Words possess immense power. They can instill wonder and evoke emotion and when spoken, they can form connections between people.
Forming these connections is the main objective of Telling Our Stories, a storytelling event that will feature writers and storytellers from all walks of life who’ll be telling stories that are connected to the Lake of Bays region.
This year marks the first annual event and it will take place on October 2 at 12:30 p.m. at the outdoor Pavillion of the Dwight library, at 1014 Dwight Beach Rd. in Dwight.
Telling Our Stories was created by Monique Charlton, owner and facilitator of Write for Wellness, which offers online and in-person workshops, coaching, and guidance for writers, with a keen focus on the theme of nature and connecting people through the power of words.
“I think we’re starving for connection, because of the pandemic in particular, but even without that, we need more of it,” Charlton says. “Politics have been very divisive, we need something that connects us again because at the end of the day we’re all people.”
Charlton approached Cathy Fairbairn, the CEO of the Dwight library, with the idea for this event in the spring of 2020. She thought the library would be a fitting partner and a great venue for such an event. Fairbairn was on board with the idea from the outset.
“What a great opportunity to support writers in our local community, we’re all about supporting local artists and people,” Fairbairn says. “The library is the perfect partner because if you asked me to sum up the library in one word, it would be ‘connection.’”
Charlton was eager to host the event but decided to postpone it until COVID-19 restrictions allowed in-person gatherings, as she felt it would not have the same impact if it were done remotely. She emphasizes the profound importance of storytelling and the profound effect stories can have on both the writer and listener alike when they are verbalized.
“The power of storytelling is so important, that’s how knowledge is passed on, that’s how we learn about others and that we’re not so different,” she says. “If I take a story I’ve written and I read it out loud, I may find that I’m having an emotional reaction to something that I’ve written that I didn’t think I would have, and watching someone else express [their story]offers more of an opportunity to make a connection. There is power in our words when we speak them out loud. That’s what makes us human, I think, and to be able to see, to feel that connection with other people through spoken word is so valuable.”
Charlton gathered inspiration from two main sources for the event: one being a storytelling event called “Common Ground,” which happens in Kenora, Ontario, the town that she grew up in, and the other, “The Moth” (themoth.org), an American organization that encourages storytellers and offers help and advice on writing.
The event is free of charge but attendees and participants are asked to make a cash donation to the library expansion fund, a project that will create an additional 1800 sq. ft. of multifunctional space for the library’s services and programs such as business hubs and online education.
“My opinion of libraries is that they listen to their community and whatever the community needs, that’s what they provide,” Fairbairn says. “Libraries are changing and evolving with the times; they’re not so much about the page anymore, they’re about community.”
The event will be recorded and posted on the Lake of Bays Library’s Youtube channel, where they archive all of their online programs.
Anyone is free to sign up for the event, whether or not they are a member of the Lake of Bays community, as long as their story has a connection to the area. The registration deadline for the event is August 31st and the story’s outline must be included with the registration. The story must be no more than 20 minutes long (approximately 2500 words) and must be non-fiction; a real-life account of something that has happened to the storyteller or someone they know. Help is available for those participants that need assistance in creating, developing, and/or writing their stories.
For complete information and a registration form, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 705-635-3319.
For any questions and assistance for participants, email email@example.com
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