Rumors of storytelling’s death, I am afraid, have been greatly exaggerated—and grossly premature. It is inherent in humanity’s genes to relay our history, morals, and beliefs via tales. Hopes, dreams—even fears and warnings—all are passed from generation to generation. So long as we communicate, storytelling will persist.
This was never more evident than on Friday’s Writer’s Track panels “Tell it Like it is!” and “Storytelling…Is it a Lost Art?” While all present on both panels—James Moore, Katherine Kurtz, Sandra Anglin Chastain, Stacy Hague-Hill, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Eric Griffin, Chesya Burke, Cherie Priest, Raven Hart, and Tiffany Trent—contributed pertinent insights and sound counsel, it was the grand-masters of storytelling themselves who led by example.
Impassioned men, serious in mien yet eager to share with their audiences, both Peter Beagle and Gene Wolfe were large presences, definitely telling it like it is and aptly demonstrating that storytelling is not a lost art. Listening to professional tale tellers such as these was simultaneously thrilling and intimidating. They imparted their lessons firmly, deliberately, enthralling listeners with their words and engaging each person with their performances. Their quiet anecdotes evoked tears and laughter, surprise and illumination and commiseration.
Neither author was embarrassed by displays of emotion and affection, and the banter between them at panel’s conclusion was completely delightful. Their polite willingness to sign autographs and stand around talking was completely within character. Capping it all personally was posing with both men for pictures. I highly recommend attending any panel either author attends—for example “Q & A: Gene Wolfe” 11:30AM Sunday.