Storyteller Odds Bodkin is Back with Live School Shows!

Storyteller Odds Bodkin is Back with Live School Shows!

There’s nothing quite like watching hundreds of children sitting spellbound while laughing, singing and using their imaginations. Odds blends soaring acoustic music with amazing character voices to create movies for the mind for young listeners.

Learn about his live school shows specially designed for K-2 and 3-5 audiences.

A Teacher’s GOLDEN RULE Review:

“My goodness, words cannot express our ENORMOUS thanks and gratitude for your time and talents on Tuesday… The students were absolutely awe-struck (as was I and the other adults!)! I’ve waited on writing you because I wanted to gather the feedback for you and the biggest feedback I’ve gotten is “He is AWESOME!!” “He needs to come back!!” — Christina Catino, Music Teacher

Learn more at:


A Most Remarkable and Heartfelt Thank You from a Fine Man

This is Layne Gneiting from Arizona. He runs Way of the Hero, an international bicycle touring company. He’s a fine man.

He just posted these wonderful words on Facebook:

Today’s #LightTheWorld invitation is to list things a mentor has done for you. It’s tough to narrow down mentors, right? I mean we all have racks of them, whether through books, talks, conversations, or other interactions. But in reflecting I realize the one that stands out is the one I pursued. He didn’t try to mentor me; he just lived his truth. That lit a spark, and I thought, “I want to know what he knows.”

Two interactions stand out. First I met him at the National Storytelling Festival and his performance stirred something deep in my soul. When I approached and requested an audience with him, his kind understanding eyes saw the earnestness of my plea, and his generous heart opened wide. “Let me see to these good folks, then let’s chat.”

The second was at his home. I flew across the country to spend a solid day with him, learning, stretching, and reveling in discoveries I cherish still. Among others, he taught me . . .

1. I don’t need to follow someone else’s script. (That was a chain-breaking moment.)
2. My job is to get out of the way and allow the Muse to flow through me.
3. The imagination is more powerful than we can possibly imagine.
4. It’s okay to be different than other performers.
5. Spend time in nature.
6. We rehearse not to perfect, but to thread words and music deep into the memory. Then you can perform autonomically.
7. There is real in the fantastical, and fantastical in the real.
8. Take risks.
9. You can design your life.
10. We don’t tell stories that are “true.” We tell stories that have truth in them.

He has left a legacy of story from one side of this country to the other, igniting fires in the imagination, and elevating hearts near and far. He embodies story, and I love his soul.

Thank you, Odds Bodkin. You are the living embodiment of the Muse.

Here in New Hampshire where temperatures are in the single digits, I feel all warmed up. Thanks, Layne, for such moving words. You have claimed an original life.


Hello, Odds!

My goodness, words can not express our ENORMOUS thanks and gratitude for your time and talents on Tuesday… The students were absolutely awe-struck (as was I and the other adults!)!

I’ve waited on writing you because I wanted to gather the feedback for you and the biggest feedback I’ve gotten is “He is AWESOME!!” “He needs to come back!!”! They LOVED your choice of stories, they were fully immersed and involved and captivated and your workshops were the perfect format to digest and disseminate these stories even farther into their true meaning! They really enjoyed getting to go deeper into the stories and their meanings with you and to learn more about you! Letting them have time to ask about you was perfect as well! You had clear evidence of being an educator previously, in the way you worked with the kids and how your broke down your lessons and how you were able to reach out/teach them! Your content and style was perfect! The format was perfect to hear everything as a full group and then let it “sink in” for a bit and then break it down more with you. 🙂 You are true treasure and I plan on spreading the word even more about you! I will even post your website on my web page, if you’re ok with that! 🙂

I look forward to hearing more of your tales soon!
Christina Catino
CSDA General Music, Chorus, Orchestra


If you know any elementary schools that could use a dose of storytelling and civility learning, tell them about GOLDEN RULE: WORLD STORIES ABOUT EMPATHY.

FAIRY FOLKS AND OLD OAKS: A Fairy Tales Show and a Workshop in NH

Abbott Library in Sunapee, New Hampshire hosts Odds Bodkin for a day of fun family events on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 starting at 10:00 a.m.

