Me at the TaleSpin storytelling festival.

Me at the TaleSpin storytelling festival.

I am honored to have been invited to give six different presentations during Chattanooga’s Talespin storytelling festival. Yesterday and today I joined a parade of incredible storytellers for presentations to school groups. I would guess we’ve had around 800 kids! I haven’t had so much fun in a long time. Afterward, one boy today even asked me for an autograph! It was just about the coolest thing ever!

Tomorrow (Saturday) I will give presentations open to the community at the Creative Discovery Museum and in downtown’s Miller Plaza. To read more about this terrific community event, CLICK HERE.

During my years on the riverboats researching, writing and performing historical presentations, it was such a joy to me to become increasingly aware that at the core of most historical events is a truly great story. History is storytelling. The people, the places, the events, the impact and significance of the event, can all be woven together into a riveting tale. And if the audience is not careful, they might even learn something. 

I loved showing the kids that history can be fun. Sometimes all it takes is just the right encouragement. For me, my precious grandmother always encouraged me to write down the stories from the river. She gave me the spark to chronicle some of these tales and even to record them. I will always be thankful for the gentle way she pushed me forward. Over more than a decade on the river, that spark of hers has grown into my River History Series of audio CD recordings which range from the Civil War to Mark Twain. By the way, if you’re interested in those CDs, you can learn more about the series by CLICKING HERE.

Her inspiration also has pushed me toward larger writing projects. I am sharing with the TaleSpin audiences a taste of one of the books I am working on about the incredible first voyage of a steamboat down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Besides my talks and CD recording on this subject, I also am working on a book. This one journey, an incredible adventure story, truly changed the development of our country’s western expansion. This is also one of the presentations I will be giving as part of the Delta Queen’s learning program. I feel proud to be a part of keeping the stories of the river alive.