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Hans Christian Andersen,  storyteller and papercut artist, and other titles. Does his art override your imagination?

Hans Christian Andersen, storyteller and papercut artist (among other vocational titles.) Does his art override your imagination?

“I don’t think you’ll ever hear anything about stories that you can etch in stone, will you?” Simplia whispered, continuing their conversation.

“Sh-h!” Sagacia whispered back. “I want to hear what Jeri Burns is saying about whether or not or how to change stories when you tell them.

This is a vital and challenging discussion, Sagacia and all the rest! No simple answers. But I also agree that stories are meant to be changed and stories are meant to be respected. A delicate balance. But context is crucial. If we are doing a story that is meant to be a cultural offering, one must research and honor it, as Fran indicated. But we also must engage our audience, in the here and now, providing models that are relevant, so letting that princess choose her partner is also sensible.

I meant to respond to the earlier post but got lost in life. Here is one humble offering in answer to the question about what to change, how much to change, what to honor and all that: Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.

“Sounds like good advice,” Sagacia whispered. “If I can only figure out where the line is between the second ‘bold’ and ‘not too bold.'”

“I guess that’s just life keeping you on your toes,” Simplia murmured softly. She was tired of whispering.

“You just have to be your own judge and take responsibility for it, too,” Sagacia pronounced most audibly and in her most authoritative voice–boldly, you might say,  perhaps too boldly.

The room had been silent for a moment, but when Sagacia spoke aloud in that soap-boxy manner she sometimes puts on, all eyes turned her way. There may have been a gasp.

Sagacia blushed. Why had she suddenly quit whispering and started talking aloud?

Simplia came to her rescue!

“Uh, we were just talking about, uh, . . .” She remembered their earlier discussion. “Uh, well, why anyone would write an oral story down in the first place, when so much happens out in the air, between the listener and the teller–stuff you can’t write down, you know, you can’t even name it–and uh, and also why they would illustrate it, you know, because, well, drawing a picture: isn’t that sort of like stealing the audience’s imaginations from them? Listeners should be illustrating the story themselves, in their heads, in their own imaginations!”

“Illustrations!!?” a voice from near the fireplace exclaimed with two exclamation points and a question mark.

You certainly can’t complain about illustrations!” another voice said, a deeper one.

“Yeah! You Simpletons put a fairy tale illustration on your blog almost every time!”

Sagacia and Simplia looked perplexed. More so than usual, I mean.

“But we love them!” Sagacia said.

“They’re art!” Simplia explained.

The circle of storytellers smiled, then laughed, and, though it seemed an eternity to Sagacia, it was just a moment before one of the good company came to the Simpleton’s rescue with a neat explanation.