Story: Crow becomes an advisor

In the deep forest, Owl was the one to give advice to all the other creatures. All night Owl replied to questions on life and how to live it, in return for some food. Crow was jealous of Owl’s high status and decided to give advice him self. Crow proclaimed to all creatures that while Owl was giving advice at night he would be giving advice by day. And many of them came to tell Crow about their troubles and ask for solutions. Mouse asked about how to solve a family issue, Squirrel asked for new places to store his nuts and seeds, Sparrow asked for tips on new places to build her nest, and so forth. But Crow was not as wise as Owl and the advice he gave turned out to be catastrophic. Mouse ended up in a fight with his family and was forced to leave them. Squirrel almost starved to death later that winter, because Crow ate all the nuts and seeds. Sparrow lost her eggs as Cat easily found her nest. The creatures complained and asked Owl for advice. Owl answered: “It is quite simple, do not listen to what Crow have to say. What ever is coming out of his mouth, just pretend that all he is saying is: Kra, Kra”. The creatures listened to Owls advice and the forest became calm as before. But one day Crow came flying through the forest, screaming and crying out loudly: “The forest is on fire, help your selves and your young ones!”. The other creatures did as Owl had suggested and what they heard form Crows mouth was: “Kra, Kra, Krrraa!”. They were all consumed by the fire.

Updates: Starting (almost) fresh

I have deleted a lot of old posts, mostly those written in Norwegian and those belonging my other sites. The plan is to start fresh, or almost fresh, and to include some more of my interests namely those of a more spiritual matter: Tantra and Shamanism.

There has been a shift of mode, mind and feelings since this summer and this has given me a true and fulfilling spiritual re-awakening. For too long I have been, well, lazy and somewhat disconnected with my spiritual life, compared to how I have been in other stages of my life. I’m not saying I’ve been spiritually dead, for that would be a grave lie, but more half asleep, slumbering, awakening now and then, just to slumber some more. Now I’ve been wide awake since mid-summer and I have no need to even shut my eyes for a moment. Since the re-awakening I have founded a new tantric zonule (circle of tantricas working together), written an introduction book for tantra and started one on shamanism.

Summer tour 2010

My tour for the summer 2010 has started, I had a great time at Tønsberg Middelalderfestival (a mediaeval festival). Here is a little something from one of my storytelling sessions:

Photos by Liv Mette Poverud

Next weekend I’ll go all the way south-west of Norway, to Karmøy.

Art of telling stories tip 4 – Know your stories by heart

I can not stress this point enough! To tell a story you must know all the aspects of it, you must know the story line, characters and conversations 100% by heart. Now, this does not mean that you have to memorise every word of the story and tell it exactly how it is written, because the main point here is that you must know it by heart, not only by mind. In my opinion, if you tell the story 100% according to the script, you could just as well be reading a book. And for me that is something entirely different from being a storyteller.

When I find a good story that I want to use I firstly read it through several times, then I make a short list of all the characters and important points in the story line and this list is what I will learn by heart, the rest is improvised while telling the story. But what I do next is to close my eyes and visualise my self telling the story for an audience. I’ll repeat the visualisation until I know the story by heart. And for every time i visualise this the story gets more detailed.

Using this technique means that a story will never be told the same way twice. There will always be slight changes to it and this is what makes your stories evolve from the script to something that is your own.

Art of telling stories tip 3 – Immersion

This is one of the techniques I have learned through RPGs and LARP. It is a subject that actors have spent years to study: Immersion. It goes without saying that I’ll barely scratch the surface with this tiny article.

Immerse your self in a story and its characters and you will see that your audience will do the same. When a character in your story is doing something or saying something show it with your whole body, become the character. There are many ways and styles to do this, but most important is that you have done some preparations. As a storyteller you will have to keep track of many characters.

Me immersed as a crybaby.. Photo by Elin K. Nilsen.

How to immerse your self? Study your tale and figure out the building blocks of each character. for each of them consider this: Who is she and what role does she play in the story? How does she walk and talk? Bad habits? What separates her from the other characters in the story?  What feelings does she have? What feelings does she display? In short: How is her personality and how is her personality perceived? These are all important things to ponder and when you have pondered for a while try to put your self in her shoes. Act like her, speak like her, think like her, feel like her. Convince your self that you are that character!

My best tip to get inspiration on characters and archetypes is to study people out there. Go to a place where people are waiting, like a bus stop, train station or a place people gather, like a pub or café. Look for people that are a bit out of the ordinary, either because of how they look or how they behave, try to notice as much as possible about this person. How does she use her arms? How does she stand/sit/walk? Qualities of voice and language.. This technique has given me some very amazing characters and characteristics to use in my stories.

The tricky part with immersion as a storyteller is that you have to jump in and out of characters, rapidly and many times during a story. And it becomes even more tricky when your characters are having a conversation. There is only one tip I can give to help with that: Practice and experience.

Blogs and podcasts on storytelling?

I have been searching the internet for good blogs and podcasts that discuss the subjects of storytelling and stories. But the web is so webby and this makes it hard to find the real pearls. I have found a few sites, forums and blogs that are good resources, but still I would like to find more of them. I would like to read blogs with material, new stories and discussions on the art of storytelling. I want to share experiences and learn from the variety of styles. But that meant I need to find those sites with that particular information. Do you have any good links to share? Specially I am interested in podcasts where stories are told and ideas are discussed..

Here is a list of what I got so far..

Blogs and Podcasts

The Fairy Tale Cupboard

Fairy Tale Channel

Diamonds and Toads

Ikke slik, men slik (Norwegian)


The Art of Storytelling Show

Other sites, forums, portals


The international Storytelling School

Crick Crack Club

Society For Storytelling

Tim Sheppard’s Storytelling Resoruces for Storytellers

Professional Storyteller

Story: With or without a destiny, part 1 – Home sweet misery

She was born under a lucky star on a lucky day, even the hour was a lucky one, at least that is what her village elders were chittering and chattering about every time she walked by. Well, if her destiny was to be an idiot-village-girl in an idiot-village, she was on the fast track to fulfil her destiny.  Aniyata, as all other girls and boys in the village, got up by the sounds of the cock and first glimpses of the sun. She milked cows and fed chickens, milled grains and stacked hay, picked fruit and spread dung in the fields, all until evening came and the bed seemed soft even while being made of wood with a few strands of hay. She could just not see the great destiny in all this, for she had heard the tales of great heroes, also said to have great destinies. They had swords and armour, fighting monsters and evil kings, they were handsome, wealthy and the blood in their veins was blue like the sky. She had a thin stick to chase the chickens and goats, the only monsters she faced was in her own mind, the closest she came to an evil king would be her own father nagging about how slow she did her duties, she was covered in mud every day, so she could not see if she was beautiful or not and her blood was red like the rose, for she had seen it many times. Continue reading