Episode 043: Morgen Reynolds – The Art of Storytelling

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Morgen Reynolds has been telling stories for most of her life! She remembers tying on a bandana and lying upside down, with magic marker “eyes” painted on her chin to perform “Wide Mouth Frog” for her friends. It was a huge hit. When her oldest, now 14, was a toddler, he had an endless appetite for stories. He would give her three animals and a place and she had to create a story off the top of her head. Eventually, she had to create story “tickets” that he would use to “buy” a story. There had to be some rationing. That grew to telling at family reunions, and soon after–“Miss Mo” was born.

Morgen started performing on stage when she was 12 years old and dreamed of being a professional actress. That is a difficult dream to realize–especially with three kids! Storytelling came to her as a way to perform on her time, with total control over the content. She just started telling stories, without realizing that there is a storytelling world out there! Now she has performed at festivals, attends workshops, and teaches storytelling to others.

Some of the most powerful storytelling occurs in the unplanned moments. The experiences around the dinner table that start with, “Did I ever tell you about that time when I was a kid that I. . . . ” That’s when you’ve got them! Kids love to hear stories, especially about the grownups in their lives, and especially if it involves the grownups in their lives getting into some trouble! Those stories, told honestly, have far more power than any sermon we could attend.

Morgen is using modern technology to spread the art of storytelling. She has a YouTube channel with playlists of stories geared towards school aged children. She is also on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Living in rural Montana makes traveling to live performances difficult, but she has high hopes of building her online brand and connecting with children and adults all over the world through the power of story. Here we go with Miss Mo!

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From This Episode

Storytelling festivals are LEGIT! If you do a google search, you will find one near you, and they look amazing! I am seriously excited to check these out!

Here are some festivals Morgen mentioned:

National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN: http://www.storytellingcenter.net/festival/

Mount Timpanogos Storytelling Festival: https://timpfest.org

More festivals: http://www.sostoryfest.com/festivals.html

Storytellers Morgen tells us about:

Laura Simms http://www.laurasimms.com

Bil Lepp https://www.leppstorytelling.com

Kim Weitkamp http://www.kimweitkamp.com

Sam Payne https://www.sampayne.com/home

The Moth on NPR https://www.themoth.org

Jane Yolen Folktales http://janeyolen.com/works/favorite-folktales-from-around-the-world/

Why Storytelling:

Stories connect families, our past, our identity, our experiences. Our stories are what make up our family culture.

Storytelling is also a way to develop cognitive skills as a means of working our brains to remember things, which is why storytelling is so cultural. Storytelling is how family history and culture is perpetuated because they are easier to remember.

Stories help us learn about conflict resolution, and connect us with the heroes in the stories, too.

Storytelling and The Well-Educated Heart with Marlene Peterson http://librariesofhope.com/storytelling.html

A way of keeping track of your family stories is with a five year journal, where you write down a line each day and then you come to it for five years recording one line each day. It’s a great way to capture the snippets of life over a long time period.

Connect With Morgen:

Website

YouTube

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Recommended books:

“Stolen Words” by Melanie Florence

Jane Yolen folktales

You listened to the end of the episode so you get to listen to a special treat! I posted a special audio of my 3-year old and me singing a song together while I was putting her to bed one night. You can only access it here, this link. Enjoy making memories together!

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