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  • Writer's pictureSusan Bravo

MO-TELL Member of the Month: Susan Bravo

My journey in becoming a storyteller started in April 1996. A good friend called to tell me she was going to be “nearby”a week later and asked if I could I meet her. “Nearby” turned out to be in Hannibal, Missouri. My friend was attending a “Storytelling” gathering called “By Word of Mouth.”

Though I knew about reading stories to children, I had never heard of “Storytelling”. That is when I met Gladys Coggswell and Joyce Slater, who were to become integral in my storytelling journey. I had no plans to take part in the telling of stories so you can imagine my shock when Gladys hugged me and her first words were “What are you going to tell and when?” Along with Gladys, Joyce encouraged me to tell my first story.

That same spring I had an opportunity to go to the Art Institute of Chicago for their teacher’s program “Looking to Write, Writing to See—Stories in Art.” After that I took up writing stories and most of what I tell I have written.

One of my favorite stories that I wrote and tell is called “The Loose Goose”. It came about because of a sabbatical leave I took to Peru, South America. I discovered that because of storytelling I get more pleasure out of traveling. I find that I have a much greater interest in the study of the legends and cultures of the places I’ve visited. In visiting Peru, I found a whole new source of stories in the study of Peruvian legends. I have told stories in Peru three times speaking Spanish. I like almost every kind of story, except horror, murder, and killing. I especially love stories about animals, inanimate things, and personal stories.

I know it sounds trite but writing and telling stories really changed my life. Learning about this thing called “Storytelling” occurred when I really needed to find a good creative outlet as the years before had been filled with serious frustrations, both professional and personal. Professionally, I believe it made me a better teacher and that was when I discovered writing. Not just jotting notes, but taking those notes and filling them out with stories. Personally, it helped me understand the stories of my family.

Because my stories cover many places, ideas, and beliefs I look to a world with more peace in it. I hope to continue to learn about other places and meet storytellers from other countries. I have a dream that, in the name of peace, perhaps one day I will get to travel with a group of storytellers to another country to hear their stories and to share my stories with them.

My e-mail is I ask anyone using it let me know in the subject area who and where they got it from.

My snail mail is Susan A. Bravo, 16644 School Street, South Holland, Il 60473.

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