Sunday Share: Storytelling Week

Hopi Storyteller

My newsletter went out yesterday, so I usually do not write a post on the last Sunday of the month, but there are always exceptions.

National Storyteller Week begins today and until February 5, 2023. It’s an annual event to encourage people about the power of sharing stories and to promote storytelling.

I shared stories in my newsletter and encourage you to share stories on your posts this week or tell your children, grandchildren, or friends stories about yourself or your ancestors.

In the last two newsletters, I’ve held randomized drawings and given away two advance reader’s copies (ARCs) of The Garden of Second Chances, debuting June 6, 2023.

Here’s a poem about guess what? Storytelling:

The Storyteller Gets Her Name

My dad used to call me Eagle Eyes. I was the one to find eagles, owls, blue jays
on a dark day. He called me so until my brother was born infant and grew to boy.

Having heard my name, as younger siblings often do,
he wanted to be called Eagle Eyes too. He studied the birds’ flight, kept his

eyes to the skies for hours, and soon he knew their long names
and could correct me. Except, at sixteen, I never liked to be corrected.

But my brother showed me the work, and I had to learn to give.
Give him all I could as my elders did for me.

So I tugged on my heart to let go, as I knew he had earned Eagle Eyes
more than I ever could. And what I found instead was new room, for a new name.

I am Siwa’köl, storyteller.

And my brother, he is Eagle Eyes.

I tell his tales and mine so someday when we join the elders,
my stories may be told and his birds can take to the sky.

But for now, I will share with you my story so that you can know who you are—
and maybe you are Siwa’köl too.
By Ari Tison, Storyteller.

Do you share your ancestral stories? Link to one in the comments and share.

Thanks for reading. Be well, and have a good week.

Inspiration, poetry

Time to relax; it’s the Year of the Rabbit

Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit 2023 with lights and gold-colored Chinese lanterns, and a rabbit on the red background, the Chinese stamp means rabbit, and the vertical Chinese phrase means Year of the Rabbit.

The last lunar new year was the year of the Tiger, which advised us that the year would be full of action and impulse. I’d say the prediction hit the nail on the head.

The 2023 lunar new year is the year of the Rabbit. The year predicts a more relaxed and inwardly focused period. The rabbit reminds us to spend more time in self-reflection.

IOW: Chill Time.

I’m not making this up. This prediction is given by Jonathan H.X. Lee, a professor of Asian and Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University:

“There is a lot of possibility for prosperity and flourishing, and for peace, really,” said Lee, whose research focuses on religions and folklore. “The rabbit is a very strong symbol for peace.”

The rabbit in the Chinese zodiac also speaks to the power of empathy, giving, and receiving compassion. The word for this year is HOPE. A great word for any year.

In this poem, the author belies her father’s wish for her to be born in the year of the Rabbit. The verses hop from left to right.

Ode to Chinese Superstitions

Chinese superstition tells me it’s bad luck
         to get a haircut when I’m sick, and my hair
gets cut twice a year, because I let it grow,
         tying it into a ponytail, exposing my forehead,
looking like I’m the protagonist of an anime,
         which makes me think about my last name,
Chan, also known as the  Japanese honorific
         for someone endearing. Chan, like a friend

                                      or someone childlike. I’ve been told I sound
                             like a child when I pick up the phone, or maybe
                                      it’s my pure joy to hear from the ones I love.
                             And yes, voices are sexier than faces, so dial me,
                                      honey, let’s get a little wild tonight, as I pour
                             a glass of  bourbon and picture myself in anime—
                                      cartoon Chan starring in a slice-of-life show
                             about a girl group trying to make it, and you bet

I’d be the rambunctious one, the tomboy-
         rabble-rouser-ringleader on the drums—
the  trouble  with the exposed forehead, also
         known in East Asian culture as a symbol
of  aggression, because an exposed forehead
         puts everything out there—you’re telling
the world you’re ready for a takedown,
         and according to my father, good Chinese

                                      girls never show their foreheads, and I know
                             he wishes I were born in the Year of  the Rabbit,
                                      like my mother, the perfect woman with flawless
                             skin who never causes trouble with the boys, but
                                      no, I’m the Year of the Snake, and I always bring
                             the party, cause the trouble, or as my lover says,
                                      I’m sarcastic wit personified, and it’s boundless,
                             because I am Dorothy—pop embodied in a gingham

skirt with a puppy and a picnic basket
         filled with prosciutto and gouda and Prosecco,
but really, what is my fate? And my mother
         tells me the family fortune teller got me all
wrong, because there’s no way in hell
         I’d end up being a housewife with three
children and a breadwinner of a husband.
         But of course, the fortune teller got my brother’s

                                      fate right. It’s moments like this when I wonder
                             if I even matter because I’m a girl and not a boy.
                                      It’s moments like this when I think about my fate,
                             or how Chinese superstition tells me not to cut or wash
                                      my hair on Lunar New Year, so all my good fortune
                             won’t be snipped away. But really, what is fate?
                                      I tie my hair back and put on a short skirt, ready
                             to take over the world—forehead forever exposed.

Dorothy Chan

For 18 quick ways to relax instantly, click on the link.

Wishing you health, good fortune, and peace.