THE MUSE APPROACH TO STORYTELLING
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.