A Call for Oral Storytelling Proposals

Submit your oral storytelling proposal by October 31st for:
It Happened One December
Stories by the Fire, a Hotel Vermont and Burlington Writers Workshop storytelling series

Saturday, December 5th and 19th, 2015
4:00 pm at Hotel Vermont

—An invitation from Deena Frankel, BWW Oral Storytelling Workshop leader

Hotel Vermont Lobby

Fireside at Hotel Vermont

Nobody wants to think about December just yet, but we all know it’s coming. So think about sitting by the fire in the lounge at Hotel Vermont, with snow falling on St. Paul Street, listening to tales of winter. Or better, yet, telling your own!

This December the BWW has two storytelling collaborations on tap with the Hotel Vermont to share true tales told live by BWW storytellers—our first-ever oral storytelling public events. With your help, we’ll enjoy great success and continue this as a regular series in the new year.

These will be curated events with an editorial panel of seasoned storytellers, led by our own Oral Storytelling Workshop leader Deena Frankel, choosing a well-balanced line-up from proposals by BWW story makers. Noted area storytellers will host each evening.

Here’s how it works:

Submit a brief, one-paragraph written proposal for a 7- to 8-minute story that connects, at least loosely, to the themes of winter, December, or a December holiday. The panel will pick 6 or 7 stories for each of the 2 evenings. (Let us know if you can make one but not the other.)

Stories guidelines are similar to the popular Moth series: a true story that happened to you (at least 94% true), rehearsed but not memorized, told without notes.

If your story idea is selected, we’ll invite you to “workshop” your story either at a BWW Oral Storytelling Workshop or at a mutually workable time with the panelists, sometime before the event.

The deadline for proposals is October 31, 2015.

Submit your oral storytelling proposal >

New to oral storytelling? That’s okay!

If you already tell stories out loud, you know how connected it feels to tell a well-crafted slice of your own life to an eager audience hanging on your every word. If you’re a writer, and haven’t tried this version of storytelling yet, here are some great reasons to give it a try:

  • Telling our stories out loud and in person connects us to a deeply ancient and primal human experience.
  • Crafting an oral story in a limited timeframe demands disciplined editing and choices that will help you as a writer.
  • Oral storytelling reveals what a story is REALLY about—why you care, and why we should care—more surely and quickly than you can imagine.

At the BWW’s September Oral Storytelling workshop, a writer attending her very first BWW workshop listened to the first story and then asked if she could tell her own. And, with no rehearsal and no real discussion of the form, she knocked our socks off with a story about coming to understand her tough, immigrant grandmother. Wow, writers make good tellers!

So please consider making a story proposal and helping the BWW make our inaugural public storytelling events at Hotel Vermont a hit this December.

Here’s an example of a storytelling proposal to stimulate your thinking. This was a successful pitch for a curated event on the theme of “summer”:

When I was 11, my very cool New York cousin got a job waiting tables at a resort in near my suburban home and he came to stay with us for the summer between high school and college. He brought all his cool with him: his red Fu Manchu mustache, his Buick Roadmaster convertible, and his love of folk music. I helped him work on the Buick, he introduced me to Bob Dylan, and he treated me like a pal instead of an annoying little kid cousin. After that summer a feud between our mothers separated us for more than 30 years, but rediscovering my very first record album—Blonde on Blonde—made me want to find my cousin again, hoping for a nostalgic reconnection. With the help of the internet, I found him, but the reality of my reunion with a self-absorbed slob couldn’t possibly match up to my memory of that cool, 1960s New York cat. Sometimes memory is better than reality and listening to old vinyl is a better tribute than an actual reunion.

Submit your oral storytelling proposal or come check out an upcoming oral storytelling workshop: Thursday, October 29th and Thursday, November 19th

 

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