Find Out What the Fox Really Says!

Greetings, folks!

If you’re on the Island, I invite you to join me for an hour of musical and magical fun for the whole family. Come with me into the mischievous world of Leaves, the Red Fox, in this bardic performance and book reading of my children’s fantasy novel, Because of the Red Fox.

Shhhh … It’s a secret!

Have you seen tracks like these? Art by Jane Valencia
Have you seen tracks like these? Art by Jane Valencia

My children’s fantasy novel, Because of the Red Fox is actually a top secret guide book for tracking the enchantment that’s all around us — even in our own families and in ourselves!  Discover how to become a magical naturalist and find out what the fox really says!

When: Sunday, March 29, 2-3pm. Where: The Vashon Bookshop, 17612 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon, WA 98070

Jane Valencia is a bardic harper & storyteller and nature teacher, whose performances, classes, writings, and art help families who want to keep the magic of connection alive despite the stresses of a too-busy world.

Celtic Twiddle art by Jane Valencia (c) 2010Can’t make it to Vashon? I’ll be travelling to the San Francisco Bay and Santa Cruz, CA, as well as to Portland, OR in the coming year, and perhaps other places as well. I’d love to bring this show and other family magic offerings to your community. Please contact me if you know of a particular book shop, organization, or group — or even you yourself — who might be interested  in hosting this event. Thank you and cheers!

Come enjoy some mischief, music and magic the whole family will enjoy!
Come experience some mischief, music and magic the whole family will enjoy!

Giveaway! 3 StoryFest Family Tickets and 2 of Jane’s Books

***The Giveaway is over. Congratulations to Stacy and Sharene!

We have a Giveaway! Without further ado, here are the details.

storytelling-poster-2015-1-1Coyote Tales – the Vashon Wilderness Program‘s Annual Storytelling Festival is so much fun. Fabulous tellers and a warm, welcoming community within which to enjoy the tales. As an instructor in VWP, I can tell you that storytelling is essential to our mentoring of youth in nature, and helping to deepen their connections with the natural world, each other, and themselves. Storytelling is truly what we call a core routine, and we aim to “catch” our students’ stories as often as we offer stories of our own.

The Coyote Tales Storytelling Festival is VWP’s only live event fundraiser. VWP aims to never turn any child away due to a family’s lack of funds, and to that end, has given over $95,000 in scholarships in its eight year history. Wow!

When: Sunday, Feb. 8, 2PM. Where: At the Open Space for Arts And Community, Vashon, WA. Tickets: Advance – $40/family, $20/individual. Door: $45/family, $25/individual

If you live on the island, do consider joining us at this family friendly event. Forest Halls is a proud sponsor! And do enter our drawing.

For those of you who don’t live on the island, you can still enter the Giveaway and be part of story magic fun. I’m giving away two copies of my children’s fantasy novel Because Of The Red Fox to you!  Stories (from myth and elsewhere) thread through this tale, as do magical nature ways. Be sure to note in your comments that you are entering the drawing for the book.

 Want a Chance to win a StoryFest family ticket or a copy of my book? Here’s how!

  • Read my blog post about how We (humans) are a Story People. Comment here about how you share story in your family or a special experience of when your family shared story (in any form!).

For more chances to win, leave a separate comment each time you do the following. Note in at least one comment whether you are a Vashon Islander or not:

  1. check out the description of Coyote Mentoring on the  Vashon Wilderness Program web site and tell me what you think is most compelling to you about Coyote Mentoring.
  2. blog about a Coyote Mentoring idea or about storytelling (please leave a reference link in the comment)
  3. Sign up for the Vashon Wilderness Program’s newsletter and receive their free booklet “10 Awesome Practices to Make Nature a Natural Part of Your Family Life.”
  4. Tell me about one of the “10 Awesome Practices” you’re going to introduce to your family
  5. “Like” the Vashon Wilderness Program on Facebook
  6. On Wed. Feb. 4, at 8:30am PST, Voice Of Vashon/KVSH 101.9 FM will interview VWP’s Executive Director, Stacey Hinden. Listen to this live streaming interview with Stacey about story, nature connection and children, and more, and share something you learned or found exciting from the interview in your comment.

And here are even more chances to win!

