Have you ever stepped over a threshold, into a new beginning? Did you act with clear intent, or accidentally, perhaps even by mistake, only realizing you had passed into new territory when you looked back?
Storytellers Eric Foxman, Wink Harner, Janet Liu and Chuck McConnell consider such passages in their own lives and in the lives of others – both real and imagined — in “Thresholds and Passageways,” the Portland Storytellers Guild monthly show, Saturday evening, April 4 at the Clinton Street Theater.
Wink Harner began training as a multilingual stckoryteller with the South Mountain College Storytelling Institute. Off stage she has “spent several lifetimes of careers” as a foreign language professor, translator, interpreter and typesetter as well as a manager of disability services and a developer and trainer of assistive technology programs in higher education. She has told stories in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English “with some Quechua and Nahuatl thrown in.”
Janet Liu grew up in Taiwan and immigrated to America with her family when she was a child. She has lived with perspectives from two different cultures. She wants to share her personal stories, especially her Chinese-American stories; to help nurture understanding of the Chinese culture. She is retired and enjoys playing the piano, storytelling, and volunteering in her community.
Chuck McConnell credits his penchant for storytelling to genetics. I grew up in a family of talkers,” he says. In 1914, his father (a second grader at the time) was given an award for “excellent performance in the oral presentation of stories.” His mother, a champion debater in high school, went on to become a children’s librarian. Before settling in Portland in 2010, most of his storytelling was as a pledge drive pitchman on public TV stations where he harangued audiences in 12 states.
Eric Foxman would rather be telling or listening to stories than just about anything — with one notable exception. Over many years, he has learned that stories feed the soul with a delight and satisfaction only equaled by the slow flavorful enjoyment of a mouthful of melting dark chocolate that has gone through a long process of “conching.” intense mixing, agitating, and aerating in its heated liquid form. Eric has learned that stories, too, need “conching” to be told to best effect.