Blog

WHEN MOTHER NATURE DECLARES WAR: Houston and Hurricane Harvey

It’s simple. As the planet’s air warms it holds more water vapor. That means that when it rains, it pours. For three decades, climate scientists have tried to get their message out and much of the world has ignored them. They predicted storms just like Harvey, and here it is, along with Sandy in New York. But giving storms human names diminishes what they are. In truth, they’re weather monsters. They should be named Godzilla, or Hurricane Frankenstein.

Science can be hard to understand, but stories aren’t. If you want to help those climate scientists convince the public and learn to tell science-based stories about climate disruption yourself, come to Boulder, Colorado this September.

Living Beyond Hope and Fear: Warrior Principle, Climate Action, Boulder’s climate symposium, takes place Sept. 15-17 at Shambhala Center. This year there’s a new emphasis: climate storytelling. Join us.

Science Storytellers in Boulder

How do we reach the many Americans who, despite abundant facts everywhere, deny that man-made climate disruption is real and increasingly dangerous to humankind and earth’s creatures? Some believe it is God’s plan and there’s nothing to be done, nor should anything be done. Others are paid to call the science into question by business interests, despite the fact that the CIA and American military have been sounding the alarm for years. Our current president either believes that it’s not real or that adapting to the tipping-point nightmares in our near future can be done with sea walls and immigration walls.

The national conversation about climate we’re having today may well be the most important one we Americans have this decade, and to help with that, I’ll be journeying to Boulder, Colorado to join others this coming mid-September to lend storytelling skills to climate scientists and activists.

Composed of measurements and numbers as much of science is, it can be lost in the noise of entertainments we Americans so love. Climate stories, however, written and spoken by growing numbers of informed citizens, have a chance to break through to an inattentive public.

Living Beyond Hope and Fear: Warrior Principle, Climate Action Symposium takes place Sept. 15-17 2017 at the Shambhala Center in Boulder.

Saturday night I’ll be performing Gaia: Fall of the Titans, the Greek creation myth, followed up with a StoryScience presentation.

Saturday morning and afternoon I’ll be offering a special DOOR TO IMAGINATION: HOW TO AWAKEN YOUR INNER STORYTELLER workshop for climate scientists and activists.

Join us for this important conversation. You can register and purchase tickets for the Symposium here.

Please join us!

 

Odds Bodkin

 

Crazy, Fun, Light-Hearted Stories for a Strange Time this Sunday in NH

When times appear dire, there’s nothing like some meaningful, innocent humor to revive the spirit. This Sunday night August 20th at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH, I won’t be offering long, powerful myths like The Odyssey or Beowulf. Instead, the show is called THE LIGHTER SIDE OF ODDS BODKIN and the stories are unashamedly funny and innocent. You’ll even get to sing if you like.

The show is at 7 pm. The only adult themes will be stewardship, cleverness and civilized wisdom. You’ll laugh, I guarantee it.

Tickets are $10 in advance here, or $12 at the door.

Come refresh yourself!

Two Special “Eclipse Tales” Performances this Week at NH Libraries

Free to the public, Odds Bodkin will be performing WHEN THE MOON DANCED WITH THE SUN: Tales for an Eclipse! at two New Hampshire libraries. August 17th at 7 pm at the Whipple Free Library in New Boston and again on eclipse day, August 21 at 1 pm at Fiske Free Library in Claremont.

With 12-string guitar, Celtic harp and alto recorder accompaniments, Odds spins three tales where a solar eclipse plays a special role. A Hindu tale from India, a Grimm’s fairy tale from Germany, and a Tibetan folktale about monkeys and leadership.

Come enjoy!

FAMILY STORIES EXTRAVAGANZA at The Livery in Sunapee NH this Friday!

Odds Bodkin’s best family-friendly stories come to The Livery in Sunapee, NH this Friday, August 11th at 7 p.m. With Celtic harp, 12-string guitars and other instruments, Odds uses character voices and natural sound effects to create “imagination movies” for listeners.

Come join the fun!

Tickets are $10 adult, $5 children, $25 for a family of 4. Get them here!

Eclipse Tales south of Boston tomorrow at 3 pm!

If you’re free or know anyone who is tomorrow, Thursday August 10th at 3 pm, come hear WHEN THE MOON DANCED WITH THE SUN: Tales for an Eclipse! at the Dighton Public Library in Dighton, MA. The performance is free to the public and appropriate for families. Fun music, amusing and amazing stories, plus a little info about the upcoming eclipse!

A Family Stories Extravaganza at The Livery at Sunapee Harbor NH August 11!

Get your tickets now for Odds Bodkin’s FAMILY STORIES EXTRAVAGANZA for this coming Friday night, August 11th! Hosted by The Livery at Sunapee Harbor , Odds’ fingers will fly across his Celtic harp, 12-string guitars and other instruments as he tells his best, family friendly tales. Wild character voices, uncannily real vocal effects and narrative combine to create imagination entertainments parents and kids always love.

