Oprah does it, why can't I?

12 Days of Kim's Favorite Things!

Its been a great year. No, wait...a fantastic year.

I would list all of the wonderful things that have happened, but then I would come dangerously close to sounding like one of those Christmas newsletters that proclaim how grossly perfect someones life is.  So we'll skip that part.

Bottom line: It has been a good year because of you! My friends, fans, and family. Thank you for your support, for buying tickets, coming to the show, purchasing CD's, sending encouraging emails and  for just being there.  Because of this I want to spread some cheer, ring the bells, deck the halls, fly the sleigh, dress like an elf

Wait, maybe not.

Seriously. It all comes down to giving back to the people who have given me so much! 
It's what Christmas is all about. Giving. (warm, soft music inserted here)

12 Days of Kim's Favorite Things! 

Here is how it works :

1. You have to have a Facebook account. If you don't have one, I'm sorry, you can't participate. I know, I know...some people  refuse to conform to the Facebook phenom, but I have one foot in GenX and can't help myself. Plus, it is the biggest social network tool in the universe. Even Captain Kirk has a facebook fanpage!

2. If you are not already a friend on my personal page or a fan on my public site, shame on you. You are on the naughty list.  :o)  But you can redeem yourself AND be qualified for the giveaway by going to
http://tinyurl.com/yb6fenq   and clicking the  'like' button. You will automatically be transferred from naughty to nice. 

3. Then stop by each day to see the daily video. Each video will showcase one of my favorite things. Some I have found while traveling on the road this year, others are just good ole standbys. 

4. Watch the video ALL the way through. Listen for the secret word.  Leave a comment using the secret word and you will be entered into a drawing for the item! Easy.

Merry Christmas to you and a peaceful, productive new year to all, and to all a good night.

UPDATE!!! Thanks to all of you who viewed the videos.  We had over 2500 people watch the videos and participate in the fun. Best of all, NBC did a three day story on this little project and Feeding America got some great coverage and $$.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Giving Kids A Headstart

I can't be home for long until I start roaming the streets looking for places to tell stories. So, I did some free shows for the local Headstart. I was grateful to get some story relief.

When I finished telling my stories and singing a couple of songs, I asked the kids if they had a story to tell. They went ballistic, throwing their hands in the air and sharing their stories.  The teachers were thrilled. 

Headstart is a non-profit community pre-school who's mission is to maximize the strengths of families, their health and well being and the social skills of children. I believe that story plays a large part in strengthening families plus it is the perfect tool to educate children  about health, social skills, and many other important life skills. And I'm not even going to start on my tangent about story exercising right brain thinking which helps grow ethical kids. I clear a room when I get going on that one.

Most of the children in the Headstart program come from low income homes. When I worked for the police department one of the things we noticed was that when we entered low income homes we never saw books.

If you are a storyteller...look up your local Headstart. Give them a call. And go share a story. If you have books or tapes...donate them to the class. Help give a kid a headstart.


It is a mystery, the line that divides home from away. One only knows it by the note that is plucked when your heart crosses over.
Kim Weitkamp

Jonesborough Bound

Hey folks!  Getting ready to hit the road for three weeks.

I will be posting pics and checking in with updates throughout the National Storytelling Festival, the Four Corners Festival and the Forest Storytelling Festival.

Up first? The National Festival located in Jonesborough, TN. Stay tuned for pics and behind the scene footage.

What is Storytelling?

"What is storytelling?"

This is a question that was asked by an audience member after a show I did. This is a WIDE open question. To the general public, storytelling is a little librarian reading to kids draped over beanbags. To a salesman it is a tactic he uses to make a big closing. To a parent it is a fabricated tale to get out of trouble. To the ancients it was a way to pass on values and heritage. To people at festivals it is an escape from the normal hum drum.

This particular question was asked by an audience member at a storytelling concert...so we know in what context he was asking it. I gave my answer...and thought I would post it here and see what you thought.

I look at the world of storytelling like a wheel.

Dinner table stories of the day, dreams whispered to a baby, memories spoken to a bride before they take the aisle, front porch tales from my grandma, children telling make believe, a squealing girl on the cell phone telling her friends about her date or families sharing stories on a long trip. These are just a few of the examples that make up the hub of the wheel. It is a type of storytelling that cannot be performed or boxed and sold. It is  the very center of humanity. It fuels each and every day and is the basic, bottom line of communication that keeps us glued together as a society.

