October Stories at Fern Review

The October 17 meeting of the Victoria Storytellers’ Guild was hosted by Lee Porteous and featured seven tellers.

Margo McLoughlin’s story “Hugging the Corners”, a  family saga of father’s car racing and mother being the family photographer to capture all the excitement, opened with the terse and exact instructions father gave when teaching Margo to drive, but ended with the reminiscence of her father’s tales of his racing experiences that became her model for storytelling. As for driving, she still owns no car but “drives her bicycle very fast.”

Twelve-year-old Stefan Jaeger put all his energy and telling ability into dramatizing  “Playing Cowboys” a story by Rene Goscinny.  Fast-paced dialogue and vivid pantomime definitely conjured up pictures of all the players and even the imaginary white horse that was a constant bone of contention.

Moira Walker’s “My brief career as a Conservative” delved into her colourful family history including mother’s need to forge father’s signature on cheques, their moves back and forth between Canada and the US and their fortuitous return to Ontario right before election time. It was there that mother decided to make the family’s mark and did so for herself, Moira and her sister providing votes for all three parties. And that’s how Moira became a Conservative.

Clark, a visiting storyteller from Nanaimo, made Dr. Seuss’ Book Bartholomew and the Ooblek come alive with vivid dialogue and mime that led to the climax of an entire kingdom being covered by green sticky Ooblek but saved by the king’s admission of his guilt and apology for wanting more than what nature had to offer.

Drawing on her visit to Salem Massachusetts, Dorothy Tubman provided a colourful frame for her “Salem Tale” of great festivities and young Eric failing in his desperate wish to dance with the beautiful Eleanor.  In true Salem fashion the tale ends with a huge bon fire burning an effigy of Eleanor to cleanse her of an illness but drawing young Eric into the flames to finally “dance with his beloved.”

Margaret Atwood’s short story “Polonia”, provided the background for Anne Beatty’s exploration of the ever-present desire in those of riper age to give advice whether wanted or not.  Quoting the well-known advice given by Polonius in Hamlet, and adding that her own father was “a relentless advice giver”, Anne echoed Margaret Atwood in concluding that the young don’t want advice. They want to make their own mistakes.

Having been convinced to join her husband on a walk along the ancient Camino de Santiago, Victoria Cownden once again revealed her wonderful talent to make the subjects of her stories totally alive and visible. As this was Victoria’s first trip and Shaun’s second, she shaped the stories of the modern pilgrims, their reasons for being there and their personalities into a modern version of the Canterbury Tales.


Anne Forester, October 19, 2011

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