The Graduate Institute Blog


The Dynamics of Story Fields

Robin Moore ( has made his living for 36 years as an author, storyteller and instructor of storytelling and story creating skills. He is Program Coordinator of the Applied Storytelling Certificate Program at The Graduate Institute. As an Author, Storyteller and Graduate School Instr...
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Tellabration! When Words Are Magic

TGI is collaborating with the Connecticut Storytelling Center (CSC) to offer our 3rd annual Tellabration!, which takes place at The Institute's Bethany campus on Sunday, November 10th from 2 to 4 pm.

Tellabration! is a worldwide storytelling benefit. It creates a network of storytelling enthusiasts bonded together in spirit at the same time and on the same weekend.

Tellabration! originator J. G. Pinkerton envisioned this international event as a means of building community support for storytelling.

In 1988 the event was launched by the CSC in six locations across the state. A great success, Tellabration! extended to several other states the following year, and then, in 1990, expanded nationwide under the umbrella of the National Storytelling Network. By 1997, there were Tellabration! events on every continent but Antarctica.

The tellers at TGI's Tellabration! on November 10 include Linda Humes from the Storytelling Center of New York City (click here for a clip of one of Linda's events at the NY Public Library) as well as students and faculty of TGI's Master of Arts in Oral Traditions program.

Tellabration! is open to the public. A $15 donation will be collected at the door. Click here to pre-register and hold your spot!
1368 Hits Hosts Free E-book Downloads for Author/Storyteller Robin Moore

Congratulations to Robin Moore on the September publication of his three new e-books!

Moore is a Program Coordinator for TGI's MA in Oral Traditions program and has had a thirty-year career as a children's book author. The new releases include an instructional book on creative writing and two collections of his best-loved stories.

"I am very excited to be partnering with Amazon on these new releases," Moore says. "Within the last year, I have published fourteen books in this new digital format. All of these titles first appeared as printed books in the traditional publishing world. Now I am converting this body of work to electronic form as a way of making them accessible to readers worldwide.

"At The Graduate Institute, I feel that we are on the cutting edge of a media revolution which will combine the best of traditional storytelling with the most innovative techniques now being developed to connect authors with their readers. It is a very interesting time to be a writer!"

To Celebrate, is hosting free downloads on these weekends:

b2ap3_thumbnail_NaturalBorn-2.jpgDiscovering The Natural-Born Writer: Journeys Into The Imagination -- Sept. 21-22

Running With The Caribou: Twelve Traditional Tales from The Natural World -- Sept. 28-29

Wild Tales: Thirty Read-Aloud Stories Celebrating The Natural World -- October 5-6

To download your free ebooks, follow this link anytime during these give-away weekends: 
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Giving the Gift of Story

When I was a boy growing up in Central Pennsylvania, every summer my mother would pack up the station wagon and drive all five of us kids 100 miles south, far out into the country, where my grandparents had a cottage on the shores of Silver Lake. The summer months were an unending stream of swimming and canoeing and bare-foot lightning bug-catching, way past dark. There were also endless days and nights of storytelling. When you live on a lake, you get lots of relatives visiting, and a boy could learn a lot about the family by hanging around and listening—especially when the adults thought you weren’t.

Because the cottage was small, we kids slept in sleeping bags on army cots set up on the screened-in porch by the lake. Night after night I feel asleep to the sound of my relatives’ voices, rising and falling on the summer air, their laughter drifting like mist across the lake. 
In my mind, family vacations and the telling of family stories are intertwined so closely that you can’t have one without the other. If you feel the same way, or if this sounds good to you and you would like to start a family storytelling tradition, here are some ideas to prime the pump and get the ball rolling (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?)
Start at the Beginning
One of the best ways to get started in family tales is by telling birth stories. We kids never tired of hearing my mother tell each of us about the day we were born. My own kids loved hearing over and over about the harried trips to the hospital and the rush of relief when the new arrival came slipping and sliding out into the world. I feel that one of our jobs as parents is to keep our children’s stories for them until they are old enough to carry them on their own. And one of the most important stories you can know is the story of your own birth.
An added bonus: if you would like to publish your birth stories on the web or read those of others, visit You can enter your stories there and read the birth stories of others, recorded by category (longest labor, shortest labor, funniest, etc.) Before you know it, everyone will start chiming in with interesting versions of the big event, demonstrating once again that there is always another side of the story!
The Time of Your Life
Time is a tricky thing. Geniuses from Plato to Einstein to Miss Piggy have tried to figure it out and all come away scratching their heads. As a wise person once said: “Time is just nature’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen at once.” One way to get a handle on time is to look at the events of your life using a LifeRope. This is nothing more than a length of rope with colored pieces of ribbon or yarn marking the important events of your life. 

