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A Storyteller's Notebook: February 2018

Image from One Billion Rising 2017 courtesy of Wildstar Beaumont

This Month Featuring: THE IMPORTANCE OF STORIES

"Where in the heck have you been, Caledonia?"  A good question, as I celebrate the one year anniversary of this column, having not posted since October, it seems a rather short-sheeted with several posts missing.  But guilt and a commitment to stories dictates that I pick up the wand where it languished, and carry on.

That's the down side of being a storyteller and a producer of storytelling events.  You might recall that in my last column (October 2017 "GOT GHOST STORY?") was brimming with all sorts of events as the "High Story Season" (September - March) was in full swing.  So that's where I have been.  I have been up to my neck in stories: from the late October blitz of ghostly tales, through the five incredible weeks of The Dickens Project. I even intended to write about a few of them, but in the end I was too busy doing them to write about them.

But here we are, back in February where this all began a year ago, and it's time to get back on track.  So let's begin!

My fundamental belief is that stories are crucially important - intrinsically a part of our lives: from a first cup of coffee, to the last lingering wish before sleep where stories continue to weave themselves into our imagination.  We are all living our own story every single day, and by engaging stories we allow ourselves to gain understanding, to express important thoughts, and to dream.  

Image courtesy of Wildstar Beaumont

If that's true, what does it mean to suppress a story?  Why would you do that? What kind of story should not be told? Any story that comes from a genuine place, a truth - whether it aligns with your own or not - deserves telling.  Even if it is to an audience of one. By getting stories out in the air, we can better examine them, understand them, and perhaps create new tales for the future with deliberation and intent.  That's what learning and growing are all about.  This month I am honored to feature an event that is all about bringing stories to the air that have not been allowed their fundamental right to breathe: One Billion Rising.

One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history. The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.

One Billion Rising in SL (OBR SL) has followed this ground breaking action with the sort of engagement that virtual worlds do best. It breaks down barriers of proximity, allowing a forum for visual and personal expression, supporting the vision of a world where oppression does not block truth, and all stories may be told.

OBR SL does this in a number of ways, and I encourage you to explore their website at https://onebillionrisingsl.wordpress.com/ to check the schedule of events as they emerge for One Billion Rising in Second Life 2018 - Wednesday, February 14th.

Here are a few highlights:

Poetry at OBR SL: Wednesday, February 14th from 2-5pm slt

Combining an impressive line up of poets, as well as opportunities for open mic participation, Adele Ward/Jilly Kidd hosts this afternoon of poetry. 

Featured presenters include: Joy Benehil, Jolie Carter, Medora Chevalier, Shyla the Super Gecko, Amy Inawe, Aoife Lorefield, Talkwithmarie 'Red', Dubhna Rhiadra, Morgue McMillan-Shoreland, with more being confirmed daily.  If you are interested in presenting, please contact Adele Ward/Jilly Kidd and specify in which hour you would be interested in presenting. All forms of writing are welcome with a limit of 5 or 10 minutes depending on the number of people participating each hour. The event is in voice but people can ask for somebody else to read for them, if they wish.

The #MeToo Forest - share your story now!

One of the ways that OBR SL shares its message is through creative and impactful art installations.  This year the #MeTooForest honors the #MeToo movement that has allowed so many women to finally tell their stories, while also providing an open invitation to all to share their stories, messages, and poems. These will be attached to the trees so that as visitors can read them as they explore this quiet and beautiful space, filled with important messages of hope, strength, and the necessity for lasting change.

To make your contribution to for The #MeTooForest, use the form on the OBR SL website.

Why I'm Rising - online

Another opportunity to share your story and show your support for One Billion Rising can be found under the "Why I'm Rising" tab.  There you can find the stories of others, and read why they support OBR.  It is a moving page full of love, frustration, anger and determination.  You don't have to be one of the victims of violence against women to realize that many women's daily lives are full of (quoting Saffia Widdershin's post) " petty daily humiliations that women are subjected to because they are women."  OBR is not just about beatings and threats.  It is about a protracted pattern of accepted behavior that demeans, degrades, and ultimately silences - a pattern that must end. While this page appears to be part of Previous OBR Events, it also appears that you can still contribute to this page through the online form. Why are You Rising?

Image from One Billion Rising 2017 courtesy of Wildstar Beaumont

Next month: Seanchai Library celebrates 10 years of stories presented live in Second Life.

Know of a cool spoken word venue or project?  Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.

This Month's Quote:  “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~ Maya Angelou

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