THE RADICAL ACT OF COMMUNITY STORYTELLING: EMPOWERING VOICES IN UNCENSORED EVENTS
By Penelope Starr. (Parkhurst Brothers Publishers Inc. $17.95)
Since 2004, Odyssey Storytelling has been a unique-to-Tucson event in which individuals of all ages, cultures, gender expressions, and sexual orientations have taken the stage to connect with audiences by telling personal stories about real things that happened to them and true things they did. The rewards of creating such connections are great, says founder Penelope Starr, and can be seen in the changing of hearts and minds, the individuals who are empowered, and the creating of community. No activity is as democratic as storytelling, she points out, but democracy is messy: there are challenges to staging such programs, and with this concise volume, Starr lays out a game plan for would-be organizers, punctuated with her own illustrative and often humorous experiences. Also included are sample documents, from contracts and timelines to lists of useful items to have on hand. Even if staging a community storytelling event is not your goal, read this unique volume for the author’s compassionate insights into the human need to know others and to be known by them. Starr, who lives in Tucson, is also executive director of StoryArts Group, a nonprofit, community-funded arts organization.
Review by Helene Woodhams in the Arizona Daily Star, January 6, 2018