Tag Archives: Difficult Story

Diving Into the Dark: Crafting Stories from Difficult Moments

Thursdays, January 5, 12, 19 and February 2
7:00 PM Central (Zoom), 75-minute sessions

The troubling moments of our lives are sometimes the ones that most shape us, for good or for ill. Join Laura Packer to explore how to identify those moments, craft them into meaningful stories, and tell them effectively to your audiences.

The first three sessions (January 5, 12, 19) will be group work (excavating the moments to share, working on structure and detail, and learning to tell the story), with a concert for your friends and family on February 2. The gap between January 19 and February 2 gives participants an opportunity to work on their stories and have a one-on-one coaching session with Laura.

Taught by Laura Packer


To register:

  1. Add the number of tickets you want by clicking the ‘+’ button
  2. Click the ‘Get Tickets’ button.

The Flounder Watches Whales

by Loren Niemi – June 16, 2022

The Flounder/founder (Loren Niemi) of the American School of Storytelling just returned from the Storytellers of Canada National Conference where he taught a “Difficult Stories” Master Class with Elizabeth Ellis, a three-hour “Double Helix: Plot and Voice” workshop and was ¼ of the Saturday night concert. It was all good. The Tigh-Na-Mara resort in Parksville, BC was scenic and the folks attending the conference were excited to be able to be in the same room with their storytelling ilk again. 

One of the conversations he had was about the importance of Storytelling Toronto in creating and sustaining the community of tellers. Loren had first encountered it in 1980 when visiting Joan Bodger and Dan Yashinsky. In those days it was two second floor rooms where Alice Kane was teaching an introduction to traditional storytelling class and 1001 Storytelling Nights performances. It is still offering classes, albeit in a more accessible location. It is also producing the Toronto Storytelling Festival and a variety of other story and community related projects. And the truth be told, Storytelling Toronto’s 40 plus years of promoting the narrative arts  is a model for the American School.

What about the whales you ask? The Master Class was on Wednesday and the conference officially began Thursday night, so on Thursday afternoon, Loren, Elizabeth and Noa Baum were treated to a three-hour whale watching excursion that spotted 17 Orcas in three pods, Sea Lions and Harbor Seals (the Orca’s favorite meal). Here’s a good pic of the three of us on the boat and a not so good (close) pic of Orca fins in the water.

Tigh-Na-Mara Resort

Rivers of Voices, Ocean of Stories: Coming Together Conference 2022

May 24 – 28th, at the Tigh-na-mara resort, Parksville, British Columbia on beautiful Vancouver Island

Loren joins Elizabeth Ellis to teach a “Difficult Stories” Master Class and a workshop of the interconnected dynamic of “Plot/ Point of View” for the Storytellers of Canada’s National Conference on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, May 24-29th.

  • Loren Niemi & Elizabeth Ellis present a “Difficult Stories” Master Class on May 25
  • Loren Niemi’s “Double Helix: Plot and Voice in Narratives” workshop on May 28
  • Evening Concert with Noa Baum, Elizabeth Ellis, Loren Niemi and Rubena Sinha on May 28

Telling Difficult Stories

by Loren Niemi – June 30, 2021

John Barth (an author not much read outside of Academic enclaves these days) said: “The story of your life is not your life; it’s your story.”

I am in agreement with him on that point. The stories of my life are usually more interesting, and perhaps more meaningful, than the life that gave rise to them. I can tell over 400 stories about my life from age 5 through last week. Each of them is a mix of memory, emotion, fact and (for the sake of honesty) craft, that makes the story as Elizabeth Ellis and I often say in the Difficult Stories workshop: “truthful and artful.”

But let me elaborate on this point in relation to difficult stories in general and the Difficult Stories workshop in particular.

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