Saturday, November 30, 2013

Steaming Up Storytelling: Part 4


Steam Punk is an alternative reality where society and technology made a different turn than the one that produced the 20th century.  In our reality the analog gave way to digital, gas and electric to nuclear, and the abacus to the computer.   The gears, clockworks, and industrial machines become something of beauty.  The dirigible is dominant along with steam, gas, and electricity; a portable phone created by different technological advances, a ray gun inspired by Tesla’s daring electromagnetic experiments, or chemical additives to enhance the power of the steam engine.

One way Steam Punk people portray this smash-up of elements is shown in the way the corset moves from being under the garment to worn outside the garment. It therefore exemplifies not the restraint, control, and tempering of women’s mobility as it did in Victorian times but becomes a symbol of liberation and female power.   Some even attack it as being gender specific and men might also don the corset (men actually did wear corsets for health reasons).  Another way may be the mixing of cultural elements – what if the Chinese had reached North America and established a trading center in the area of California?  Pirates might fly the skies in airships carrying an assortment of men and women – Arab warriors, African Bandits, English dockworkers or soldiers.  Alternatively, a mixture of all three!

 Add to this the gadgets and contraptions of steam technology:

 Goggles may be because of all that airship flight in the open cockpits or it may be because of the recent natural calamities, or as Cherie Priest explained in her novel, Boneshaker, it protects from a poisonous gas.

 Clocks, gears, etc. symbolize craftsmanship in a time when the ordinary person could still make things, tinker with things, and create the extraordinary as ‘armchair amateurs.’   The sturdy materials, the polished work seen in the smallest workings of a watch or the gigantic functions of steel, bronze, or iron, all reflect that desire to return to a more anchored reality,

 --Marilyn A. Hudson

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

December Meeting

The monthly meeting of the OKC Tellers, a story sharing and learning guild, will be Monday, Dec. 2nd, 2013 at 7 p.m..

A short mini-skill builder will be followed by drawing names out of the "hat" for opportunities to share stories on cold, winter, holidays, and related themes. So craft your tales now and join us on the 2nd.

If the weather is inclement (snowy or icy) we will cancel.

Meetings are open to the public and plenty of free parking at 1401 NW 25th (NW 25th and Classen) at Wesley UMC.  Use the west entrance and parking lot (behind the church).


Sat. February 8th, 2014 OKC Tellers will sponsor a workshop event addressing basic storytelling skills and an advanced session on stage presence and technology.

Friday, November 22, 2013


We are "ON" for this evening.  Streets are mostly dry and any storms due to arrive after midnight to the west or later on Sunday.

So the night will be cold but come warm your hearts and stir the imagination as we join to celebrate storytelling in a "TELLABRATION!(r)"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stories Will Light Up the Night!

Let me tell you about.... the OKC Tellabration event!!

Contact: /405-307-0962
K.Thurman, Contemporary
native American Storyteller /
Members of The Territory Tellers, the statewide story arts organization, the OKC Tellers (a new Oklahoma City story guild) and Wesley United Methodist Church will combine to present an evening of the storytelling art this November. The date is Saturday, November 23, 2013 from 6 to 8 p.m.  A special guided tour will be available from 5:00 to 5:40 p.m. followed by the story concert at 6 p.m. Tickets will be $10 per person and available by reservation or at the door.
The internationally notable event, "Tellabration", will be celebrated in numerous locations to highlight the rich tradition and ever-new innovation of the art of oral story sharing. Although produced locally, the event is in association with the National Storytelling Network in Jonesborough, Tennessee.  
The OKC Tellers  is a new Oklahoma City story guild that will begin meeting at the church in late summer. Storytellers will include numerous professional talents from across Oklahoma and will include Molly Lemmons (Mustang), Salley Riffey (Oklahoma City), Kathryn Thurman (Del City) and Chester Weems (Yukon).  M.C. will be author storyteller Marilyn A. Hudson (Norman).
Reserved tickets will be available for the event and will be available at the door.  
Funds raised will go to help with the historic preservation of the church, which was founded in 1910. The Lovely Gothic English style stone sanctuary dates to 1928.  The church sits beside the historic Route 66 as it loops through the area of the city designated "Uptown" and the “Asian District”. The church is located at NW 25th and Douglas Avenue, just north of NW 23 Street.  The current pure English Gothic architecture design sanctuary and stained glass art was dedicated in 1928.
To purchase tickets, donate to the fund, or reserve your tickets for the event, or information about the story guild, email event coordinator Marilyn A. Hudson,  
Hudson can also be contacted to do phone interviews with local radio stations. 
If emailing put on the subject line: “OKC Tellabration.” The church is located at 1401 NW 25 (corner of NW 25 and Classen Blvd.) and the office phone is (405) 525-3521.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Steaming Up Storytelling: Symbols and Stories, Part 3


As with any custom experience, you must wear the outfit and not let the outfit wear you - in other words one is mere dress-up and the other apparel. Anything can become caricature and meaningless unless you establish its significance for the character.

Goggles (usually brass but sometimes from other metals. More aviator style than swimming or sports, the goggle reflects the daring open-cockpit, bi-plane, balloon, and airship dare devils.

