In the Moment: Jessica Robinson on Better Said Than Done at ‘Fall for the Book’ on September 5th-30th

What can be more exhilarating and authentic than standing up in front of an audience to tell a true story about yourself? Maybe unnerving at first; to open up to possible ridicule from people who don’t know, or who may be totally sitting on their hands looking bored. Or there is that age-old fear, nothing comes out of your mouth. Not so auspicious for a TED Talk, at all.

bookfest2-663x1024But, you regularly listen to radio programs that stream across your digital devises such as This American Life or The Moth. So, you wonder about your own story-telling skills? Do you have some real-life tales that others would find, well interesting? Does even the question whet your appetite to find out more? We know that storytelling continues to grow in the DC area, as more and more folk are ready to stand-up to confess their true, but rather private thoughts and deeds.

So, I went to seek out more to discover at this year’s Fall for the Book, Northern Virginia’s oldest and largest book festival is quite aware of the hunger to learn the art and craft of storytelling as performance theater.

“We are interested in all kinds of good stories – not only the ones in books. Better Said Than Done is a great local group of storytellers and we are always excited to highlight great artists from our region – plus, we love that they have something new to offer our audience every year.” said Kara Oakleaf’s, Fall for the Book Festival manager.

And with that as my prompt, off I went to chat with Jessica Robinson, the founder of Better Said Than Done.

David Siegel: Why does Better Said Than Done participate in Fall for the Book?

Jessica Piscatelli.
Jessica Robinson.

Jessica Robinson: Fall for the Book (FFTB) celebrates the craft of writing. We see storytelling as the art of crafting true, personal stories. When FFTB asked Better Said Than Done to participate, it seemed like a perfect fit. Some of our storytellers write out their stories and memorize, word for word. Others simply design and memorize key points. However each particular storyteller does it, there is craft to it. There is art. In past years, Better Said Than Done has hosted panel discussions with storytellers on the art of true, personal storytelling. This is also our fourth year of hosting a free storytelling show as part of Fall for the Book. [More information about the workshop is here.]

What will the Better Said Than Done workshop provide at Fall for the Book? 

A BSTD Workshop.
A Fall For The Book Workshop.

Our usual storytelling workshops run about 4 hours long. For FFTB, we only have an hour. We decided we should, therefore, focus on one aspect of storytelling – the character  For the FFTB workshop we are focusing in on a personal story everyone has – the origin story. Anyone taking the workshop should be prepared to think about who they are and where they come from and, perhaps equally important, where they are going.

Better Said Than Done will be hosting a free storytelling show on Thursday, September 29th, downstairs at The Auld Shebeen in Fairfax, in conjunction with Fall for the Book. Doors open at 6 PM, show starts at 7 PM.

The Impossible Dream: stories about quests, dreams, and doing the impossible will feature true, personal stories from Ann Cavazos, Fanny Crawford, Jennifer Greene, Sandra Hull, Jay Krasnow, John Pelar, Jessica Robinson, Jack Scheer, and Mary Supley Foxworth.

How can someone sign-up for the Better Said Than Done workshop at Fall for the Book?

Registration is not necessary for Better Said Than Done’s storytelling workshop at Fall for the Book. The workshop is free. Details on where and when are online.

One last question. Why is an annual book festival such as Northern Virginia’s Fall for the Book important?  

bookfest2-663x1024Fall for the Book is an important event because it gives people in our community the opportunity to hear from and interact with established authors and to be introduced to new works and writers. People can also learn more about writing and publishing. For readers, it’s great to be able to get up and close to the people who provide so much joy and entertainment. For would be writers, it can be a great educational resource.

So, there you have it. Better Said Than Done can be a way to learn to spread your own ideas about your own life’s adventures, once that pesky fear of vulnerability is dealt with as in this TED Talk.

Fall for the Book is at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus – 4400 University Drive -Fairfax, VA 22030 and venues throughout the region. Event is September 25-30, 2016. Tickets are free except for several special events. For detailed information about the schedule and various venues visit online or call 703-993-3986.

Note: Information for Better Said Than Done at Fall for the Book is online.


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