The idea itself is pretty simple: Beginning with your Birth Story, make a timeline on paper of the important events of your life. Lay these out on a length of rope with colored ribbons marking each event. As each person makes a LifeRope, stories will naturally come up. When you have them completed you can spread them out on the floor so that your child’s birth date falls on the spot on your rope where you marked the event of their birth (Get it?). What you will end up with is a fascinating (and very tactile) representation of your family’s life through time. For complete instructions, see my book Creating a Family Storytelling Tradition.

You can follow up the LifeRope project with a board game called Life Stories (available at This game uses decks of cards with story prompts such as, “Describe one of your best or worst teachers,” or “Tell about one of your first experiences of living away from home.” This is a great way to pass a summer night around the campfire —and hear some great family stories to boot!
Culture, Culture
Once you have explored your birth, life and family stories, you are ready to delve more deeply into your own ethnic and religious traditions. Paradoxically, the more grounded we are in the stories of our own culture, the greater our ability to live in a multicultural world and honor the stories of traditions other than our own. For a great essay on this process, try Claiming my Heritage by Doug Lipman at

Make a trip to the local library or book store and search out some read-aloud stories from the traditions you wish to explore. Reading aloud and storytelling are close cousins. Both activities can bring us closer to one another and to our ancestors. A good example is a trilogy of books I wrote on frontier women based on my own Scots-Irish family history in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. See my website for details on The Bread Sister of Sinking Creek and others in this historical fiction series:
Do you hear what I hear?
Perhaps the greatest benefit of family stories lies in the simple and powerful act of listening. When we feel deeply listened to, it is possible to heal old wounds, build bridges, and re-affirm our connections to our family. True listening begins with the willingness to see the world through the eyes of another. I believe that most family problems can be compassionately addressed, if not eliminated entirely, by effective listening. Perhaps that is the greatest gift we can give each other in these summer weeks of vacation and family reunions.
Enjoy your stories, my friends…

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TGI Presents Tellabration! A Celebration of the Oral Tradition

TGI Presents Tellabration! A Celebration of the Oral Tradition

Sunday, November 11
2 to 4 pm
171 Amity Road, Bethany, CT
Open to the public!
$15 admission fee to be collected at the door

Tellabration is a mammoth storytelling event - and that's no Tall Tale! It's a storytelling phenomenon, made up of dozens of storytelling happenings all over the world. Its purpose is to introduce adults, as well as children, to the pleasures of the oral art of storytelling.  It is one of the programs offered by The Connecticut Storytelling Center, based at Connecticut College in New London.

The theme of TGI's Tellabration is "There Are No Accidents: Celebrating Synchronicity in Everyday Life" and features several faculty and alumni of the M.A. in Oral Traditions - including Robin Moore, Lisa Worth Huber, Jane Knox, Deb Pieri, and Connie Rockman.  We hope you will join us for this afternoon of inspiring entertainment!

A full listing of over 25 Tellabration sites in Connecticut with dates and times can be found by logging onto or by calling The Connecticut Storytelling Center at 860-439-2764.

The Official Tellabration! Proclamation

In the name of storytelling
The month of November 2012
Is hereby proclaimed to be
The Worldwide Event of Storytelling
This November
Across six continents
In 40 states
And nine countries
From Sacramento to Savannah
Boise to Barcelona
West Virginia to West Indies
Hartford to TGI in Bethany
Over 300 audiences (over 25 of them in Connecticut) are gathered for
This spectacular storytelling event!
Without further delay,
In joy and anticipation...
Let the stories begin!

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Photo Credits: Maureen Edwards.
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