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Why Stories are the Fountain of Youth, Wisdom and…

…and more stories, of course.

And we were sharing a TON of fiery stories at the….

Sharing the Fire Storytelling Conference

April 1-3, 2016 • Amherst, MA

Storytelling in a Changing World. We will explore the unique role that stories and the craft of storytelling can serve in a world where issues of gender, technology, environment, and social justice are causing everyday folk to reexamine ideas and values.





I had an amazing time at the League for Advancement of New England Storyteller’s Sharing the Fire Annual Conference.


Here’s a quick breakdown of a great day:

Early morning keynote about the art of tellng stories in a changing world.  I sat down with my mother and had some nice bonding time in the short story-swap exercises we were given.

One of the questions we had to answer: How has the narrative of your birth shaped your view of the world and what stories resonate with you?

My answer – Well, my mom always told me that when I was born, my brother Jeff biked around the block saying “My mommy had a sister!”


Grabbing snacks with mom between workshops!

Close, Jeff, but not quite.

How was the story of your birth told to you?

Then 10:30am, I took my mom to an amazing workshop byRona Leventhal: “Moving the body, freeing the mind.” It was filled with great movement exercises to help rid our bodies of tension and get out heads in a great place of non-thinking.  The best stories come from improvisation and good old silly fun – just like art!

You can learn more about Rona and her wonderful work here.amherst3

Then a break at the amazing UMASS café. Did someone say pizza….(no, probably just me.)


Did I tell you how pizza changed my life?

1:30 – a great workshop on the emotional arc of stories.

“Beyond the plot of the story there are powerful emotional arcs within a story – the journey of the characters within the story, the experience of the story’s narrator as they tell and the audience’s response in hearing the tale.”


Very advanced and interesting material. We got into groups of three and had to tell a simple story three times:  From a first person, third person, and audience perspective.  Came away with some great skills on versatility in storytelling!


3:30 – A spectacular workshop by the great founder, Karen Chace, called Story Play.  Boy, did we play!  This wonderful lady has some terribly innovative exercises up her sleeve.  I definitely got some new ideas to add to y Detourist workshops involving theatre games, humor, stories and creativity.  (Relay races, animal fables, “exaggeration stations”, oh my!) I can’t wait to do an interview on her Cablevision show in August!


5:30pm – Dinner time.  Food. Good.

But even better (well, almost) was the company.  I have never met a warmer, more welcoming group of folks with such an endearing mixture of old soul wisdom and childlike wonder.  Stories are really the fountain of both youth and knowledge.


The Olio Performance

7:30pm – Showtime! I got to perform at the Olio, which was the big storytelling performance that night.  I was honored.  I’ve spoken at conferences, I’d led workshops, I’ve performed, but to be a storyteller is a craft that I am in such awe of, and it was a privilege to be performing next to such greats.

I’ve never had someone sign this speech before…let’s just say I was very curious to see how she would sign my “Costco incident!”

Watch my Olio here:


Afterwards – to all of the beautiful souls who came up to me after I shared my story: You man the world to me. thank you for sharing your own hearts and stories with me, and please stay in touch.  Stories make us stronger, and we are all stronger together.

Nobody expects a detour to happen, in life. It’s what happens when we think we have things planned and all figured out…and then we’re thrown a curveball.


As a survivor of multiple traumas, I know firsthand that you cannot heal from a life-altering event until you are able to speak it, feel it, embody it and share it.

It was a great day.  Find out more about the event here!


“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
― Patrick Rothfuss

It was a great conference filled with awesome folks, and more proof that we all have stories to tell.


Share Your Story With Me with #LoveMyDetour!

Why should you share your story?

The more stories we hear about turning an obstacle into an opportunity, the more empowered we are to transform our own lives and have confidence that when life DOES surprise us, we’re capable of getting through anything.

Do you have a detour to share?

  • Did life go a  different way than you had expected?  That’s a DETOUR.
  • Has that unplanned event in your life shaped who you are today?  Then, you’re a DETOURIST.

So what does a Detourist do?

Keep traveling, and share their story!

I want you to tell YOUR story of how a detour in your life shaped who you are today.

Be sure to read the Guest Post Guidelines, then write me about your detour here, or use #LoveMyDetour on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

It can be a picture…

IMG_7159 blushing tree

A song…




Write me here!

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
― Brandon Sanderson

Stories are the Fountain of Youth, Wisdom and….


A scenic view from my conference this week in Cape Cod!

…the beginning of a bright, new future.

To live a healthy thriving life, I’ve had to befriend my past, embrace my experience, and express what had happened to me. I needed to tell my story in order to heal. But first, I had to hear my story for myself, rather than avoid it.

detours on the way to myself

Once I learned how to hear my own heart-shattering story, and feel the pain, the frustration, the anger, and ultimately, the gratitude, I was able to speak to it. I was able to gently teach myself how to live in the present moment rather than in the world of the trauma.

For any LANES members that want to share their story with my on #LoveMyDetour Why Not Wednesdays, read the guidelines here or even send me your stories in audio or video form!

What story do you have to tell?  Share!




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