Ellis-Storytelling

Elizabeth Ellis spoke and also taught a storytelling workshop at the National Quilt Trail Gathering, August 11, 2016
 

Telling Your Story
We all have story.  Everyday life has story.  A normal day in the office has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  First, tell it!  Tell it out loud to yourself, to your cat, the cow.  When you start by telling your story, you give it life.  You make it real.  After you have spoken it, then you are ready to sit down and write it.  (Ellis, 2016)

Developing Narrative
The term narrative is often confused with the term plot, but they're not the same thing.  If I tell you that the king died, and then the queen died, that's not narrative; that's plot.  But, if I tell you that the king died and then the queen died of a broken heart, that's narrative.

Plot is what happens in the story.  Narrative is why the story matters.  (Ellis,2016)

Example
Elizabeth Ellis gave her own example during the workshop of an incident of a locked and running rental car while trying to get to her mother's funeral.  I am not the story teller that Elizabeth is, nor can I retail her story with any credit.  I can offer you a less compelling example and show that even the most mundane of happenings can be story.
      
    Plot:  The secretary in the office building I work in called over the intercom asking for someone to open the back door for the Brita delivery guy.  I got up from my desk, and let him in.
    
    Narrative:  Just before lunch today, Dianne called over the building intercom asking for assistance in letting in the Brita delivery guy.  Dianne is the building secretary and is probably the only person in the building who knows everyone.  She goes out of her way to be nice and helpful to all those she encounters.  If she asks for help, it's only because she really needs it. 
     Being close to the back door, I hoped up from my desk and made my way around the circular hallway.  The building is a large four story octagon with very few windows.  To get to the back door I have to walk down one hallway, cut across breeze way, and then circle back down the next.  From there, I push open the maintenance corridor entrance and then the coded back door.  He comes in pushing a loaded down and precarious cart of large bottles of water.  I can tell he's happy to be in from the August heat.  As he's coming through the next door, and on into the hall way, people start appearing as if from nowhere.
     I have worked in this building for almost a year and have never seen more than a small handful of its other inhabitants the entire time.  Every morning I pull into the almost full parking lot and then enter a silent and catacombed building.  We are all tucked into our various closets in the 4 story bunker.  Aside from the rare passing in the parking lot, or kitchen, none of us interact at all and now we had a crowd in the service corridor.  We had a good laugh at our willingness to help.  One of the men commented, smiling, that we probably would only see this many people if the building were being evacuated.  I knew there were many more people in the building, but they had almost become a myth.  I do wonder, are we all that helpful, or just bored in our windowless rooms?

To sum it up, we need to tap into that same creative side that has led us to a part of a public folk art movement, and use it to tell the stories behind the art. 

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