February 2017
Vol. VII, No. 293

February 2017

Stories, Storytellers & Storytelling

Ann Smith's "Storytellers," giclee

Ann Smith’s “Storytellers“.

From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: David Orr, the author of Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World, writes: “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.” This month, assigned the topic “Stories, Storytellers & Storytelling,” eight Weekly Hubris Contributors wrote essays for you, capturing as best they could the lightning-in-bottles that is the “told story.” The result of their efforts at translation? What your editor learned as the First Reader of these rich pieces is, simply, this: storytellers are, also and always, peacemakers, healers, restorers, and lovers.

“The Boyhood of Raleigh,” by Sir John Everett Millais, 1870.

“The Boyhood of Raleigh,” by Sir John Everett Millais, 1870.

Small Things Recollected

“Heads & Tales: Story in An Age of (dis)Information,” By William Ramp

LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA Canada—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2017— There are times a writer needs to step aside and hand on another’s voice and words. For me, this month, that other is Walter Benjamin, the German Jewish philosopher, cultural critic, and journalist who died trying to escape Vichy France in 1940. In October 1936, he published, in the journal Orient und Okzident, a review essay titled “The Storyteller: Reflections on the Works of Nikolai Leskov.” (Read more . . .)

Message, preferably non-verbal, in a bottle.

Message, preferably non-verbal, in a bottle.

Going Dark

“A Letter to the Future,” By Guy McPherson

SAN ANTONIO Belize—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2017—I have a few suggestions, if you’re interested. But first, please accept an apology on behalf of my self-absorbed species. We left a helluva mess. Sorry about that. The mess is so bad, I’m surprised you’re here. We left a small world in our wake, populated with microbes, bacteria, fungi, and similar, “simple” life forms. You must’ve brought what you need to survive. Maybe it’s several million turns around the sun after the year we called 2018. Probably you’re self-reliant and way late to our little extinction party. (Read more . . .)

“Patrick Leigh Fermor,” by John Craxton.

“Patrick Leigh Fermor,” by John Craxton.

By Way of Being

“In The Ear of The Beholder: Stories,” By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

PETIT TRIANON Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2017—Generations of my mother’s and father’s people flourished upon the soils of the deep American South; nourished as much by the region’s vaunted oral tradition as by field peas and snaps, collards and ham hocks, and cornbread baked in iron skillets. If I were writing a Wikipedia entry for my clan’s foremost oral bards, it would begin, “Boleman Storytellers (fl. 1920-1960),” for they did gather and flourish during a discrete 40-year-long interval in Upstate South Carolina. (Read more . . .)

Betsy, a few years later, with our cherished Peke, Gigi.

Betsy, the woman who brought me up, set a high standard for future storytellers.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“The Storytellers Who Changed My Life,” By Diana Farr Louis

ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2017—Storytellers have always won my admiration and awe. While I think the world can be divided between talkers and listeners, the men and women who can really hold our attention, spellbind us with their words and tales, are few in number. Naturally, there are plenty of people who fancy themselves as “the life of the party” and who drone on in extraordinary detail about their families, jobs, or opinions until our minds grow numb. But a real storyteller knows exactly how much information to give, how to pace it, how to keep you interested, and when to stop. (Read more . . .)

“The Young Man's Farewell ,” by Theodoros Vryzakis.

“The Young Man’s Farewell ,” by Theodoros Vryzakis.

Roaming East Roman

“The “Documented” Story,” By Alexander Billinis

CHICAGO Illinois (Weekly Hubris)—February 2017—Greeks are a peculiar people, prideful and prickly. Both quick to anger and love, we are generally open minded though, at times, we can be as insular as the most isolated hilltop hamlet. In no place is this duality more evident than when we are discussing our history and origins. We guard these “truths” within walls far stouter than those of Constantinople. Walls, of course, have gates, and may be scaled. Growing up in a multicultural America, my “100 percent Greek” background was a source of pride, something that distinguished me from my more “Heinz 57” American peers, and connected me to nearly 3,000 years of Greek history. (Read more . . .)

If you’re in a fight, don’t fight.

If you’re in a fight, don’t fight.

Squibs and Blurbs

“A Three-Hundred-Pound Drunk & Other Aikido Stories,” By Jerry Zimmerman

TEANECK New Jersey—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2017—Aikido is an enigma. A Japanese martial art, it first appears to be one of the many energetic training systems designed to teach you how to defend yourself against a physical attack. However, with further serious study you discover it is a much deeper teaching with a surprising core philosophy: if you’re in a fight, don’t fight. And don’t lose. Impossible? Here’s Angel’s story.  (Read more . . .)

Image of the Perseid meteor shower , taken from Fonte-de-Telha, Portugal (Photo: Miguel Claro).

Image of the Perseid meteor shower , taken from Fonte-de-Telha, Portugal (Photo: Miguel Claro).

On The Other Hand

“Meteors, Hercules & The Secret Life of Stories,” By Anita Sullivan

EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2017—There is never a pencil when I need one. But I always forget this before I sit down on the sofa with a legal pad in my lap, feet up on the coffee table, coffee cup carefully placed so my feet won’t knock it to the floor. I’m all ready to write by hand—for hours if necessary, and possibly with nothing to show for it but a pile of crumpled paper —before I commit myself to the screen. (Read more . . .)

Neetsa, in Shanghai.

Neetsa, in Shanghai.

Waking Point

“My Name is Neetsa,” By Helen Noakes

SAN FRANCISCO California—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2017—My name is Neetsa.  Well, not really: it’s Eleni, just like my Grandma, but everybody calls me Neetsa because it’s a Greek name for little girls called Eleni. I live in Shanghai, China. It’s where I was born. A lot of people may find this confusing.Why a little Greek girl called Neetsa instead of Eleni, which is her real name, lives in Shanghai, China. Well, I’ll tell you. But you must be prepared for a story of kingdoms with gold-domed churches, battles between great kings, adventurous journeys, and new beginnings. (Read more . . .)

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