Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spellbinder Hot News for September


Some announcementS --Lots of Breaking news
Opportunities for skill development this month

See Note 3 at the end, for reminder of our own Lexington Spellbinder online Newspaper, and add this link to your desktop.

1. Cave Run Festival. Please let Greg know if you intend to go on Friday or Saturday, so he can reserve tickers at the gate for you.
Remember also Annual National storytelling Festival in Jonesboro,TN, Oct 2-4. I first started going 25 years ago. If you can go, you will be hooked. Also in Richmond, Ky Nov 7-8, at EKU, annual conference of the Kentucky Storytelling Association, with some 15 workshops offered. Not expensive, and only 26 miles. See either website for more info. This conference is usually held around the state and this is first time in 5 years it is near Lex. Grab a friend and go!

2. Local community storytelling events:

A. Paschal’s on this Satrata. We will share in small groups, and have Charlies fish fry at noon. 10-1. Directions Last subdivision before Clark county, Winchester Road, five miles from Man of War. Lofgren Court turn right then left. Follow signs.

B. Natasha’s Bistro. September 28, Monday eve, starting at 8. Our Charlie Hardy is one of the tellers. Other Thomas Freese, Kentuckl7 Storytelling Associate, See his website. $5 cover charge donation to KSA.

C. Same night. Thomas Freese, noted storyteller and author of five books on ghost stories will also be in Lexington at Natashas’ Café the same night with Charlie Hardy. To have someone in town like him is not to be missed. Thomas brings musical talent to his stories with guitar and harmonica. See note 2 below for more information about Thomas.

3. Shadow Opportunities, for New Spellbinders

See note 1 below on recommended check ins at schools.

9/18 Fri Charlie Hardy, at Stonewall, Home phone 2242352

I am telling to 4 groups of K, starting at 10. I will be telling the same stories, so anyone can come at any time. I hope they know the drill: Check in at the office, tell them they are here to see me tell stories in the K classes and they will direct them down there. Stonewall is where we had our recent training.

9/18 Fri Paschal Baute at Yates, cell 293-5302

Telling a combined group of 4th graders, at 1:00 p.m. Native stories. Yates is just off New Circle Road, outside, up from Old Continental Inn site, just past wendys, from the south.

9/22 Tu Margo Radcliff, at Julius Marks. Phone 224-9387

Grades k-1, at 11:15

9/23 We Margo Radcliff at Veterans Park elem phone 224-9387

Grades K-1, at 12:30

9/24 Barbara Barr, at Stonewall elem, Phone 278-7078

Grades 2 and 3, 10:30

10.6 Paschal at Cassidy, phone 293-5302

4th grade, 8:15. This time could change. I expect to be telling also at Liberty by this date, so give me a call if interested.

Note 1. Shadowing, please arrive at the school at least 15 minutes early, check in at the School Office, introduce yourself as a Spellbinder, get a school badge and locate the library, and introduce yourself to the school librarian, and ask her about a seat to observe. If you do not know where the school is located, use the internet or call the storyteller. When you are a guest, please do not arrive late.

Note 2. Thomas Freese, storyteller, author, artist, art therapist.


Thomas Freese is a storyteller and author who performs over a dozen entertaining and educational programs for both children and adults. He tells stories in schools, after school programs, libraries, community centers, private and company parties, church and other groups. His storytelling programs
include Origami Tales, World Folk Stories, Fairy Tales, Ghost Stories, Pioneer Tales, Silly Stories and Songs, Tales of the Desert Southwest, Hispanic Stories, Jack Tales, Star Stories, and Native American Tales. Thomas Freese brings musical talents to his story telling performances. He plays guitar, harmonica, and other instruments.


Thomas has published five amazing books of ghost stories. He writes both nonfiction and fiction books. In addition he has written for over ten years for Lexington’s Chevy Chaser and Southsider Magazines with over 120 articles. His published works include: Shaker Ghost Stories from Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, Fog Swirler and 11 Other Ghost Stories, Strange and Wonderful Things: A Collection of Ghost Stories with Special Appearances by Witches and Other Bizarre Creatures, Haunted Battlefields of the South, Ghosts, Spirits and Angels: True Tales from Kentucky and Beyond.


