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Back to the Blog and news of Norse

Really did mean to get back to the blog much more quickly after my return from Newfoundland.  As ever, stuff happened -- including a tad of wrestling with the technology.  The memories remain, of course: the SC-CC Conference with its great gathering of old friends and new ones to be found; the thought and careful planning that had gone into everything; the amazing sunset over hills and ponds seen from the bus on the return from Brigus after the Saturday night concert.  Then, there was the after Conference time: walking, visiting, lapping up the scenery, whale watching, gannet gazing and puffin viewing for nine whole days.

Our return brought good news for Two Women Productions.  We have our grant from the Canada Council.  We can go full steam ahead.  Mind you, what we have at the top of of thoughts right now is the upcoming weekend for the telling of Norse myth -- From Creation to Ranarok, no less.  Twenty tellers and ten listeners will be descending upon our lakeside home.  We'll start on Friday evening at 6.30 and should be done (with ample breaks for eating, drinking and carousing) by noon on Sunday. 

As ever, I am consumed with interest in these tales.  My part is to tell the story of Loki's last quarrel with the gods and his final, terrible imprisonment -- bound in a cave, between three rocks, a serpent's venom set constantly to drip upon him.  It's the quarrel I find most fascinating.  There is Loki who has caused the death of Balder, the most beloved of the gods, and who still has the audacity to show up for the annual harvest feast.  I think, yes, of course that's what he'd do.  He'd tough it out.  He'd go on, taunting and taunting, showing no remorse.  By this point he has to.  There are ways in which he cannot help himself.  He must drive himself to his own doom.  I see the contemporary connections, the universality of his stance.

If you're interested, we still have a few listener spaces.  Just let me know and I'll send you the details.  These long tellings offer opportunities like no other -- a chance to listen and hear in a whole new way. 



Off to the Annual Conference of Storytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada

Why start a blog when you're about to go away for two weeks and be out ofelectronic contact? Because "before you go away" is always the time whenyou take on the tasks that have been hanging around awaiting your attention for months?

The fact is too we are off to a storytelling event: the Annual Conference ofStorytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada (SC-CC)( This year the conference is in St. John's, Newfoundland. Jennifer and I will be participating in the two day pre-conference Master Class presented by English storyteller Graham Langley. Once the Master Class is over, the conference proper will begin. Tellers are coming from across the country but also from Europe and the States. It's a first in terms of rate of international attendance soanticipation is high.

This Conference is the Eighteenth Annual. As SC-CC's first NationalCoordinator and the only one who's been to all other conferences I get to give the organization's history as an opener. We started this tradition quite early, believing that participants would need some sense of where the organization had come from and how it had traveled in order to direct where it might go. This faith has served us well. We have kept true to our ideals of openness and consensus-building because we have reminded ourselves of their importance every time.

I shall also be telling in the concert at St. George's Church, Brigus, onSaturday July 31. It's a particular honour because the concert is being produced as part of the Cupid's 400 celebrations of Newfoundland's heritage.That heritage, of course, finds much of its rooted-ness in Britain, whenceI myself derive. An English folk tale has been requested. I had some difficulty with this because my own family couldn't exactly be described as "steeped in oral traditions." They do share a use of language that is highly original and wonderfully evocative, however. It wasn't hard to see the links once I got going. At its heart, the piece holds the story, Cap O'Rushes, as found in Joseph Jacobs's English Fairy Tales. This one is dear to me for Cap O'Rushes time in the kitchen. Both my grandmother and great-grandmother were "in service" in great houses. They knew the rigours well.

The packing has not yet started but the planning-for-packing has. Hikingboots or runners? One or two fleeces? Travel mugs? Granola for breakfasts when we get to the holiday bit of the adventure? No doubt we'll soon have stuff strewn all over. In the meanwhile, I need to keep working on my story....and deal with the fact that I need to undertake a vast amount of deleting from my in-box....and deal with publicity for the children's book I have coming out in the fall (Rude Stories, published by Tundra, of whichmore later)....and pay a few bills.....and download the conference documents....and change the sheets for the friends who are coming to stay in our house while we're not in it. And....and....and.....

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