A Discussion Group of the National Storytelling Network

Story Circles
Children at the Well

Tell Me a Story about World Peace, Boulder, CO

Originally published in The Daily Camera, November 18, 2006.

By Jenn Fields

The world is in chaos, says Sydney Solis, but peace begins within.

"Fighting is going to create more war," said Solis, one of the professional storytellers who will spin a yarn at the third World Peace Interfaith Storytelling Gathering today at the Boulder Public Library. But an alternative dialogue, like storytelling, can help people see their similarities rather than their differences, she said.

The gathering, which is part of the National Storytelling Network's Tellabration, will feature a variety of tales, from Zuni myth to Jewish legend, by nine storytellers.

Solis plans to tell a Hindu story about a young girl who can turn herself into a flowering tree. It's a healing story, one of many universal messages in stories.

"It's very global," Solis said. "You have a flood story in Christianity, but you have one in Islam, too, and the Mayans have a flood myth."

Solis thinks she's always been a storyteller, even though she has only recently done it professionally. Her mother was a writer, and her father survived a Japanese concentration camp, so she grew up hearing many stories. Quite a few were about how terrible war is.

Her father was also a closet minister, she said, and he had tons of books on religion. "All these different religions are saying the same thing," he used to say.

"Story calls forth many things in us, and one of the things it calls forth is universality," said Susan Kaplan, a storyteller from Denver.

Kaplan is Jewish, but today she'll tell an ancient Palestinian tale, "The Woman Whose Hands Were Cut Off," from "Speak Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folk Tales."

"It helps me in my own perspective of the world, and hopefully I can give other people hope in learning how to build bridges with other cultures and religions," she said.

There is a demand for multicultural and interfaith stories right now, Kaplan said, and she believes it's because society is fragmented.

"If you can tell a story that people can relate to on a different level, it helps strip away the politics," said Colleen Jayne, who will tell a story by Myrtle Fillmore, co-founder of Unity. "You're relating to a person as a person, not as an ideology."

Solis also hopes that by listening to and telling stories, people will listen to each other more and not be so quick to judge.

"I think deep listening is going to bring about deep compassion and peace with ourselves and throughout the world," Solis said.


WHAT: Tellabration! Third World Peace Interfaith Storytelling Gathering, From the Global to the Personal

WHEN: 2-4 p.m. today

WHERE: Canyon Auditorium, Boulder Public Library, 1000 Canyon Blvd.

COST: Free and open to the public.

ETC.: The Tellebration kicks off the Boulder Public Library's Storyteller Series. For the full schedule, go to www.boulder.lib.co.us/calendar/storytelling.html