  • Sign up for Forest Hall’s ezine, Acorn To Oak. Are you already on my mailing list? Then please share something you enjoy about my ezine (newest edition will be out by Tues. 2/3) or blog.
  • Read my blog post Magical Doors, about reading aloud to children, which is another kind of story enchantment. Share here about a book you enjoyed as a kid or that you’ve enjoyed reading to kids
  • Follow Forest Halls on Twitter and tweet this Giveaway with hashtags #foresthalls #familymagicgiveaway . (Please list your Twitter ID in the comment so we can find you)
  • Post about this Giveaway on your Facebook page

Sign ups for the Giveaway end at 11:59PM PST on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. I’ll draw the winners on Thursday, Feb. 5. There will be only one prize per family. Good luck, everyone, and thanks for entering!

***Note about the Comments capsha: Just in case it’s not clear from the instructions below, you need to click on the little images until they turn right side up.

We Are A Story People

Note: Forest Halls is hosting a Giveaway! Find out here how to enter to win a free family ticket to the Coyote Tales storytelling festival OR  a copy of my book.

A great part of what makes us human is that we tell stories. In families, with friends, and in gatherings of all kinds, we tell about our day, exchange news, share ideas, give advice sourced from our own stories or from those from others.

I’d go so far as to say that it’s essential for each one of us to tell stories–to express our experiences and to have them witnessed, responded to, and good questions asked of us. In this way, an attentive listener can tease insights and perceptions out of us. Things we didn’t even know we’d noticed may spring to mind. We find ourselves putting thoughts together in new ways, or discovering what’s true for us within that which we find ourselves speaking.

We all need to tell our stories, and we all need to listen to stories: in our families, with the children in our life, with folks who seem isolated,lonely, or have a hard time expressing themselves.

A photo from a number of years ago: In a Dragon Storyweaving Circle, Jane and her harp Snowy Owl co-create dragon tales with families in Forest Halls.
A photo from a number of years ago: In a Storyweaving Circle, Jane and her harp Snowy Owl co-create dragon tales with families in Forest Halls.

To listen to a story takes no more or less than a compassionate heart, a sense of curiosity, and attentiveness. It may not be easy sometimes, but try to listen to a story with openness rather than agenda (i.e, that of you wanting to ‘change the story’ in some way, such as want to change the teller’s mind about what they’re saying). Maybe you think or ‘know’ that they are ‘wrong’, but, unless you’ve heard the story pretty much the same way before, it’s often worth listening as if you really don’t know how the story will unfold (you probably, in some significant way, don’t).

Be curious about the terrain from which the teller is speaking. Ask a thoughtful question or two from the heart, to try to see and feel further into their landscape, through their eyes, and more deeply into their thoughts and feelings. Do this especially with your children or any child in your life. Do this with elders. Really, do this with anyone.

As a Story People in these times, we certainly do share stories of our lives and each other to one another, but it can be all too rare to hear some of the other kinds of story: the epic tales, the funny tales, the fairy tales or whatever tales that are spoken aloud and draw you into the world of myth and legend, even when the setting is of here and now.

Celtic Twiddle art by Jane Valencia (c) 2010
Celtic Twiddle art by Jane Valencia (c) 2010

I’m now talking of course of storytelling in the way we most often think of the word. A teller offering stories, and a people listening and being enfolded into the worlds of those stories. What we may forget is that culture thrives on stories of this nature. The stories are like nourishing tonics in support of the good health of a culture.

And while it is wonderful (absolutely!) to read stories, a special power and connection takes place when you experience a storyteller who can bring you–and everyone else in the room–into the tale. Much wisdom is exchanged beneath the words, in gesture, in eyes meeting, in facial expressions–in the sharing of the field of that story, in its dual place in both time and space and in timelessness.

As a storyteller myself, I have much to say on this subject, especially in relation to how story can nurture the inner spark of each child, each one of us really, and how story nourishes magic in our culture. You might want to read my recent blog post Magical Doors, about reading aloud to children (even to your teens if you can!). In that post, I speak a little more about the shared landscape that opens when families (and communities, I might add) enjoy stories or books together. In any case, rest assured that I’ll return to that topic often in future posts!

How do you share story with your family? Please post a comment here. If you are entering the Giveaway, your comment here will count as the entry on sharing story with family (the first entry listed). Just post a comment in the Giveaway that that you’ve shared here.

I look forward to hearing from you!