Diving And Emerging: An Interview With Regi Carpenter


Regi Carpenter is soon to teach an online class for the TLA Network called “Diving And Emerging, Finding Your Voice And Identify Through Personal Stories”  starting April 19th. The class will focus on inspiration, imagination, story development, and craft. We will also focus on spoken word performance considerations and deepen our understanding of the power stories play in personal and universal transformation. Here’s a short interview with Regi about the class:

TLA Blog (TLA)What inspired you to teach this class?

Regi Carpenter (RC): I am inspired to teach this class again for TLAN for a few different reasons. The last time I taught this I witnessed real transformation in my students. It was a real treat to see them discover and give voice to their lives as story and share them with one another. We created a community of storytellers. That was exciting and rewarding.

TLA: How did you discover, learn about and experience the topic that
you’ll be teaching?
RC: I fell in love with storytelling over twenty years ago when I sat slack-jawed and drooling through a performance by David Novak. I fell in love with stories which seemed like old friends, wise counselors and bawdy girlfriends. The walk from student to teacher is a long one. “To learn is to teach” was very real for me. I learned how to tell by learning how to teach. How did I learn? I listened, studied, tried, failed and tried again. I have taught for Lincoln Center arts-in-education programs,schools, adult retreats, online programs and colleges. I currently teach storytelling at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. Mostly, I learned by being quiet and listening to the stories living inside of me trying to spoken and born into the world.

TLA: What can students in this class expect?

RC: Students can expect about 3 hours of work a week. We will read, write, reflect and share our stories with one another in writing and aloud in a conference call. You can also expect to have some fun, to laugh and be surprised!

TLA: What is one of your favorite stories?

RC: One of my favorite stories today is a little known one called “Lallah Pambo.” It’s a gypsy story about a little girl who is of little use to anyone. She goes out one night to find rain and bring rain back to her land to ease a drought and famine ravaging her country.She travels “without a map and no direction.” She finds Rain who teaches her her value. She returns to her land with Rain, who makes the land flourish. She travels the world telling stories because “storytellers are true nobility.”

TLA: Why is it important to share our stories with others?

RC: It’s important to tell our stories because every single person is longing for a life of meaning and to know that we matter. When we share our stories we matter. Our stories matter. That’s why this is so important.

TLA: Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

RC: I want to encourage you to take this class because your story matters to me. I want to meet and know you and there is nothing we can talk about that will turn me away from you or your experience.

Regi Carpenter is an internationally known spoken word artist, author and educator. She has been performing her stories of small town life in northern New York for over twenty years. A featured teller at many festivals throughout the United States she conducts workshops and classes fro people of all ages who want to learn to write and tell stories from their own lives. Her book, Where There’s Smoke, There’s Dinner: Stories of a Seared Childhood will be published by Familius Publishing in Sept. 2016. Regi also teaches storytelling at Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY.

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