Saturday, January 28, 2012

School Day and Story Night

A great school day looks like this:

    For a storyteller a great school day is getting to share stories with eager listeners. Recently I was  fortunate to share my day with the students and staff at my neighborhood school, Annie Vinton Elementary School in Mansfield, CT.    
    Pre-K through 4th grade came in shifts by grade to settle on the carpet of the library and listen to programs of story keyed to the curriculum of study at present for their grade.  We covered neighborhoods, and environments, weather and Native Americans, Martin Luther King Jr. , folk music, and the history of our town.
    I know I had a wonderful day reconnecting with old friends and developing new ones among the staff and students. I hope that each of them found a story moment to share with their families and a chance to try out their storyteller skills. We introduced new vocabulary, reinforced classroom  curriculum, used rich full language that enables literacy to develop, and dabbled in history. This was a day  I could tell all kinds of stories from the simplest folk tale of the Gingerbread man for the tiny listeners to the more complex tales of history for the 3rd and 4th grade. Storyteller joy is right here in a day like this.

A Great Story Night looks like this:
The flip side of that audience is one of all adults, many of whom are storytellers. Story Space in Cambridge, Ma.  is just that kind of venue.

      Choosing which story to tell your peers is a challenge! I want to show my best work, not share a story most have heard before. I also want to show my range of  story genre. This was a magical night for me in  the Cambridge Story Space.    I shared a funny personal story, a newer piece I created of historical fiction regarding the singer Patsy Cline and her song "Crazy" in my set as the featured teller of the week.  I highly recommend a night at the Story Space held in, Out of the Blue Gallery in Cambridge - check it out!

What else am I up to?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weather Vanes Story Resources Part 6

Seraph: a six winged celestial being in the heirarchy of Angels
There is a great deal of histocial/religious writing and depiction of the Seraph ( singular of Seraphim)

To learn more about them try:    or

For a present day reference this clip from "Sister Act" with the song Salve Regina speaks of both the Seraphim and Cherubim classes of angels.

Our second weather vane today:

A weathervane of this nature would certainly have been found over the small gun shops of the pre-Civil War era. Hunting retreats,gun clubs and others possibly enjoying bragging rights of. their marksmanship might have had the wind marked by such striking art.

Connecticut history is filled with triumphs and failures of the  weapon industry. As a key state in the industrial revolution one of the most heralded names in firearms was from Hartford, CT., Samuel Colt. For a look at the history of the weapon line he developed and his part in Connecticut History look here:       or

Remington was another Connecticut weapon manufacturer their history is here:

Winchester is another name synonimous with weapons and the wild west. Here is a link to more on the Winchester rifles of Connecticut:

Flintlock Guns were common weapon of the Revloution to see a costumed demonstration of how to fire a Flintlock check out this you-tube:

Hope some of these resources will help you bring a story to life. The Museum of CT. History is a great place to visit, there is so much to see from our past. There are many books out on the guns manufactured in Connecticut.

This is the 6th of the Weather Vane Series of resource posts here is the link to the previous posts:





Speaking of weather vanes and wind from 4 directions;
Stories come to us from all directions as evidenced by the work of Storyteller Mike Lockett's CD , Stories East West  see the review:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Health and Weight-Loss a Story of my Personal Challenge

 Advice tip for weight loss and lifestyle change: Tell Someone! 

I'm telling you all!

My goal is to bring half of me to next  years events! 

To keep myself motivated  and empowered I'm using  my favorite tools ( no, not a pitchfork - although that helps [see more later]) THE INTERNET, technology and inspiration my tools of choice.

2012 is the year of ME! Not in a selfish manner, well maybe a little. The year of me is the year I take back control of my health and fitness and seek to find the old athlete hidden inside.

                                                                        The Story
The pudgy cheeked infant becomes the round faced little girl, beaming with health.
The move at age 5 to rural Coventry, CT. gave me an outdoor country lifestyle that was very healthy.
In this photo ( approx age 9) I'm riding my pal Sparkey who as you can see,I was outgrowing. Another pony, Pongo came  my way, he was bigger, then at age 16 my Morgan Horse Cindy came into my life.

Keeping equines, kept me fit! Especially since the barn  was at the top of a hill! This is where pitchfork fitness begins, cleaning stalls is a good workout!

The years rolled by, equines are constant in my life but raising family, working, and cooking for an active farm family kept me inside more. I put everyones needs in front of mine willingly. The weight crept on and the drive to maintain the athleticism of youth waned.  The strength and  fitness of my high school and college years was a distant memory.

So here I am in this unhappy place, overweight, injury bound, restricted from things I love.

