The best turtle is the Mary river turtle. It’s the only animal that grows algae as hair.
The second best turtle is the northern snake-necked turtle. It has a long neck and its eyes are those of a staring contest gone far too long.
The third best turtle is Leonardo: the leader of the teenage mutant ninja turtles and, more importantly, the one with the blue bandana.
The fourth best turtle is the Capybara. While the capybara is technically a rodent, it shares much with the turtle in the fact that it is cute. I didn’t know about the capybara until I went to the San Francisco zoo in 2020. Every animal had a plaque describing what it was, what it did. The capybara was special. Its card said: “The capybara is prey to,” and then went on to list every animal larger than an undersized pigeon. I love the capybara because someone has to. The capybara is not just food, it is also a friend.
Friend to all things — 7 of clubs of all trades.
Beverly specializes in telling personal stories from her adventurous life as well as folk tales and other stories from around the world. She enjoys telling interactive stories to children and adults who are young at heart. Her stories may be combined with hand puppets, songs and/or Celtic harp music.
Steve draws on his writing and stage experience in a wide variety of media, including short stories, magic, playwriting, sketch comedy, stand-up comedy, and improv, to craft personal stories that are alternatively moving, thought provoking, and hilarious. He also tells folk tales and children’s stories, enhancing children’s events with a little bit of magic.
Stories connect us! Stories have power! Lyn most enjoys sharing that power and those connections with adult audiences through original stories drawn from real-life experiences. Her themed programs include, “Once in a Lifetime,” “What if…?,” and “Strong Women.” She will work to tailor performances for specific audiences.
Jeff developed his talents telling stories around the campfire and specializes in telling scary and funny stories to kids of all ages. Mixing humor, scare, and surprise, Jeff’s tales are great at Halloween parties, camp-outs, or Scout meetings.
Professional Christmas performer; Santa Claus for over 17 years appearing at KerryTown Shops, Tree-lightings, Birmingham Santa House, St. Paul’s on the Lake School, homes, Senior Centers, Child care facilities and charitable organizations as Merry Town Santa Claus.
Studied Miesner Acting Method with Loretta and Tim Grimes, Redbud Acting Classes, and performing on stage with Ann Arbor Community Theater, Saline Area Players, Dexter Community and Central City Dance.
Kim Fairley is an artist and memoirist based in Michigan who writes about wrestling with secrets and the power of dealing with trauma. Her next memoir chronicles her experience as a competitive swimmer during the early years of Title IX.
She has written two books: Shooting Out the Lights: A Memoir and Boreal Ties: Photographs and Two Diaries of the 1901 Peary Relief Expedition.
She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and attended the University of Southern California. She holds an MFA in Mixed Media from the University of Michigan.
Shelley first started telling stories at the age of four, when she told a Parks & Rec employee she could sing. In her adult years, she started by writing calendar blurbs and little color pieces for Monthly Detroit magazine. Inexplicably, she left journalism to try out a career in HR, but realized job descriptions and employee communications were limited in creative scope and personal reward. Off to grad school then, to study English lit; then came running away to film school. Here, Shelley started storytelling in earnest, writing both make-believe and factual scripts for narrative films and documentaries. She continued to do so for fun and profit for a few years. Then life took a plot took a twist in the form of children to raise, and she shifted professions to teaching English and Philosophy to younger students; in a sense. introducing students to stories, showing them how they are told, and exploring why they are told. Throughout, Shelley attended poetry slams and oral storytelling performances, but only first tried her hand at spoken storytelling after a recent move to Ann Arbor. She also does things not having to do with storytelling, like gardening, playing music, supporting music organizations and community organizations, and reminding herself not to curse at her daft geriatric cat. It is quite possible she freely curses at other things; she will neither confirm nor deny, dangnabit.