Now, out of that hub comes many, many, many spokes. None of them are wrong. None of them are better than the next spoke. They all are attached to the hub and they are all needed to keep the wheels on straight.
Performance telling, tall tale telling, Folk telling, therapeutic telling, applied telling, educational telling improv telling, telling with music, narrative dance (yes, I said narrative dance), telling for entertaining, telling for healing, telling to bring peace, reading stories (yes I said reading stories), comedic stories, historic stories, fairy tales, story in marketing, digital storytelling, storytelling pod casts, storytelling open mics, fringe festivals....should I stop? 

I could go on and on and on.  Now, some people may disagree with me and say that one of these spokes does not belong.  Who decides what is and is not, storytelling? If my story makes you laugh, is that bad?  If my story makes you cry, is that bad? If my story was written hundreds of years ago, is that bad? If I stand in front of a mic with an audience, is that selling out? If I sit at a campfire making something up to a bunch of badge hungry Boy Scouts, does that count?

We say storytelling is an art form. Well, art cannot be contained by borders and rules.  That is what makes it art, it is interpretive.

I say...bring it on. There will be new spokes that appear and disappear, new forms of telling and new styles of storytelling that come and go. It is all a part of something much bigger. I am not threatened and I don't want to debate...I say bring it on.

No matter what pops up in our 'storytelling' world the main thing is that it will lead the listener back to the hub.
And they will be inspired to go and tell a story. And that is what makes the big wheel of this world go 'round.

Which is all I really care about.

I am a Storyteller

Not to long ago I was interviewed for the Art of Storytelling podcast. Below is the written portion of the interview with Eric Wolf.  The recorded interview was entitled, "Reaching Troubled Youth Through Storytelling". If you'd like to listen, here is a link

By Kim Weitkamp:

For 15 years I saw first hand the amazing power of story. The right story deposited at the right time is like a time release capsule. I cannot count how many times one of the teens that I was working with would come back to me, after I told them a story, and they’d say, “Hey, you know that story you told me the other day? Well, I’ve been thinking about it…”

When I would hold group discussions, a story would bring together opposing sides. When I was digging into a person’s heart, trying gently to unearth the pain that was causing them to act out in anger, a story would be the trowel. When I looked into the angry hurting eyes of teen, a story would prove to them that I understood and that I had been there too.

I loved working with at risk youth and found great satisfaction in using story to bring healing. It was a worthy calling. But, after 15 years, it wore me out physically and emotionally, so I retired. From youth work, not storytelling. You cannot retire from what you are, you can only retire from what you do. So what I was had to release itself in another form.

I pulled out journals that I had kept over the years and started going over stories that I had written for no other purpose than to make me smile. I started sharing those stories with people outside my family and friends circle. After a few years of puttering around state festivals, schools and libraries, I branched out and before I knew it I was telling full time. But inside of me there was a struggle going on.

For years, I had used my stories to help teens who were suicidal, self-mutilators, violent offenders, lost, lonely and at their breaking point. I had used my stories for a worthy cause, but now I was telling for the sheer pleasure of it. I was using my stories to entertain and to make people laugh. I was at odds with myself. How could I go from one extreme to another? Was I selling out? Was there a purpose to what I was doing? I was constantly asking myself these questions.

One evening I was telling in a tent that was draped in white lights. The night was cool and still and the audience was perfect. I was in the middle of one of my favorite stories, right at a part where I pause for effect, when I had the most beautiful experience. As my gaze swept across the crowd I could see each face individually, expectant and ready. It was like slow motion, a hard thing to explain really, but they were there…with me… in the story, not in the tent. They were waiting to turn the corner with me and see what I saw and laugh at what I laughed at and smell what I smelled and taste what I tasted. They were there with me, in my story, walking with me.

It was at that moment I knew that what I was doing was just as worthy as my previous work. No matter how long I have them, no matter how large or small the group, no matter how funny, sad, silly, or heartbreaking my story is…it’s a miracle.

Each time I tell I have the privilege of taking my listener away from this world. For a few minutes I provide a much needed break from the rent payment, from the knee pain, from unemployment, from the wayward child, from the death of a loved one. It is a form of medicine, therapy, whatever you want to call it I don’t care. I only know that it is good. And to be a storyteller is a worthy calling.

After that experience I went to Jonesborough for the first time and in the glass shop on Main Street I found an art print that brought tears to my eyes. The artist had drawn a picture of a woman and beside it had written: “In the midst of the song she heard every heartbeat and knew she was a part of something bigger.” Nough said.