A parasol serves the purpose of reflecting a more genteel time but also a real usefulness as a skin protection device. So too an appropriate walking stick. The epitome of classic Victorian and Edwardian adventure was the Pith Helmet.  Gears, clockwork, timepieces can symbolize steam age technologies.  

Those ideas in mind - explore some of the written works of the genre and get a 'feel' for the nature of steampunk and creative universe. 

Steam Adventuring Inspirations - Bibliography:


Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure by Jim Teal


Amazing Traveler, Isabella Bird: The Biography of a Victorian Adventurer by Evelyn Kaye.


The Desert and the Sown: The Syrian Adventures of the Female Lawrence of Arabia by Gertrude Bell.


Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi (graphic novel)

The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby

The Death Collector by Justin Richards

Doctor Illuminatus by Martin Booth

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by C. Wooding

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade

“The Hungry City Chronicles” by Philip Reeve

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The List of 7 by Mark Frost

Nick of Time by Ted Bell

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Teen Readers and Adults –

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

The Difference Engine by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling

Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore

The Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann, Paul Morrissey,& Janet Lee

The Windup Girl  by Paolo Bacigalupi



Saturday, November 2, 2013

Steaming Up Storytelling: Connecting with Steampunk, Part 2

Sources for suitable stories:
Classic tales:
Jules Verne
Mark Twain'
Edgar Allan Poe
Arthur Conan Doyle
Bram Stoker
Oscar Wilde
H.G. Wells

General -
Victorian Literature
Victorian literature and pre-Victorian written by womenVictorian literary themes

Recent Inspirations:
Graphic novels

Movies: (Wild, Wild West; League of extraordinary Gentleman; The Time Machine; Howl's Moving Castle; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Sherlock Holmes (2009):9; Sleepy Hollow; Hellboy; Van Helsing; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; The Prestige; The Golden Compass; The Brothers Grimm; etc. )

*Here is a list of books, films, and television shows.

Performance Values:

Costume: period or cultural pieces, perhaps juxtaposed with unique or arcane 'gadgets'.  Props can be useful but should be used only with much practice: the umbrella, the cane, the ladies hand bag (a drawstring affair), a "ray gun", or apparatus, etc.

Language: Spiced with the formal language of the Victorian era, delivered in a more precise manner, and utilizing larger more diverse vocabulary.  Too heavy an accent will be defeating to the ease of the audience to actually understand your story.  Too modern a style or vocabulary will negate the suspension of reality required to place the story and the teller in an alternate reality.

Biases: Some of the biases may include presuming audience has a wider knowledge of the literature,  history, time, or customs of the time period.  Another bias can be too narrow an understanding of steam punk as English, European, etc.  Steam punk is a global movement which easily adapts and meshes diverse styles and cultures in the new reality of the steam punk world.

Transition: Current storytellers can ease into steam punk if they have told stories of the old west, of history, of adventurers, of travel, of invention and discovery or human interest tales.   Classic myths and legends can have their essence 're-cast' in a new suit of steam punk - if the teller firmly understands the nuances, diversity,  and motivations found in steam punk.

Sub-categories of steam punk include these groups:

BoilerPunk -blue collar industrial age workers; opposite to aristocratic steampunk
ClockPunk- emphasizing the technologies which augment and replace steam
DieselPunk - A "heresy" where diesel fuel and nuclear power take the place of steam
GaslightRomance - A British term; American steam punk is considered by some to actually be Gaslight romance or fantasy
MannersPunk - Broader category of stories and works which may or may not be steampunk but which focus on hierarchy in society, some emergent technologies, and involve parties, mansions, and the more formal and civilized aspects of society.
RaygunGothic - A more sci-fiction approach with broad application; could also be called Raygun Melodrama.
StitchPunk - A reflection of the crafts, handson, inventing, tinkering, and do-it-yourself elements in steam punk.
---The SteamPunk Bible (2011), pg. 54-55

Friday, November 1, 2013

Other Tellabration Events Around the State

November is the time for 'Tellabration' (tm), a evening of storytelling celebrated around the globe.  Catch one near you this fall in Oklahoma!!

Nov. 16 /ROMP Tellabration
Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry, Locust Grove
Stories, poetry, and more at the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry. See the ROMP website for more information or contact Shaun Perkins via The Territory Tellers webpage.

Nov. 19 /WayWord Tellers Tellabration
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Choctaw Library
For more information, contact Susie Beasley.

Nov. 23 /Apache Tellabration
Clark-Hobert Community Building
7:00 p.m.
Contact Steve Kardaleff for more information.

Nov. 23 /Old Angus Barn Tellabration
Old Angus Barn Event & Cultural Center, Wolf
6:00 p.m.
Storytelling around a fire pit with refreshments. For more information, email Jeanette Harjo or call 405-398-4310.

Nov. 23 / OKC TELLERS (Oklahoma Association of Storytellers) Tellabration
Wesley United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City
6:00-8:30 p.m.
Admission fees ($10 per person) from this storytelling event fund the preservation of the historic church. Contact Marilyn A. Hudson for info or call 405-307-0962.

For more information and updates visit