Mike Janover

December 30, 2002

Post #1593 – 20021230

Hi Daniel,

First, thanks for all the fine Saturday morning NPR refresher courses on being a child.

I’m going to be teaching “The Storyteller’s Craft” at Rockport College in Maine. The school specializes in film and photography, and my particular expertise is screenwriting. I’ll be getting into theater, radio, short story, screenplay, etc. Maybe even poetry.

Story is a huge subject that can be approached from many different directions, so many, in fact, that I was uncertain where to begin. But when I was listening to you one Saturday, it all became clear. I’ll take my students back to the roots of story — not sitting around the campfire and listening to how Ork or Mungo killed the lion, but sitting in quiet fascination while our parents or the librarian read to us out loud from a book. What a perfect way to get back to not just the idea of story, but the feel and experience.

At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

So here’s my question: Do you have any suggestions for some in-class books to read and show? And if you have any other ideas or suggestions, lay them on me. I’m thinking the assignment for that week should be for each student to go to a local library and read to children for half an hour.

Thanks so much,

Mike Janover

Daniel replies:

I suggest you play recordings to the class. Story-tellers, particularly Irish, as there is a great tradition, and many of the stories are in English--but also stories from other cultures. I further suggest that you never express any theory or explanation or analysis, but confine yourself entirely to narrative when speaking to your class. Rather than discuss a story, better to play it two or three more times until it's practically memorized. And give everyone an A+.