In 2011 the loss of my parents and the long arduous journey they took  with ill health was a bold reality check. I do not want to travel that path! The reality of how difficult it is to play on the floor with my Grandchildren was the second motivational factor. The third factor; I'm really excited about the career as storyteller I'm building for myself, my outlook is very positive.

The Gift

My daughter Katie and her husband Andrew gave me a Christmas gift membership to the Mansfield Community Center -they have a wonderful pool and therapy pool.  The day after Christmas I began. 4 lengths of the 25 yard pool in 30 minutes, ugh, I'm whipped and mad!  I realize mad is good, it has power when channeled. I am mad at  me for getting to this point.
Swim, push, swim more, come back tomorrow, come on the cold nights after a 12 hour workday.
January 19,2012   40 lengths in 30 minutes -YES! Down 12 pounds!!  YES!

New Tools

My new phone  Droid Charge 4G by Samsung via  Verizon is another great tool! Paired with  as an app I can record all my food and exercise. I love the bar code reader for finding calorie count on foods!

Good Choices

 Hunkered down to spend a snowy day catching up on  all this work by my computer, I choose the  healthy  snack.
                                                                    Read all about it!

                                                 Today on yahoo a very inspirational cover story via Women's Day! Kimberly Truesdell age 30 of Fort Wayne Indiana is the weight loss story that inspired this post with her blog.  her weight loss journey has gone public in a big way and she is my inspiration today! Way to go  Kimberly!!! Thanks!!!!

         I will occasionally update you on my journey to health and fitness right here in my blog. Daily  posts on my twitter page  @carolynstearns. Telling you all means I can't quit! Being here to enjoy my family and career means I can't quit!  When the snow lets up a bit I'll be off to the pool.

Associated post:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peter Guber Harvard Business School

Found this great video to share with you all today.

Storytelling is being used to sell and promote product, businee and opinion. We  need to use storytelling to sell storytelling!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Norma Cameron TedX Powerful Narrative Storytelling

More on the power of narrative from a Storyteller on Tedx Give her a few minutes of time please. From the iron forges of Scotland to  Tedx in Victoria Canada it is a journey of just a couple minutes. The message Norma shares is one from the beginning of time. I just love how she refers to her Granny as a "wee firebrand of a woman".

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Web Presence is Dead

And Other Fear Factors

      This is your chance to  get over those technology fears and begin to build web presence for marketing through my workshop. Announcing the  4 hour in-depth version to be given in March.

It is being offered to anyone, as a pre-conference  at Sharing the Fire the Northeast Storytelling Conference sponsored by Lanes  March 16 from 1-5 p.m.  in Albany, New York. All the details are on the Lanes website.

This is not just for storytellers, this will help anyone wanting a better grasp of the major platforms of the web. Artists, small business owners, agriculture business, Non Profits, social groups and more can benefit!  Everyone is welcome at Sharing the Fire!

Can you send an email? Do you have a lap top  that can come to the workshop with you? We will begin your campaign to  build a web presence from the ground up.

I promise to tell the story of how my web presence REALLY  was dead!
I will share  how I fixed it, what's next, and how you can work to fix yours.

Don't think you are going to sit there tied to your lap top for 4 hours...NO WAY!  This workshop will be fun and full of action.

This is what was said about the 90 minute version given at the 2011 CT.Storytelling Festival:

"This workshop validated what I was doing right, how to improve on what I was
doing, and how I could increase my presence even more. The hand out sheets
will not be used for scrap but uploaded into my resources page of my
computer. I have attended networking workshops in the past, but this one
spoke in a language I could understand and gave me time to ask questions. My
only drawback it could have been longer..and the facilitator set time limits
on the responses from the audience. I would highly recommend this workshop
to be extended for next year and if necessary, I would pay an additional
cost to attend. It is what we need as Artist to get through the tech mire
of the computer world."

Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti

"Carolyn took us through the basic steps but gave us so much more in the process. She seemed to know what our fears and our questions were and answered them before we could even ask. She gave clear and insightful information and encouragement to try new things and why it is important to do so."
Chris Rothe

Hear is the magic wand granting their wish for a longer workshop....  4 hours of dedicated time!
Did you want to learn more about Facebook and your business, how about twitter, what's that all about?

I tube, do you-tube?  Making you-tube bring  people to your website. Blog anyone? How about a simple effective website, you can do that too!
I know, I are really busy and there is a lot to learn. We will take it one step at a time, get you started on some fun projects and focus on what you want most out of this.
This Grandma, farm wife, storyteller wants to help you get  over your fears and get in gear!
                                                          If I can do it - so can YOU!
                  Go To and register for the  pre-conference today!
                                                        See you in New York!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

VoiceMail Open Mic in Mansfield General Store

VoiceMail is on the move...
 to a new venue, for a quiet listening space with good food and country charm. VoiceMail is an open mic for storytelling ( adult venue)  held the last Monday of each month.  ( find and "Like" VoiceMail on Facebook please, and if you can help spread the word, thanks!)

