Interview with New Life Journal

Here is a fun storytelling interview that Maggie Cramer did with me for New Life Journal. It has lots of useful storytelling techniques and philosophy.

“Stories live in your blood and bones, follow the seasons and light candles on the darkest night—every storyteller knows she or he is also a teacher.”—Patti Davis

In the quote above, Patti Davis is talking about the power of stories: that they can teach us something about ourselves and about the world, as well as excite and entertain us at the same time. Local storyteller Doug Elliott knows this to be true. In fact, he’s seen this power expressed on people’s faces across the United States and Canada as well as in his own home. That’s in part because of the power of stories but, of course, also due to his talent as a storyteller. Doug has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, conducted workshops for the Smithsonian Institution, and lectured and performed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. He’s also a gifted naturalist, herbalist, and musician–elements that all play a part in bringing the stories he tells to life for his audiences of all ages. New life Journal is excited to bring you our interview with Doug. We asked him to share information about his craft as well as some of his secrets for telling great stories so that you can share their power with your children.

You describe yourself as a storyteller. In your view, what exactly is a storyteller? Is anyone who tells a story a storyteller, or is it much more than that?

I think anyone who tells a story is a storyteller and everyone has stories to tell. Some of us put more time and energy into crafting a story so that it will be accessible, meaningful, and entertaining. But storytelling is one of the basic things that makes us human. When someone asks you what you did today, and you tell them, you’re relating a narrative—a story.

When did you first become interested in the craft?

I’ve been performing and telling stories publicly for around thirty years. I’ve spent a lot of my life studying the natural world, and sharing and teaching what I’ve learned. Stories are the best way to convey information. They are the glue that makes information stick. Any teacher will tell you that. Continue reading