little Voices...

I was talking to a reporter the other day. She was interviewing me and asked how I get the ideas for my stories. I proceeded to tell her that I keep a notebook by my side at all times. I told her that there is a constant flow of thoughts in my head, mostly humorous, that I try and keep at bay when I am doing the daily routine of life. But sometimes, a really good one just pops to the front and I jot it down in my notebook. When I take time to sit down and allow those thoughts to come to the forefront, I have more ideas than I have time to work into stories.

She was quiet for a minute and then I realized that she probably thought I sounded a little...uh, well...nuts.

But if you are an artist or a writer, then you understand. It's not little voices or anything like that. It is just the glaring reality of life, filtered through a creative eye, and then bounced around on the facets of a creative mind and a wild imagination.

I love it.