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Story Time 

Storytelling builds community when we need it most

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What do a fear of balloons, too much arugula and a wedding with wild pigs have in common? They are stories recently heard at the monthly Do Tell Story Swap in Santa Rosa.

In these complex and often difficult times, we need to reconnect with genuine communication: the told story. It is how we share experience, understand each other and create community.

"Telling stories connects us to our roots and to our common humanity," says host and professional storyteller Elaine Stanley. "Plus, it's fun and entertaining."

On Nov. 21, Do Tell Story Swap presents Tellabration, tantalizing tales performed by four storytellers. Tellabration is a worldwide storytelling celebration held annually on the third Saturday in November. It aims to reacquaint grownups in particular with the oral tradition of storytelling.

"For me, storytelling started in the classroom," says Brandon Spars, a local high school teacher who will be featured at the Nov. 21 event. "It helps bring history to life for my students, giving them an experience of the culture rather than just facts."

Spars believes it's good for people to listen to the sustained message of stories as an antidote to the sound bites and advertising snippets that bombard us daily.

"After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world," writes fantasy writer Philip Pullman. "'Thou shalt not' is soon forgotten, but 'once upon a time' lasts forever."

Do Tell Story Swap meets at 7pm the second Tuesday of every month at 2000 Humboldt St., Santa Rosa. Teen and adults listeners and storytellers are welcome. See dotellstoryswap.org or call 707.545.5977 for details.

Tellabration is on Nov. 21 from 7pm to 9pm at the Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. All ages. Admission free/by donation. Refreshments and performers' CDs will be available for purchase. Sign language interpretation provided with advance request. For more info, contact dotellstoryswap@outlook.com or 707.545.5977.

Laurie Reaume lives in Forestville and tells stories that are 94 percent true. Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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