Storyteller.net was at the National Storytelling Network's 2014 Annual Conference in Mesa, Arizona. Sean Buvala, the Storyteller.net director, conducted a number of interviews with many storytellers and communicators.
In this episode, he speaks to storyteller Lyn Ford about her books, the dearth of gardening time and what travel brings.
You can hear the entire interview in the link ("Part One") below the transcript.
(PSST: this here is a link to a page with all the links from the #NSNStoryCon that we have covered.)
(Transcripts often have interesting grammar and structure. Enjoy.)
Voice Over: You've just entered the Storyteller.net Amphitheater.
Sean Buvala: Hey folks, Sean Buvala with the Storyteller.net Amphitheater at the National Storytelling Network's August....July...
Lyn Ford: ....July.....
Sean: See, it's so hot I can't think. July 2014 conference here in Arizona. I am talking to storyteller Lyn Ford. Hey..
Sean: How are you?
Lyn: Doing fine....hot.
Sean: Yeah, it's so good to see you.
Lyn Ford: Good to see you, too, Sean.
Sean: I don't think I have seen you, since, I mean really seen you since Hawaii. I think the last time we worked together with Jeff (Gere). So...
Lyn: Yeah, that's true.
Sean: Good. I want to talk to you about your books. The latest books, "Affrilachian Tales." Then, you have a new one coming out?
Lyn: Yes, "Beyond the Briar Patch."
Sean: These are interesting. What I said in the review of these is that it's really important to read your intro and how these stories came to be. So, talk about this collection a little bit. What are you doing with these tales? Where are they coming from? Just, kind of give us a few moments about that.
Lyn: Okay. Just about any folktale that I tell is rooted in, having heard it when I was a child. Mostly, from my dad or my grandfather or my aunties. As I got older and realized that these weren't stories that they had made up, I started just doing research on my own to find out more. I found that the stories were actually rooted in the family's oral traditions mostly from West Africa, and the Native American part of my father's and my mother's heritage, I think, with a touch of the West Indian aspects of my aunties' family blended in there. This made me feel good that I didn't have the name for my family, because people didn't seem to recognize that people of various heritages could be Appalachians, too.
Sean: Yeah, right. Exactly right.
Lyn: Yeah. So, when Frank X. Walker created the word "Affrilachian," and Frank is a poet and a professor and the first African-American Poet Laureate for the state of Kentucky this year, he created the word and I latched on to it. Because, it gave my family a recognition for who they were, not just geographically but the combination of people and the roots both in Africa and in the history of the Appalachian region.
Sean: In the first collection that is out now, do you have a favorite story in there? I mean, we all, when we put our stuff down, it is all like we all have different moments of favoriteness, but you do have any in that collection that are especially close for you?
Lyn: It is hard to pick one favorite, but the Rabbit stories, I think the Rabbit tales are the ones. My grandfather accused me of being a trickster. I can releate.
Sean: (laughs) So that, it's kind of a family note.
Lyn: (laughing) Yeah, yeah. He called me "Knothead" instead of my name.
Sean: That's good. When does the next collection come out?
Lyn: It should be September 2014, so not too long.
Sean: Is that...that is also through Parkhurst Brothers again?
Lyn: Yeah, it's through Parkhurst Brothers.
Sean: Yeah, he is putting out a lot of really interesting stuff. Really, it's a very diverse collection. I think, even if I am advocating self-publishing so much, but I am not against publishing. I really like, he has a diverse corral of people right now.
Lyn: Yeah, he seems to be supporting diverse voices, diverse ways of coming into storytelling. I really appreciate that. At the same time, there are a couple of book ideas that I may just have self-publish because I don't know that anyone would see that it was worth (traditional) publishing. I want to get it out there.
Sean: (laughs) Well, we will talk.
Lyn: Yeah, I need your advice, Sean. (laughs) Yes.
Sean: You need some of that (laughing). We'll go ahead and do that. Where are you traveling lately? What's been interesting to you travel wise?
Lyn: Well, it's too much travel in a sense that I never got my garden in this summer. But, um...
Sean: Dang it....
Sean: ....we need tomatoes...
Lyn: (laughs) Well, I don't need any more tomatoes, the neighbor.....no no...I am good with them. But, I will be going to Oklahoma City pretty soon and in a couple of weeks, I will be at East Tennessee State University doing the Storytelling Institute.
Sean: Is that the one with Doug Lipman? Or is that another project? I thought I saw...
Lyn: Doug and I...our pictures are there....but we will pass one another. Doug has the first couple of days and I have the second couple of days. So we don't really get to see one another.
Sean: (laughs) Okay, I wasn't sure if that was a new project or...I saw the pictures and I thought....passing each other is what we do a lot in this business.
Lyn: Isn't that the truth? Yeah, I would love to sit in on his and he was saying that we are almost working together, you know...
Sean: Very near that. Good. We'll listen, it is good to see you again. You know....to say hello. It is so hard sometimes, we all, we both get so much...busy.
Sean: Lyn Ford, thanks for being with us.
Lyn: Oh, it was a pleasure, Sean. Thank you.
Sean: Very good, nice to see you. Thanks.
Voice Over: You've been listening to the Storyteller.net Amphitheater. All rights reserved. No part or whole my be reproduced in any manner for any reason without the express written permission of Storyteller.net.