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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

So... what exactly is a Storyteller?

Did you know that a total of ten professional storytellers participated in the A to Z Challenge this year? That's like, nine more than last year. I know, because I am one of them. Also, I compiled a list of their blogs so you can go and check them out for yourself.
The A to Z challenge is all about stories. Written stories. Musical stories. Old stories. New stories. Fantasy stories. Romantic stories. Stories in pictures. Histories. As people of the word, we are all too familiar with the idea of story.
So, what am I doing here exactly with a title like that?

Let me introduce myself first. I am your friendly neighborhood A to Z minion, one of the Seven Ladies of #TeamDamyanti. My name is Csenge, I am originally from Hungary, and I am a professional storyteller. I go to schools, libraries, festivals, museums and other interesting places, and I tell stories for a living. On stage. By heart. From memory. I travel around the world, I collect new tales wherever I go, and I bring them home to my audiences.
(Okay, so maybe I hoard them like a squirrel. So what? Squirrels are cute.)
 I mostly work with folktales, fairy tales, myths, legends and epics (lots of epics). I am crazy about old stories, long stories, heroes, adventures, and imaginary places. I also tell and translate a lot of Hungarian folktales into English for international audiences.
I decided to use my time in the A to Z spotlight to talk about some of these tales, what we can do with them as storytellers, and why they are important. I am going to post every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, and talk about a special topic within storytelling. Today's post was only meant to be an introduction, so without any further ado, I'll announce the next theme right now:

Ladies and Gentlemen, mark your calendars and check your blog feeds, because on Wednesday, May 21st, the A to Z Blog will be taken over by...
TRICKSTERS!!!
from all around the world.

In the meantime, if you are interested in stories, you can check out my latest book, Tales of Superhuman Powers. It is a collection of 55 folktales and legends with superpowers in them - everything from telekinesis to laser eye beams (yeah, really). It started out as a bet to see if I could find at least one traditional story for every superpower on my list. The book includes four categories (physical, mental, elemental, and transitional), and 61 individual powers. It was the most fun I have ever had with research (I mentioned some of the tales in my A to Z posts both this year and last year).
If you ever wanted to be the coolest person in a room full of teenagers, I strongly suggest take a look at some of these stories.

Also, feel free to visit either one of my two blogs:

The Multicolored Diary - Adventures in storytelling. This April I filled it with folktales and fairy tales about colors, from the Azure Lion to Zaffre and Alchemy.

MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians... On this blog I post weird and amusing things from Hungarian culture and history. This year's A to Z ran from the Aggressive Piglet all the way to Zanzibar music. Also, the blog features a lot of gifs about puli dogs. You have been warned.

You can follow me on Twitter under the handle @TarkabarkaHolgy

26 comments:

  1. The ancient tradition of oral storytelling is very powerful, and also the most intimate form of storytelling.
    I really enjoyed your colourful A to Z folktales and fairy tales. Awesome theme!
    I'm looking forward to your storytelling spotlight posts!
    Writer In Transit

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    1. Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed my theme! This series will be very similar, but I will also talk about using some of the stories as a storyteller, rather than just mentioning them. :)

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  2. I'm going back to check some of your stories - I love storytellers and folk tales. I do some writing with a Hungarian poet setting her poems to music ... lovely to meet you here.
    Fil
    Fil’s Place - Old songs and Memories

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    1. PS - I"m your newest follower :)

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    2. Nice to meet you too! Small world :) I have noticed that Hungarians tend to show up in the weirdest places when you don't expect them... :)

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  3. Hello, Csenge! Being a professional storyteller sounds amazing. I can only imagine the wonderful people you've met and fantastic stories you've collected. It was great to meet you!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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    1. It is quite the adventure :) There is nothing else I'd rather do! Hopefully I will get to tell about the people, the stories and the adventures in these posts.

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  4. Excellent first post, Csenge! Look forward to the stories and events you have in store for us AZers.

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  5. I agree with D - well done! Looking forward to your series and learning more about the craft of story telling. One of my favorite performances was actually at a ski resort, at the end of the day. There was a fire-pit where I was waiting for my kids (I can't ski anymore - arthritis). The woman was in full costume and told the tale of the first community doctor in the area. Fascinating. She was really good and had me laughing and crying. I thought it was really nice of the resort to offer that to those of us waiting.

    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

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    1. Thank you! I am so happy with this opportunity to share.
      The storytelling at the resort sounds lovely! I have a soft spot for telling in costumes. I don't do personas well, but I love dressing up for the occasion :) I have multiple Renaissance costumes, a Roman garb, and my latest is my archery costume, which is 3rd century Sarmatian. Yeah, I'm an archaeologist by training. :D

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  6. Looking forward to the series! Professional storyteller sounds great.

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    1. I hope you will enjoy the posts. I am selecting some fun stuff to write about :)

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  7. Hello there Professional Storyteller. Sounds like an exciting career. Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. I do have a bit of weakness for a good fairy tale . . . . .

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  9. FYI...I did participate however I am not a Blog professional and did not know how to download the badge. My A to Z challenge is on my blog and I did it by updating it every day and re-posting. Hopefully next year I will do better. Further warning my blog is not for anyone under 18.
    needyt.blogspot.com

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  10. I think being a storyteller is a calling! Is there any video link where we can see you performing?

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    1. It definitely is a calling :) Sadly most of them are from a couple of years ago. I need to make some new recordings! :)

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  11. Professional storytelling is an awesome job! When I was little, I used to beg my Grandmother for stories from her life because her voice would change and transport me into a different time. When I used to substitute teach, I found that the best reward for middle school and high school students was either story reading or storytelling at the end of class. It's something I would like to do again someday, a skill that I would like to learn.

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    1. I LOVE working with middle school and high school! Teenagers are my favorite audience. Which is weird, because many storytellers find them difficult. Hmm. Maybe this will be one of my posts. Thanks for the idea! :D

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  12. I am not a professional storyteller but I did win two consecutive storytelling contests here in Bakersfield. This was an exciting time! I really need to think about going pro - I love love love it!

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