Tell your stories to connect and dicover: no shame, no blame!


I attended City Speaksa storytelling event, last night in Pompano Beach, Florida, which reminds me, back in the days in my homeland  Haiti, when my dad used to gather us together, just to tell us stories.

Sometimes, they were folktales of Bouki and Malis, the villain and the smart; and other times it was just about his personal stories, telling us about his day to day dealing with  this thing called “life.”

Last night, it was about life stories from folks in the city, telling us their narratives about their life segments, and how they intersect with us, the listeners.

There were tellers, there were listeners. Moods swang from joy to sorrow. It was a real life experience.

I enjoyed it. It was a person to person moment. I discovered myself in the stories I heard, and connected with the speakers.

As Mij Byram, an expert storyteller, who introduced the event, said :

“Storytelling is about the connection. That connection is not magic. It’s real. It is about touching the hearts and imaginations of listeners. It is opening them to adventures, feelings and possibilities.”

“In  a story,”Mij added, “we can walk through fear and chase the villain. We can experience sorrow and joy and do it in the safe harbor of a story. A story can change thoughts and ideas.  A story can touch your heart, make you laugh or make you cry, it can comfort or challenge. A story can help you see yourself and your world in a new way.”

That’s excatly what happened to me when I left Pompano Beach last night reflecting, thinking, and pondering about what I heard about immigration, illegal immigration, thick accent, police interactions with black people, depression, and anxiety.

It was fascinated. A great delightful moment. I loved it.

Be well,

Roosevelt

 

NB.: City Speaks is a 50 minute event followed by a time of public interaction and reflection. To know more about their programming click here….

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Hell: ‘Whatever you fear most…’ an oustanding Edwidge Danticat’s folk story!


I am reading Edwige Danticat. Her recent memoir “Brother, I’m dying” is amazing. She tells her family story in poignant way. She combines her story with the story of her dad, her uncle, her countries, her travels, her neighborhood, her grandmas.to free herself, and to free us as well to tell our own story, and to live the life we want.

She used the power of words to include  folktales, stories that she heard from her parents to make good learning lessons from life.

“Hell” is one of those stories told by Danticat’s Granmè Melina.

12501577_114057308995588_315286960_n(1)Here is the story. Enjoy… And share with friends, fans, and family.

A man, one day fell asleep and woke up in a foreign land where he knew no one and no one knew him. Finding himself on his back in the middle of a dirt road, filled with strangers, he looked up at the blurry faces around him, which were framed by a gloomy gray sky, and asked, “Where am I?”

“You’re where you are,” answered a booming voice.

“Where’s that?” he asked.

“Where you need to be,” replied the voice.

“I din’t ask to be here,” the man said, “wherever it is.”

“No matter how you ended up here,” said the voice, “here you are.”

Tired about the roundabout conversation, the man said, “I want you to tell me right now where I am. If you don’t, I’m going to be angry.”

“Who cares about your anger?” answered the voice. “No one is scared of you here.”

Truly upset now, the man said, “Tell me where I am right now!”

“You are in Hell,” replied the voice.

And since these were long time ago, the man didn’t know what hell was, even though he could already see that it was not a happy place.

“What is hell?” he asked.

“Hell”, replied the voice, “is whatever you fear most.”


A story told by Edwige Dandicat in “Brother, I’m dying.” Thanks again Edwige to share with us the power of words and storytelling.

Roosevelt Jean-Francois

Fulbright Scholar, Connector, Speaker