Appalachian Haint Tales
I am a storyteller and teaching artist. I was born into a storytelling tradition and have been telling traditional Appalachian stories all my life. My grandma and grandpa didn't have a formal education but were master storytellers. They told stories their parents and grandparents had been telling from the English/Irish and Cherokee traditions. I attended a one-room school in eastern Kentucky through eighth grade. We were all just a bunch of poor country kids. We didn't have toys to play with at recess so we played a lot of imaginative games, told stories and made up a lot of songs. I guess I was always a 'show off' and loved being in front of a bunch of people telling stories. In 2000, I co-founded SpoonWood Productions along with my son. It is an educational performing/literary arts company. Together and separately, we present storytelling, drama, musical, literary, substance abuse prevention and other artistic teaching assembly/workshops. We average over 200 performances a year with many in 1 - 3 week residency settings. We work primarily in Kentucky schools, with 4th through 12th graders. We do several festivals a year but my heart is in teaching. I graduated from Berea College with a history/teaching degree and I have just combined that with my love of storytelling. I try to give people a glimpse into an Appalachia past through my stories while entertaining them. I always tell in my natural dialect and I believe I am keeping our language alive in this way. Some of the words and euphemisms are remnants of Old English. I want to enable individuals to recognize the importance of their own and others heritages and cultures. I often tell Jack Tales (Jack Tales are stories about a trickster character named Jack. They originated on the British Isles over 900 years ago and came to this continent via our English ancestors). I also tell local ghost stories, folk tales and stories I have written myself.