I performed stories from The Marvelous Imagination of Katie Addams over the weekend. I’m still not sure what to call it– but I knew that “author talk” was not going to turn a lot of heads.
So I put on my storytelling hat (or in this case, sparkly skirt) to add some oomph to the event. I wanted to stand out– for it to be obvious right away that this was going to be FUN. (And I’ve always found costumes liberating; No point in being shy if you’re already wearing a square-dance-worthy crinoline and stripy tights, right?)
I listed potential stories; stand-alone bits that I could tell without giving away the overall plot, but which would have all the satisfaction of a good folk tale. (Click here for a free download of five of my favorites)
Though I didn’t refer to the cards, I brought them along; there’s nothing worse than drawing a blank on what story you planned to tell next!
I told “The Hot Air Balloon Race,” “The Pharaoh’s Tomb,” and “Godfather Death,” plus some nice little transitions about my cousins’ farm (of which the Johnson farm in the book is pretty much a complete copy). I answered a few questions, and then closed with “Letter From Antarctica.”
It was a wonderful event! The stories flowed. I didn’t get stuck on specific words– a real concern since I never wrote down my oral stories but always worked them up aloud. It was fun to see where embellishments came in that don’t exist in the book.
Three times as many people showed up as the library expected, including a guy I’ve seen there many times but have never spoken to. He turned out to be a Pillar Listener– his face lit up, he was so engaged and, unlike my dear Midwesterners, he showed it! Whenever I was wondering if people were really with me, if my crazy outfit was too over-the-top, I panned over to him and got an infusion of creative affirmation.
Afterward, my friend Jeff Niesen gave me this! The slightly Tim Burtonish version of me (!!) and some of the characters from the stories.
“Absolutely wonderful new juvenile book at the library.” -Grand Marais Public Library
“Terrific book reading Rose… such a gifted writer AND performer!” -Mica
One librarian told me ‘I wouldn’t just say this– I read a LOT of books– But I just LOVED it!’ As someone who has loved libraries forever (and regarded them as magical places), this is high praise where it counts. (And it’s pretty cool to see my book on the shelves– even cooler to find out there’s a waiting list for it. I love my community!)
Click your heels. Make your wishes. Try something new. Tell stories you love.
Wishing you some sparkle and color in your day!