Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Week 8: Spellbinders

When my boys were younger, we attended many story times together. I’ve heard stories at libraries, at bookstores, at schools, at The Farm, at The Gardens on Spring Creek, at Dandelion Toys. I‘ve heard stories under umbrellas in the rain and under canopies in the sweltering summer heat. I’ve heard stories accompanied by music, puppets, magicians, giant furry mascots, and slide shows. I’ve heard stories about talking animals, evil kings, wayward travelers, wise elders, and more talking animals. I’ve heard a lot of stories. Now that my boys are a little older and their story time opportunities are fewer, I’m finding that I miss those days. (All except the sitting-on-the-floor-until-my-spine-is-rendered-immobile part.)

So I was pleased to discover that storytelling in Fort Collins is not just for kids. On Friday, I kicked off the month of October with some spooky stories for adults, as told by the Larimer County chapter of Spellbinders Storytellers.

Spellbinders was founded in Denver in 1989 by Germaine Dietsch, with the goal of strengthening intergenerational connections using the power of story. The organization has since expanded to 22 chapters in six states, Canada, and Wales. I arrived early enough to chat with some of the Storytellers, who are quite possibly the nicest people I’ve ever met. They tell stories in Larimer County schools on a regular basis, and I imagine they are beloved by kids of all ages. I know my boys always looked forward to their third-grade story times.

The best spooky stories are the subtle ones—no rampaging psychopaths or marauding werewolves for me, thank you very much. I'd rather hear the tale of a haunted bedroom with a mysterious quilt. Or a civil war soldier witnessing a dying man reunited with his dead love. A medieval forest which protects the innocent. A ghost mother bringing milk to her baby. The Spellbinders mixed in some humor, too, with stories of a “noodlehead” who didn’t quite know what it meant to be dead and a sassy toddler who wasn’t about to let an angry spirit keep her from going for the gold.

A story is only as good as the teller, and the Spellbinders didn’t disappoint. (Anyone who can captivate a class of squirmy grade-schoolers must have a gift.) I can’t remember the last time someone told me a ghost story, and I was happy to find that it’s just as much fun as it used to be. All that was missing was the campfire.

The Spellbinders next adult story-telling will take place on April 1.

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