I choose to spend my time in the land of storytelling.
Every now and again, after a storytelling performance, someone asks me: “But you’re really an actress, right?”. And even though they haven’t said it outright, I have been asked this question enough to glean the deeper meaning in this query. What they generally mean – and after a few more minutes they outright ask it – is: “So this storytelling thing is something you’re doing until the ‘big break’ comes?” Or: “It’s just something you’re doing between ‘real’ acting gigs.”
“Hmm…”, I answer. “How do I put this? NO! I AM A PROFESSIONAL STORYTELLER! That’s what I do and what I love to do! What’s wrong with that?!”
OK, maybe that’s not really what I say but that sure is how I feel. My husband laughs at my fury when I read movie, book and film reviews that call authors, directors and cinematographers “great storytellers”. But an actual storyteller is often treated like someone who is dwelling in the slums of the theatrical world. It’s either assumed that it’s a stop gap before Hollywood comes calling or mistaken for (and let me make this clear that I think this is one of the many marvellous things librarians do but it’s just not what a professional storyteller does) story time at a public library where the youngest of the youngest children are read to and get their first experience with those amazing things called books.
But luckily for anyone who has ever asked me that question I have taken to yoga which has taught me to stop, breathe and look for a kinder and less sarcastic answer than: “Why yes, I’m just doing this until my starring role in the next Johnny Depp film”.