Thomas Freese also is a visual artist in multiple media. He studied art at McNay Art Institute, The Southwest Craft Center, The University of New Mexico and The University of Louisville. Thomas created a line of wooden, folk art jewelry which includes Southwest and Celtic designs in pins and earrings. He taught as an Artist-in-Residence for many years through the Kentucky Art’s Council’s Arts Education program. Thomas is available to work with school and other groups, any age

Art Therapist

Thomas Freese has Master’s Degree in Expressive Therapies. His professional licensing and credentials include Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and Registered Art Therapist, Board Certified (ATR-BC). His Bachelors Degree was in Psychology and he worked as a counselor in both clinical and school settings.

Let us welcome Thomas Freese to Lexington. For more information about Thomas visit his web site at

Note 3. This update of Storytelling news will also be posted at our Lexington Spellbinder online newsletter site for further reference. Please bookmark this if you have not yet done so, as it will provide a ready reference of recent information of use to your volunteer storytelling.

Let’s help each other get off to a great start this fall.

Looks as if we might have about ten this Saturday, so we will have some fun swapping stories and stretching wings. Call me if you find you can make it. Hate to run short of Charlie’s fish and baked green tomatoes. 293-5302, Paschal the Rascal.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Letter from Germaine, re religious concepts in stories, etc.

Attn Lexington Spellbinders

June 30, 2009

Dear Greg,

I enjoyed immensely having the opportunity to lead the first day of your current Spellbinders workshop that included the new volunteers for Jessamine. I’m glad the next two days went well and hope both chapters will benefit from enthusiastic new Spellbinders!

As a result of an email from Paschal, and a conversation with Margo Ratcliffe, it seems there are some things that the Lexington chapter needs to have clarified. I mentioned to you that Margo had asked me about national Spellinders’ position on two items: whether it is okay for Spellbinders to tell stories about Christmas at Christmas-time and also whether a Spellbinder can tell stories at a church or at a venue other than their assigned school classrooms. In Paschal’s email he said there was some controversy in the chapter over some of the points in the Spellbinders Study Notes such as the use of props while storytelling and appropriate places for Spellbinders to tell stories.

Let me address each of these questions. The Study Notes are meant to be suggestions and background information, not to be rigid rules. The only “rules” are in the Standards and Guidelines which must be signed by all Spellbinders. The only item that may need clarification is Study Note #10 where it states “Spellbinders must not discuss religious, political or sexual matters with their listeners.” This shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that a story that touches on a celebration, such as Christmas or Hanukah or Kwanza, should not be told. It only means that the religion behind the story is not to be discussed. Individual chapters can make rules or suggestions beyond that guideline if it is deemed necessary.

In Study Note #9, under the Language and Cultural Considerations topic, it states that the storyteller and the chapter need to be aware of the racial and religious sensitivities of their community and be guided accordingly. In Study Note #11, it is suggested that Spellbinders prepare their audiences to hear their story by telling something at the start of the program about the story such as the culture it comes from or its relationship to the season. In the case of a Christmas story, the storyteller might say something like, “there are many stories that are connected to religious traditions at this time of year, like Christmas and Hanukah and Kwanza. The story I’m going to tell today is a Christmas story.”

Concerning locations where Spellbinders tell stories, public school classrooms and other facilities serving children are the main places that Spellbinders’ mission of nurturing literacy, character and intergenerational community can be fulfilled. This should not preclude individual Spellbinders from storytelling in other community locations where stories are welcomed and can provide a community service. They may do so as volunteers from their chapter or as independent volunteer storytellers. If a Spellbinder wishes to move on from being a volunteer to paid, professional status, that situation is addressed in #11 of the Standards and Guidelines. As to the use of props, have chapter members reread Study Note #10, Setting a Storytelling Mood, which give suggestions about use of props.

The Jeffco Chapter in Colorado, one of our largest and oldest chapters, did a Study Notes Review last year, using one Study Note per monthly meeting as the topic/theme of the meeting. They said it was very helpful to be reminded of things they may have forgotten or not fully understood at the beginning of their storytelling careers.

Lexington Spellbinders is a wonderful chapter and you are poised, with all your new Spellbinders, to make an even greater impact on your community with stories that build literacy, character and the spirit of humanity. I felt privileged to give the first workshop for your new volunteers.

Have a happy summer and a wonderful fall with your chapter.


Germaine Dietsch
Founder, Program Director

Spellbinders mission is to nurture literacy, character
and the spirit of humanity
through the art of oral storytelling