Monday, July 16, 2012

“Hey, Mr. Pig Story Man”
by Rocci Hildum
June 5, 2008

I had a wonderful time at the Northwest Folklife Festival at the Seattle Center over Labor Day Weekend, May 23 – 26, 2008. It is always a dilemma when I am at a festival like that choosing which performers I want to see. Every choice is a choice not to see another wonderful performer. That is why I was so happy when I went to the Story Swap on Monday May 26, 2008 in the Center House Theater. There was a smallish crowd, but a crowd who had made the choice of all the music and dance and crafts and food to come to hear stories.

I had told stories in the Center House Theater on Sunday and the audience was wonderful. I had a great reception and told three of my favorite stories, including one that has some amusing audience participation. But I intentionally saved my very favorite story for the Story Swap.

I told The Absolutely True Story of the Three Little Pigs. I originally wrote this story for a friend of mine who was working on developing a land trust in Leavenworth. Ever since it has been one of my favorite, and apparently one of my audience’s favorite stories.

Later on Monday I was rushing past the Center House on my way to a workshop when I heard someone behind me calling, “Mr. Pig Story Man, Mr. Pig Story Man.” I have been called many things, some of which would not be appropriate for inclusion here, but I had never been referred to as Mr. Pig Story Man before. However, seven years of college and two degrees has prepared me well to be able to make certain logical inferences based on carefully considering all of the available information and evidence. I inferred that someone who did not know my given name was actually calling for me.

I stopped and turned around to find a woman out of breath running after me. She told me how much she had enjoyed my story. We exchanged business cards and agreed that we would keep in touch.

As I have reflected on that little incident, which lasted perhaps one or two minutes in an otherwise very busy and eventful weekend, it occurs to me how much power the right story, at the right time, and to the right audience can have. Of all the entertainment and connections I made that weekend this one will probably be the one I most remember, especially now since I am writing about it. But I suspect that my new friend will also remember this incident, probably more so because she may be reading this right now.

We never know when or who or how our favorite story will touch someone. What lasting impressions our words may have. And so I have decided that from now on, my favorite story is the one I am telling right now … not this story about the woman calling me Mr. Pig Story Man, I mean the story that I am telling at any given moment will be my favorite story.

I know that when I tell The Absolutely True Story Of The Three Little Pigs everything that makes that story my favorite, or at least that did make it my favorite, gets reflected in how I tell that story. There is just a little more animation, a lift to my voice and a sparkle in my eye. I love all the stories I tell, but what if I told every story as if it were my very favorite story?  What if every story reflected my love and appreciation for that story’s unique gifts and joys? Why, who knows what might happen, I might be walking somewhere some day and hear someone calling behind me, “Mr. Ananzi Story Man, Mr. Ananzi Story Man.”

I think that would be a wonderful compliment!

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