Storyteller Jay O'Callahan - Home Page

Storytelling and Writing

In this workshop, participants have a chance to develop stories orally and through writing. We work with character, place, imagery and dialogue. It's very encouraging to work in silence together and then hear appreciations about your writing. The same is true for "writing in the air," telling memories to another person in the workshop. These workshops manage to be both creative and playful, and leave the participants refreshed.

 

Creativity Through Storytelling

Jay works with participants on imagery, metaphor, the use of body, voice, sound and movement. This workshop is open to everybody, professional storytellers and people who have never told a story. You come to the workshop with a beginner's mind, and learn from one another. Jay will tell some stories that use exercises to get participants telling very simple memories. The workshop is both playful and practical.

 

How to Build a Story

Jay tells one of his long stories, then we talk about that story and the process of creating it. When creating a story, it's crucial to have an image, character or situation that draws you intensely. After that you need commitment and support.

 

A Workshop for Lawyers

After lawyers gather the facts they are confronted with the job of the artist. They must shape those facts. Like any artist, the lawyer must choose details and images, and have a vision of what he or she wants to communicate.

 

Jay will tell a story so participants see the full range of dramatic possibilities. Secondly, participants will bring a case they're working on or have worked on in the past. The idea of the workshop is to identify participants' strengths and build on those.

 

One lawyer from the Cook County Public Defenders office said that the workshop was most helpful. He said of the case he presented after my workshop, "My colleagues at the Public Defender's Office and my rivals from the State's Attorney's Office lauded my performance as one of the most dramatic, powerful performances they had ever seen."

 

Writing Workshop

For two years, Jay has conducted an ongoing writing workshop and is now offering weekend writing workshops. In a relaxed atmosphere, people write on the spot. There is something very powerful in writing in a group and then hearing one another read the material. It's inspiring. Participants in Jay's workshop are working on novels, short stories, and poems. These are people who wanted to write all of their life, and now they're doing it. The writing workshop is a place to start.

 

Dream Your Dreams

In this workshop, we'll make use of that marvelous tool, memory. We'll reflect on times in our lives when things have been easy, flowing and creative. This workshop is a chance to give shape to your dream. In the workshop, you'll have listeners who will help you clarify your dream. Once the dream is clear the next step is commitment. We'll talk about how you can get the support for your commitment once you leave the workshop.

 

Speaking in Public

What is helpful in speaking in public is knowing your strengths and having confidence in what you have to say. Part of the trick is to have our nervous energy go into what you have to say. Another important element in any speech, is using story to engage the imagination of the listener. The most important thing is being present. Audiences can feel the energy of those who are fully present to them. We'll work on all these elements.

 

Place

A workshop exploring the power and mystery of place. Every story is set in a place and the listener or reader needs a clear sense of that place. This workshop explores the sounds, smells, texture, sights and tastes of place. There will be exercises to help participants recall the power of place in childhood.

 

Character

Stories are primarily about characters whether they be Jack of the Jack Tales or King Lear. In storytelling we bring character alive with tone, gesture, voice, dialogue and action. In the Character workshop, you explore characters in your childhood and discover what makes the description sharp and lively. Jay will tell scenes from some of his stories and we'll examine what makes those characters come alive.

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