Addicted to PST

Leigh Hancock Storytelling Blog Leave a Comment

Leigh Hancock of Portland Story Theater

Photo Credit: Mike Bodine | Leigh Hancock

A year ago, completely entranced by the story a friend told on stage through Portland Story Theater, I signed up for their Urban Tellers workshop. The experience changed my life.

Although I had no theater background, I had lots of experience telling stories: as a child brought up in a Southern story-telling family; as a fiction writer (and OK, as a grant writer, too); as a college instructor of writing and literature. What I learned from Lynne and Lawrence brought all these together in a new and truly transformative way.

I decided to work on a story about wrecking as car as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Africa some 30 years ago. It was a story I had told many times, but through the gentle inquiry and utterly safe environment that PST provides, I finally got to the heart of the story. I finally understood what it was all about. Not adventure, not travel, not even racism and discrimination, as I had always thought. No, this story was about my restlessness, my forty-year habit of feeling like no matter where I was or what I was doing, it wasn’t the right place to be. There was always something better, richer, more worthwhile that I could or should be doing. How exhausting, to live like that!

I’d love to say that my one storytelling experience completely resolved that issue—but that’s not how life—or my life, anyway—works. But it did give me insight. And it also gave me a true passion for this ancient art form. I have gone on to tell three more stories with PST, and a couple of stories at local venues in the small rural town where I live. In other word, I’m hooked on storytelling…and a lifelong fan of the magic Lynne and Lawrence create!

You can watch my first story with PDX Story Theater on YouTube:

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