Called “a consummate storyteller” by The New York Times and “one of the great voices in American storytelling” by Wired, Odds invites you not only to listen, but to sing along if you like, create rhythms and simply have fun. Stories from all around the world with music to match!

Tickets are $10 adult, $5 children, $25 for family of 4 here.

WHEN THE MOON DANCED WITH THE SUN: Tales for an Eclipse! at Dighton Public Library, Dighton MA on August 10th

When the Moon passes before the Sun, dare not to look at it (at least without approved lenses)! Yes, the Solar Eclipse is coming, about to sweep across the U.S. on August 21, and to celebrate it, I’ll be telling some great eclipse-themed tales at Dighton Public Library in Dighton, MA on August 10th at 3 pm. Free to the public, the show is filled with music on 12-string guitars and Celtic harp, some very silly characters and three little-known tales. One is from India. Another is a Grimm’s fairy tale. The last, a tale from Tibet,  speaks of what happens when unwise monkeys decide to follow an unwise leader.

Bring the whole family for this fun event! Kids will love it. Adults will laugh.

“I Cannot Stop Listening”

Simon Brooks is an Englishman and fellow professional storyteller. He recently wrote a review of my latest epic audio story, Beowulf: The Only One. I’ve excerpted it below.

“Like all of his work, Odds Bodkin’s ‘Beowulf’is deep, funny, and brilliantly told. Odds’ version is entertaining and pulls you in so you cannot back away from it… I have listened to it several times. In fact I am at the point where I cannot start it unless I have the time to finish it all. I cannot stop listening to the words and music which flow so wonderfully throughout the hour and twenty minutes or so it lasts.”

Want a good story to listen to? Told for adults? You can listen to a sample and buy it here.

Happy Summer! And thanks, Mr. Brooks.

Got Kids? Get This!

16 hours of audio stories for girls, for boys, even for parents. Odds Bodkin, master storyteller and musician weaves voices and music to spellbind kids. Healthy stories. Hidden lessons. Acoustic music. Artistic beauty.

10 albums plus 3 epic tales as BONUS GIFTS!

Listen to samples and explore!

A Storyteller’s Terrible Mistake

Thirty-five years ago I was a young guy on a mission. I lived in Manhattan and worked with well-heeled independent schools like Spence and Ethical Culture, developing story-based programs for exploring nature in Central Park and beyond.

But I longed to just tell stories––to be a real storyteller. I knew very few tales then, maybe four or five, and my best, I thought, was Sedna the Ocean Mother. It’s a haunting Inuit creation myth about a marrying-age girl and her old father alone on their windy beach. The problem is, Sedna is very picky about a potential husband. One’s too fat. Another puts too few fish on the beach to ask for her. Others have rotten teeth.

Yes, it’s an Eskimo myth. Courtship was like this.

I once told Sedna at an environmental conference and that performance led to an offer from Antioch University New England to teach storytelling and imagination graduate courses, which I did for seven years.

In the story, Sedna’s fed-up father finally forces her to choose a stranger in a kayak who brags about how rich he is.  He won’t take off his snow goggles, however, so she can’t see his eyes, and he won’t stand up, so she can’t see how tall he is. Off she goes, huddled in the back of his kayak. But when they slide up onto his home beach and he steps out, he reveals bird legs and burning red eyes. He’s no man at all. He’s the spirit of the storm petrels, an arctic bird, a powerful supernatural being.

Spooky, right? It gets even worse, much worse. Terrifyingly worse. Treated badly by him, she starves and freezes. At the story’s end, Sedna’s father drowns her in a whirlpool created by the husband who’s found them trying to escape. Her severed fingers become the seals, whales and walruses and she becomes the ocean mother, the goddess who provides food to the Inuit. She’s now supernatural herself. A typical Eskimo origin myth. Scary and elemental.

So what was my terrible mistake so long ago?

I told Sedna to an audience of kids too young to hear it. They were Lower School students at the Fieldston Ethical Culture School. Little kids. As an artist, I thought everyone would be entertained by the music, the wind sounds and the characters. Especially the kids.

Instead, the next day, angry parents demanded to know who this stupid young man was who’d told their children this story. I’d terrified their kids so badly––tears in the car and nightmares in bed––that the parents were up in arms. I’d hurt their children. For weeks I felt awful. Still do, looking back on it.

So after I recovered emotionally, I swore to myself that I would never be at a loss for an age-appropriate story again. Instead, I’d learn to tell many more of them, gentle and beautiful ones, tales that even pre-kindergarteners would love and feel safe within.

And that’s what I did. You can find them here. All with age-recommendations.

Sedna is nowhere to be found.