Wednesday Nov. 9th in Boulder, CO: StoryEarth Debut Performance!

Have you ever heard of a performance that combines live storytelling of earth myths with multimedia and provocative new philosophy? Philosophy that tackles the challenge scientists face in telling the true story of climate change? If you haven’t, we’re not surprised, but nothing like StoryEarth has been done before and we want you there.

With Gaia theorist, scientist and naturalist Martin Ogle, I’ll be in Boulder, CO this coming Wednesday night to swap center stage back and forth, moving between ancient story and modern science. Why? To engage the audience (and a further ongoing conversation on Facebook here) with the question: “Do our ancient beliefs about our and earth’s origins serve us any longer?” Yes, it’s controversial, but then again, how humans envision our place in Nature determines how we treat it. Considering global weather, one could say that the Earth is annoyed with us these days. Everyone sees it. Mass migrations have begun as people flee drying regions.  Sea levels are rising. Storms are dumping unprecedented amounts of rain on places that used to be safe.

Serious as the topic is, the show is also going to be highly entertaining. I’ll be performing The Elf of Springtime on Celtic harp and Fall of the Titans, an epic piece with giant voices and a full score on 12-string guitar. And the event will be emceed by Kendra Krueger, nano-materials scientist and Colorado public radio personality.

Even if you’re not in Colorado, if you have friends in Boulder, Denver or nearby places, please share this blog post with them. If they go, I’ll bet they get back to you, excited at what took place.

StoryEarth and is sponsored by the Parent Engagement Network and Entrepreneurial Earth. Tickets @ $15 general admission and $12 for students are available at: http://www.parentengagementnetwork.org/odds-bodkin

Storytelling Meets Science: StoryEarth with Martin Ogle

“Do you wish to be King of the Cosmos, my son?” she asks, angry at her husband. “Oh, mother, you know I do,” answers Cronus. “Then take this sickle,” Gaia replies, handing it over, “and wound your father so he can no longer be king.”

 
These two are Titans, the early half-giant, half-elemental builders of the world, at least according the Greek poet Hesiod, who set down his beliefs circa 700 B.C. In the Theogony’s fantastical world, Gaia is the original Creatrix, the Earth itself, who in her underground womb of Tartarus gestates the mountains, sea and sky. It’s the sky she marries, birthing 12 perfect Titans with her husband Ouranus. But when she starts giving birth to monsters, he grows fearful and locks them away. While her Titan children bring day and night, rivers and streams, even prophecy into the world, Gaia grows furious with her husband for demanding only perfect offspring. The Golden Age soon ends as betrayals haunt this first of first families and a baby named Zeus is hidden away, like Moses in the reeds.

 
Theogony means “birth of the gods” and it’s the Greek gods of Mt. Olympus we’re talking about. Those perennial favorites at the movies. Hera. Poseidon. Hades. Demeter. And not least of all, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, who turns out to be the eldest of them all, born in a horrifying way. They’re all pre-scientific human projections, of course, who existed in the Greco-Roman imagination for a thousand years or so, but their thoughts and actions are entertaining nonetheless. We still fancy their mythic escapades to this day. For gods who are supposed to be immortals, they’re as human and fallible as the people who dreamt them up.

 
Jealousy. Ambition. Love. Betrayal. Imprisonment. Sleep potions. Monsters. Creation. Castration. Swallowed children. Rebellion. Just of few of the themes in this epic story I’ll be offering as part of StoryEarth with Naturalist Martin Ogle (pictured) on November 9th, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the University of Colorado’s Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex in Boulder, Colorado.

 
Come listen to this first Game of Thrones-style story. It’s adult and very fun, told with character voices and an original score on 12-string guitar. Then Martin will contrast the myth with modern-day science’s discoveries of how Earth came to be, a little more accurately, as far as we know at the moment. Serious attention will be paid to climate change and whether our stories about the Earth need a science update.

 
The show is called StoryEarth and is sponsored by the Parent Engagement Network and Entrepreneurial Earth. Tickets are available at: http://www.parentengagementnetwork.org/odds-bodkin

TO DREAM A STORY/Odds Bodkin Workshops in Colorado

Years ago I told Sedna, the Ocean Mother at an environmental education conference. It’s a terrifying Inuit tale of a young girl who refuses to take a husband, but who’s forced by her father to marry a stranger who shows up with big promises. In the end, he’s the spirit of the Storm Petrels, half-man, half-bird, who isolates her on an island and treats her cruelly. The story just gets worse from there, but when I told it at this particular conference, professors from Antioch New England Graduate School, now Antioch University New England, offered me an adjunct professorship, which I accepted. I taught at Antioch for seven years until I couldn’t afford to remain an adjunct professor any longer.

 
They asked me to teach storytelling and imagination to adult learners, so I developed a 9-week course, replete with cognitive experiments to help folks access their Inner Storyteller, along with deep explorations of world myths (I leant out my own books and my library slowly became sorely depleted, since many books never came back; but that’s okay) and a heavy dose of semiotics philosophy. The last bit was about where we human beings are headed, generally, vis a vis tech and media. How we continue to invent new ways to tell stories, but how the spoken word still lies at the very root of our human experience, and about how no matter what imagistic splashes we see on screen, we’re still hard-wired for the old stuff.

 

 
Although I don’t travel with what’s left of my books, I do travel with what I call “Story Fragments” for participants to use in Door to Imagination workshops. These are little slips of paper with a paragraph of prose on them, usually about five to ten lines, which act like a grain of sand in the soft tissues of an oyster. They’re seeds of story. They don’t come with a beginning or an end, just a little bit of middle, but I’ve seen folks in my workshops spin them up into gorgeous, 45-five minute long tellings. It’s fun to watch people encounter their muse, sometimes for the first time. Suddenly they’re up into the empyrean, summoning what they’ve learned all their lives to grow a pearl around what’s on their slip of paper. It’s beautiful to watch.

 
All we humans talk to ourselves and each other every day. To our loved ones, to our co-workers, to strangers on the street. Things happen to us, and intensely social animals that we are, we long to share them. Texts about where we are or what we’re eating, along with photos or videos, well, they’re a great new invention. Everybody’s doing it. But I would suggest that they only allow us to skim along the shallows of our potential. To get to the depths, the ones that really nourish us, there’s nothing like having the creative stage for a few minutes. Even if we’ve never taken it before. And to use our natural voices and our own minds.

 
I’ve been taking the creative stage for 34 years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love seeing others do it for the first time, especially in an environment where, as a learner, you can do no wrong.

 
Anyone interested in the Door to Imagination Workshops I’ll be offering in Boulder, CO on Nov. 4th, sponsored by Spellbinders from 1-4 pm, check here.  In nearby Lafayette, CO on Nov. 5th from 9:30-2:00 pm, you’re welcome to sign up here: http://www.parentengagementnetwork.org/odds-bodkin.

 

 

These two workshops are sponsored by Spellbinders and the Parent Engagement Network in Colorado.