Storytelling Down South

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Marla Cartwright of the CTL.]

As anyone who’s talked to me for more than five minutes quickly figures out, I’m from the South. (It’s usually my “bless your heart” and “ya’ll” that give it away). And, like most Southerners, I love a good story. In the summer time, my family loves to sit out on the porch and tell a good ghost story in the fading light of the day. Although, I have to say, I’m usually better at listening than telling a story, since I invariably leave out a key detail . . . LOL.

I’d say enjoying a good story is part of our cultural heritage; we tell funny stories about loved ones, regional stories about settlers and place names and ghost stories that usually have a nugget of wisdom (if not truth). In fact, one of the nation’s largest and most recognized storytelling festival is literally just down the road from me:

International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN October 1-3, 2010

If you think about it, many of the most popular country music hits tell a good story. Must be something in the water.

But you don’t have to be from here to love stories. In fact, there are dozens of storytelling festivals all over the country. If you’d like to locate a Storytelling Festival in your state (or around the world), check out this directory. Go to tell a story, listen to a story or just enjoy.



One response to “Storytelling Down South

  1. Terri Tempelmeyer

    Marla – I really liked your article! I’m a Southerner as well, and I absolutely love good storytelling – it’s one of my strong interests.

    When I travel, my “souvenir” is not a T-shirt or a coffee mug, but a book that I will “scrounge around” for, recommended by “locals”, full of folktales from that area. These are among some of my favorite things to read.

    I think it tells a lot about the people of an area – what they emphasize in their “around the campfire” stories. I just finished a collection of stories from rural Vermont that was wonderful – including the story of Phineas Gage!

    Thanks so much for sharing this! And I’d appreciate you sharing your good folktale information with me! My email is Maybe we can do something with our interest in folktales?

    Thanks Marla!

    Terri Tempelmeyer

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