Storytellers, bearers of wisdom, I need your help again

By Limor Shiponi

Here is the situation:

When I create stories I create them orally. I bother others with ideas and fragments, I talk about them, I dream them until I feel they are made to meet an audience. They continue evolving, even if I tell them for years. The point is – I never write down my stories.

As you can guess, it does happen that people who have heard my stories tell them. Yes, without permission. No, I don’t care.

There is one story in particular that gets told rather often by others. Maybe because it sounds like an urban folktale. Maybe because it is very unique. Not many people know I’ve created it and I don’t mind. What does make me sorry is listening to flattened versions of it. But that is not the reason I’m asking for your help.

Well, two days ago, someone sent me a link to a website where a version of the story appears in writing, collected from a storytellr called such and such. The website is managed by the collector. I wrote him, asking to take down the story since I don’t want my stories to appear in writing.

He was happy to hear from me and asked if he could have my version so he could post it on the website side by side with the other version for people to see the difference. I made my point again – I do not want my stories to appear in writing.

Well, the guy was so entangled with my request that he phoned. He wanted to know where he could find out the original. I told him I never write my stories. “So how can you claim rights? and what about sharing?” Sharing I have never stopped said I. I’ve never stopped someone from telling that story but I don’t want it in writing. It is a told and orally created tale, that’s my art. Storytellers who check their sources can easily find out where it comes from. This is a very small country, the story is very defined, you cannot misthink it is another.

I don’t want to write the story down. The written version, even if I type it word for word speaking to the keybord, does not read the same. I’ve tried. Writing it down only to prove it is mine is not interesting for me. I see no point in that. Yet, he will not settle for my answer. He is willing to take it off only because he knows me and respects me but the answer does not stand strog enough for him and most probably for many others.

So, what do you think about this?

4 thoughts on “Storytellers, bearers of wisdom, I need your help again”

  1. I’m intrigued Limor and would love to hear the story. Are you able to record the oral story as an audio file or would you prefer to leave it to be passed face to face, or over the telephone?

    1. Hi Shawn,
      Face to face. So when do we meet?
      I can tell you the story over the phone too but something does get lost. Recordings? I’d rather skip that option.

  2. Limor, I love your concept of the story must be told orally. It made me think of a meal. Writing down the menu with all the recipes laid out is simply not the same thing as eating the food. Okay, okay, a meal is different because food is physical. But, no, telling a story is physical, too. I conclude that you are right to insist that the form of your art is face to face.

    1. Hi Madelyn,
      You were right, I do like your comment 🙂 yes, meal and storytelling are physical and they are both about “us”, especially a family meal. A meal, just like storytelling, is prepared by someone or some people who have the skill, but without the presence of the cook, food, diners in the same place it is not the same thing. A family meal is more about us than going to a restaurant for instance.
      Lovely metaphor.

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