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Storyteller entertains at Jimmy Carter Library

POSTED: June 20, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Chelsea Thomas Dawson Community News/

Local storyteller Tracy Walker recently performed at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.

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Local storyteller Tracy Walker entertained a crowd of more than 100 people Saturday night at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum in Atlanta.

A seven-year member of the Southern Order of Storytellers, Walker was asked to be the introductory teller at "Love, Lies and Laughter," an evening performance featuring national humorist Kim Weitkamp.

"I was absolutely thrilled and honored to get to tell with someone of Kim's caliber. I couldn't have been more tickled to get to do that," Walker said.

As the introductory teller, Walker opened the evening with two folktales on which she put her own twist. The first, Puerto Rican in origin, revolved around "why death is still in the world and why misery is there with it."

"Both are stories that tell how things came to be or why things are the way they are," she said.

The second story, inspired by a Nordic folktale, is about "an old woman looking for a shepherd to tend her sheep."

Walker said both stories were humorous in nature.

As the Dawson County Library's program coordinator, Walker can often be found reading or playing with children. She said last Saturday's mostly-adult performance was "a nice change of pace."

"At the event I got to tell different material than I usually do," she said.

Walker began her storytelling journey as a child, frequently with long hours spent around her family's dining room table.

"I come from a family of informal storytellers," she said. "I grew up with parents and grandparents that would sit around and share family stories and things that had happened. Everybody participated and I grew up with that ... it was the norm."

In tradition, oral storytelling has a long history dating back to ancient civilizations. Walker said that to her, the north Georgia mountains hold a special place in contemporary storytelling.

"The area that we are in, Southern Appalachia, is so rich with stories. It is one of the richest parts of the country to be in as far as that oral traditional and ‘jack tales' go. You can't help but be immersed in it," she said.

In recent years, Walker has shared stories in various places, including the St. Louis Storytelling Festival and the Tale Spin Festival in Chattanooga.

In November, she will perform at Tellabration, a storytelling festival in Atlanta where enthusiasts from around the globe gather.

 

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