All events are FREE TO THE PUBLIC.

FAIRY FOLKS AND OLD OAKS Storytelling Concert at 10:00 a.m.

First, a FAIRY FOLKS AND OLD OAKS storytelling concert where Odds tells two rollicking fairy tales–The Little Shepherd and the Tale of the Kittens. Each story is filled with voices, sounds and music on different 12-string guitars. Odds offers an introduction to the magic of fairy tales and how they help kids grow as he plays Celtic harp.

FAIRY FOLKS AND OLD OAKS Workshop for Grades 3-5 at 11:00 a.m.

Next, an hour-long workshop where kids learn the classic story elements of a fairy tale, experience fun imagination exercises and learn to create fairy tales of their own.

STORYBLAST FAMILY CONCERT for All Ages at 6:00 p.m.

An evening performance of Odds Bodkin’s best, funniest, most family-friendly tales. Performed with music on guitars, Celtic harp and other instruments.




If you’ve ever wanted to speak in front of people in a confident way, without using notes, Odds Bodkin’s upcoming storytelling weekend course in Loveland, Colorado this May is for you. As a storyteller who performs tales that can be hours long (and audiences listen!) he knows a few secrets about how to do it. Billboard Magazine calls him “a modern-day Orpheus” and his two-day course at Sunrise Ranch is fun, very entertaining and packed with real skills. Take those skills out into your life by learning the storyteller’s craft and watch your confidence soar.

And along the way, you’ll learn some fascinating lore about trees.





THE BIRD IN THE GOLDEN CAGE: A Storytelling Experiment from Odds Bodkin’s Workshop

THE BIRD IN THE GOLDEN CAGE: A Storytelling Experiment from Odds Bodkin’s Workshop.

The experiment begins with a vivid memory: the room where you sleep at night. As a very familiar place, most people carry detailed visuals of it, even if they don’t think about it often. The bedclothes, the closet and drawers, what’s outside the window on a summer day and how that sounds. Even how the screen smells if you press your nose against it.

All this suggested visualizing among participants takes place while listening to 12-string guitar music––not a song, more like colorful splashes of emotion. Combined with the story, the result is a musico-literary doorway to imagination. Imagining begins when a small sphere of blue light appears above the bed in your room. Eventually you journey into it, imagining yourself in a bird’s body in a golden cage, then seas, caves, clear fruits in various flavors and a multitude of other opportunities to discover your Five Sensory Imaginations.

For the storyteller, these are your paints. The more you practice, the more the door to them opens into a creative state. Telling your story is simply describing that state by using those paints.

Just one cognitive experiment among many in Odds Bodkin’s weekend workshop in Colorado this coming May, The Bird in the Golden Cage doesn’t talk about using the mind’s eye, it experientially draws you into it. It’s instinctual.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to tell stories in your own voice, here’s a chance to study with a master. No music required, or experience. Just a willingness to experiment with your mind. Based on Odds Bodkin’s graduate courses and workshops conducted worldwide.

On May 26-27, 2018 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO, Odds will be offering his weekend workshop in storytelling for beginners to experienced tellers. You’ll also learn the secrets of ancient tree lore. Space is limited, so plan your weekend now!






Seven years of teaching adult grad students how to tell stories at Antioch in New England showed me one thing: if they can locate their Muse, they’re golden. I’ve seen it many times. Given a few lines of story on a slip of paper––a folkloric fragment from somewhere in the middle of a tale they’ve never read––students often end up telling a 45-minute long original tale, crafting origins and endings. No kidding. It’s as if an acorn sprouted and instantly grew into an oak

It’s a glorious act to watch. How, without rehearsal and in their own words, they enter the image-rich Muse in their minds and become like jazz musicians of story, making it up as they go along.

The Muse, least Calliope, the Muse of Eloquence as the ancient Greeks thought of it, is a fusion of imagination and a certain kind of memory called “event memory.” Once you learn how to summon it, what James Joyce called “the smithy of the soul” fires up and off you go.

This coming May 25-27 I’ll be offering a full weekend workshop in storytelling in Colorado. Along with its emphasis on ancient tree lore, it provides a step-by-step process for Muse discovery.