                                                      Say Hello to our new home!!
You can tell  this is a well known landmark in Mansfield Center. It has been  a store serving the community for a very long time. What makes this such a special place?
 It is inviting; drawing in a wide variety of travellers off the main road through town and the Uconn campus. There are always a few cars out front!

It's the kind of place that makes you want to pull up a chair and relax a bit!

It is the place to see little girls in pigtails sitting on the front steps licking ice cream cones on a summer day.

It is the place to have your picnic ready by 12 so you can listen to the carillon play in the steeple of First Church of Christ across the street.

VoiceMail open mic for storytelling packed up and moved to the Mansfield General Store. ( find them on FaceBook) Our opening night there will be Jan. 30, 2012 at 7 p.m. The feature teller will be local favorite Gail Zeiba. There will be 5-6 open mic slots for other storytellers to take a turn sharing a tale. The soup will be on, the pastries sweet and the stories memorable. There are antiques, penny candy, cold local made soda and fresh Mountain Dairy milk products.

As before the donations collected during VoiceMail are split with half going to support the good works of the Connecticut Storytelling Center and the other half going to  the feature teller. Won't you come out and support us at our new venue.  Kelly and Lisa who run the store are opening special just for us! Please support their time and effort and  come for the soup bar and desserts. If this is the year of the buy local movement this is the place to see that in action!

other blogs of similar content:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Weather Vanes; Story Resources Part 5

                                                  The Flag Weather Vane

Barbara Fritchie  "shoot if you must this old gray head...but spare your countries flag she said..."

In the Revolutionary War famous naval battle with Capt. John Paul Jones his capture of the British ship Serapsis marked by the flag raised, a historic flag we don't see often today.

John Paul Jones Bio and important battle descriptions can be found here:
 No section on the American Flag would be complete without a link to info on  Francis Scott Key; see what the Smithsonian has to offer on the author of our National Anthem:

There is a particular code of flag etiquette. "Do It Best" describes in this video.

Looking to buy a reproduction historical flag? try

Closing the flag section of resources today a tribute by Johnny Cash!

                            The Motorcycle  Weather Vane

Harley  Stories
4 guys in a small 10x15 wooden shed begin tinkering. Finally a motorcycle rolls out the door. Harley Davidson is born. The original motorcycle was ridden by 5 owners and rolled on for 100,000 miles!

Here is a link to the Harley site that   shows the original 10x15 factory used by William Harley and Arthur Davidson to create the motorcycle legend!   

WWII Motorcycles

                                                 The Arrow Weather Vane

Black Arrow Though the weather vane is gilded  all arrows remind me of a favorite story by Robert Louis Stevenson and in this video clip you can see the NC Wyeth illustrations from the 1916 version! Great author, Great artist - perfect combination!
                                                                 The Black Arrow

Bow and Arrow / Archery
 How about a view of the 2004 Olympic Archers

The Most Well Known Archer? Robin Hood! here is a link to Robin Hood in legend, lore and landscape.


Where was Robin Hood leader of the Merry Men?  This link to the Robin Hood Society, Google Map of Robin's  territory: the society at:

and a new legend begins of an archer of similar acclaim in eye and aim:

Which ever way the wind blows there is certain to be a good story waiting to be brought to life and shared!

Past blogs in this series - all different weather vanes:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Top 10 Favorites of 2011

My blog that was most read  was about the fun game Rory's Story Cubes!

Favorite Photo of 2011:

because I was riding in the Hot Air balloon when I took this! At Fort Hill Farms
Thompson, CT.

Favorite Video of the year that I made:

Blue Hill's Jassper using the 1800's treadmill to demonstrate corn chopping! I adore Jassper! Thanks John and Mellissa Lavoie of Sew on and Sew  & Blue Hill Donkeys Franklin CT. for bringing Jassper out! ( find them on Facebook)

                       Big Day in 2011
My Son Tim graduated High School  Congratulations! 

Sweetest Moment 2011
At my Grandsons Baptism

Most Beautiful Venue for my storytelling:
I was there Dec. 23  with my epic tale Christmas Spirits

Most beautiful venue for my announcing:
Tunbridge, VT. The Lippitt Show  Preserving the old style foundation Morgan Horse

Big Projects 2011 there is a tie between  VoiceMail  an open mic for Storytelling ( we're on Facebook)
and Campus Slammer a project I worked on for  Connecticut Storytelling Center
                            Making this clip was lots of fun too! Thanks to friend Kelly!

Most Excitement Announcing
                                 Cowboy Mounted Shooting - The Northeast Regionals in NH
                             the host clubs: