Message from the President - January 2013
Dear Ottawa Storytellers Members,
What a tremendous few months it has been since our last
newsletter! The fall was a wonderfully exciting time for the
Ottawa StoryTellers as we held yet another successful festival.
The line-up was thrilling, bringing many of the best at their craft to
the stories and music took us from Newfoundland to the Canadian north,
to a village in Africa, to a Los Angeles grocery store where we held at
gunpoint! St. Brigid’s was abuzz with new audience members coming in to
enjoy the stories, and development workshops for our own tellers. I
would like to send a very special THANK YOU to the Festival Chair Pat Holloway, the Festival Committee and to Caitlyn for all their work in making the Festival all that it was.
Fall also saw the launch of the Historical Stories Project. Two
panel discussions were held, examining how to undertake historical
research and how to craft that material into a compelling story.
The panellists informed and inspired. The coming months will see
the project move forward as tellers begin working on crafting their own
This past fall was also busy for the Board of Directors. In
addition to our monthly meetings, we held an all day retreat in October
together with the Committee chairs, where we consulted on the draft
vision statement for the next five years, as well as a modified
organizational structure. In February the final decisions will be
made regarding implementing our new direction over the coming months –
The Board has also been considering some broader issues, such as the
functioning of OST’s Gig Group, and the question of a policy to guide
the development of new venues and programming. We were saddened
to learn that Collected Works would be closing its doors this
winter. And while it is always exciting to consider a new venue
or series, we are ever reminded that OST runs on volunteer power.
We treasure our volunteers and our tellers, and feel a weighty
responsibility to ensure that we don’t overstretch our limited
resources. Balancing our desire to grow new audiences and produce
more quality programming with our need to ensure our initiatives are
sustainable in the long term is a challenge at the forefront of our
Another broad issue the Board is working to understand and harmonize is
the compensation offered to tellers who perform in each of our various
programs. There is a feeling that the compensation offered may be
inconsistent from program to program, or unfair in its recognition of
tellers but not of directors. A new Committee has been struck to
examine this issue and bring recommendations to the board.
This will be my last newsletter as president as the term is almost up!
It’s been a great year. I wish you all a wonderful, story-filled
From your newsletter editor
am now walking on a new hip. When anyone asks what I got for Christmas
I can say that eventually I will be able to walk normally again. And
therein lies a story. I used to walk my dogs for at least an hour and a
half each day. Rain or snow, hot or cold, we would wander from home
through the Arboretum, Ottawa's amazing open air tree museum. I would
smell the water from the lake, watch the wildlife, from the ubiquitous
squirrels to the occasional snapping turtle, herons wading along the
shoreline, red tailed hawks gliding on the air, great horned owls
sitting majestically atop power poles, a beaver trying to get past the
locks, swallows swooping above a pond. But then, over a five year period,
my walks diminished, until my leg would seize up after walking a mere
kilometre. Then Ruth told me to talk to my doctor. This led me to
surgery at the Montfort in December. And my recovery was almost immediate. I
was up and walking, on the second day. Two nurses flanking me. I walked
farther and faster than the 80 year olds. The nurses cut my walk short
(maybe 20 yards), and had me sit in a chair. Oh, I was so proud of
myself. My competitive nature feeding into my sense of accomplishment.
Then I passed out.
Yep, it is so good to be back at the keyboard, compiling this
issue of the Telling Times. As always, this newsletter is the work of
many minds, experiences, and hands. Thank-you for sharing, thank-you
for reading. And I look forward to your comments.