Registration is limited to 30.

Details are here.


Thanks to Courtney Herrera, a dynamic herbologist in Colorado, I’ll be returning to the Mountain State this May 25-27 to visit Sunrise Ranch in Loveland for two storytelling concerts and a how-to storytelling workshop. Open to the public, tickets are now on sale.

First, COME, CHILD AND SIT WITH ME BENEATH THE WISDOM TREE, a Friday evening performance for families. Kids of any age are welcome. The theme of the overall weekend is our mythic and sacral relationship with trees down through the millennia. The show starts at 7 p.m. and details and tickets are here.

On Saturday night it’s THOR AND ODIN BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS, two immense Viking myths (the real deal, not Marvel) with little-known Viking lore that has fascinated the wonderful adult audiences I’ve had lately on Harvard Square. Tickets are here.

If you know anyone in Colorado who’d like to learn to tell stories (it doesn’t matter what kind) freely and creatively, then let them know about ANCIENT TREE MAGIC AND LORE: A TWO-DAY STORYTELLING WORKSHOP FOR ADULTS. I’ll be spending eight hours during Saturday and Sunday sharing this version of THE DOOR TO IMAGINATION: HOW TO AWAKEN YOUR INNER STORYTELLER, my course about discovering your Muse. Details and tickets here.

All these events I’ll fill with live music on Celtic harp, 12-string guitar and other instruments. The Muses will be at work. I’ll be playing a Celtic harp donated by Dave Kolocny of Kolocny Music in Denver. For years Dave has graciously given me a harp to use while out West.

Sunrise Ranch is a glorious spiritual retreat center with stunning physical beauty, great food and a host of caring folks.

Please let your Colorado friends know about these upcoming events!




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


The Helpless Sky

In the last line of a story I’ll be telling at the Climate Symposium in Boulder next fall, Gaia, the original Earth Mother, reflects on how uncomfortable anger makes her feel. Bad things happen when she senses injustice and she’s been implacably rough on her husband Ouranos and grandson Zeus during the story. What, she asks herself after she goes into hiding now that the Titans have fallen, could ever make her that angry again?

I guess the time has come. Our atmosphere is definitely angry nowadays. Basically, it’s drier dries, wetter wets, windier winds and hotter hots. Fire seasons continue to lengthen. Whether rain or snow, precipitation is heavier, hence floods in new places. When they do begin to spin, hurricanes and tornadoes are more destructive than before. Insurers are desperate for forecasts. For thousands of years, farmers and herders in Africa, South America and the Middle East counted on rainy seasons to avoid famines. Slowly drying out now, those lands are forcing migrants to flee what are essentially climate wars. We haven’t even mentioned our own great population centers, built at the sea’s edge.

Ever cooked spaghetti in a pot? You turn on the heat and wait for the boil. Long ago I learned that if I cover it with a lid, it boils twice as fast. Instead of letting heat escape out the top, I trap it in a closed system. Smart, right? It might be hard to imagine, but Earth’s atmospheric pot had no lid prior to the Industrial Revolution. Over the last 150 years, though, we’ve installed an invisible one made of greenhouse gasses from fossil fuels. It’s not anyone’s voluntary doing. We only figured this out a few decades ago. Up until then, all that exhaust was progress. As vast as it is, we’re slowly closing off Earth’s heat release system, high above our heads. Not completely yet, but we’re getting there, busily tossing tiny carbon footprints by the billions up into a helpless sky.

There has to be a way to figure this out before the thing boils, with us in it.

I’ll also be conducting a workshop designed to turn climate-aware people, including scientists, into The Cadre of Science Storytellers.

DOOR TO IMAGINATION storytelling workshop for adults who work with children 2-6 in Greenwich CT, Sunday March 12

Round Hill Community Church in Greenwich, CT will be hosting an hour and fifteen minute Odds Bodkin Door to Imagination storytelling workshop for parents, caregivers, teachers and librarians on Sunday, March 12 at 2:30 p.m.

Especially designed for those who work with children 2-6, the workshop is free to the public and open to all.

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:



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