English-Speaking Union Hosts Storyteller
By Lois Holt
Special to The Pilot
For Donald Davis, storytelling is a way of giving and living life.
Born in a southern Appalachian mountain world rich in stories, he says, "I didn't learn stories; I just absorbed them."
The tales he recounts were learned from a family of traditional storytellers who have lived on the same western North Carolina land since 1781.
It was Uncle Frank, a man who "talked in stories," who helped Davis capture the real and daily adventures of live. And it was Uncle Frank who gave him the creative courage to tell about them.
He grew up hearing fairy tales and silly Jack tales, scary mountain lore, ancient Welsh and Scottish folk tales and, most importantly, nourishing true-to-life stories of his own neighbors and kin.
"I discovered that in a story I could safely dream any dream, hope any hope, go anywhere I pleased, fight any foe, win or lose, live or die," says Davis. "My stories created a safe experimental learning place."
And that is the way Donald Davis has approached all of his learning places - as a student at Davidson College, as a graduate of Duke University Divinity School, as a retired Methodist minister, and as the former chairman of the board of directors of the National Storytelling Association.
A prolific author and producer of books and master teacher at workshops and storytelling courses, Davis has appeared as guest host on National Public Radio and as featured teller at the Smithsonian Institution, and at festivals and concerts throughout the United States and the world.
As guest speaker at the English-Speaking Union's meeting on Wednesday, March 13, he will invite each listener to come along, to pull deep inside for one's own stories, and to personally share and create the daily common experiences that are hidden within our own creative spirit.
"Storytelling is not what I do for a living," Davis says. "It is how I do all that I do while I am living, for stories tell us who we are."
The Sandhills Branch of the English-Speaking Union (E-SU) supports a mission that promotes a scholarship program for local educators, and an annual high school Shakespeare Competition in February. The Middle School Debates will be held Tuesday, March 5, and hosted again this year by Sandhills Community College.
The monthly dinner meetings are held at the Country Club of North Carolina, and membership is open to the public.
For membership and program information, contact Hope Price at (910) 692-7727, or email her at hopewp@AOL.com.
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