Ottawa StoryTellers Newsletter Telling Times
January 2013


In this issue:

Message from the President

Note from the editor

Reviews and Memories
Coming Events
SC-CC Conference
NAC Fourth Stage 4S
photo of Dean that links to his webpage
Billings Estate
Story Swap
Tea Party
News - Reviews (and gossip)
Feedback at the Swap
Tips and Information
Dean Verger

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 Ottawa –
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 telling. 

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 – stay tuned!

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 minds.

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 2013.

Sherri Yazdani


From your newsletter editor

I 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.

Dean Verger

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