I am a retired classroom teacher so have many stories to tell. I am currently on the Ann Arbor School Board, and will continue to be if I’m re-elected in November. Occasionally I’ll tell stories on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jeff.gaynor.18/)
Stories I’ve told for the AASG include: * A Pair of Precipitous Paths; * Parents, Police and Predicaments; * Leaving Las Vegas; * My Mean Brother Michael; * Arrested; and * Lost and Found (If not yet, then soon); with a few more in the pipeline.
Laura Lee Hayes
Laura Lee grew up crafting stories from snippets of fairy tales, movies and family stories. She learned to listen to the stories people told during her year traveling with the Ringling Circus. She has a passion for being outdoors where she listens to tales that nature unfolds. Shaped by her experience, interwoven with this rich legacy of gathered lore, her stories rise up from her heart, mysterious, and longing to be told.
David has been a member of the Storyteller Guild for 3 years. He is still more of a listener than a teller, but enjoys bringing occasional events he has experienced, or wishes he had experienced, to life as a story. Before joining the Storyteller Guild, he performed in about 25 plays with Ann Arbor Civic Theatre and Redbud productions. David’s other creative venture is playing ukulele with Ann Arbor’s Brain Plasticity Ukulele Collective (BPUC). When not telling stories or playing the ukulele, he teaches pathology at the University of Michigan.
A retired elementary teacher, Linda engages young and old listeners with folk tales and lessons. Puppets may appear! Her spiritual stories have far reaching effects. Linda is also a Board member of Friends of Michigan Animals Rescue (FMAR). Residing in Ft. Myers, FL during winter months, Linda is available to tell in southwest FL venues.
Darryl began his spinning of stories shortly after his siblings were born; they became his first audience. Darryl is a retired Detroit Public School teacher and currently he teaches Tai Chi for fun. Darryl joined the AASG in 2002 and has performed in many storytelling concerts with the Guild. Darryl enjoys interpreting multicultural folktales, writing his own, and developing his personal and family stories. I am a self-published author of Haiku Rebellion in Utopia.
Jennifer Pahl Otto
Jennifer creates and tells original stories. Her personal narratives and contemporary tales hit the universal themes we all relate to – love, death, humor, grief, family, growth. Her children’s stories are fun and quirky, and any life lessons come with a light touch. Mead Hill has published four books of her children’s stories: Lavender Hill Farm, A House for Mr. Mouse, Blueberry, and Princess Hippopotamus. They are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Perfectly at home in a library, museum, classroom, workshop for teachers and youth, or seniors’ group, Judy tells tales from around the world to engage your mind and speak to your soul. A quilter as well as a storyteller, Judy combines both enthusiasms with Quilts and Stories sessions for all ages.
Judy Sima is one of Michigan’s favorite storytellers. She has been featured at conferences and festivals, schools and libraries throughout Michigan and in twenty other states and Canada. A retired middle school librarian, Judy has been entertaining audiences since 1983. Judy has introduced many young people and adults to the art of storytelling and is considered to be “The Pied Piper of Storytelling in Metro Detroit.” Some call her the “Fairy Godmother” of Storytelling as she continually helps beginning and experienced storytellers improve their craft. For seventeen years Judy coached a middle school student storytelling troupe resulting in her award winning book, Raising Voices: Creating Youth Storytelling Groups and Troupes. She is the recipient of two National Storytelling Network Oracle Awards for “Service and Leadership” as well as “Distinguished National Service.” Judy is the current president of the Detroit Story League, and the editor of “MI Story,” the only electronic calendar listing public storytelling events in Michigan.
As my life has leaned heavily towards the arts, it is becoming clear that storytelling
is a sort of art I am interested in cultivating.
Currently, my artistic adventures take me to my clay studio, which was before that my stained glass studio, which before that was my mosaic studio.
I always have my sewing machine set up with a project underway.
Thinking up new dishes to create with whatever is growing in my garden keeps my mind filled with positive, nutritious thoughts.”
Rich is a retired corporate lawyer, a member of the Ann Arbor Storytellers’ Guild and a Moth storyteller. Rich started fishing at age 7, and that’s when he started telling stories, some true. Now, Rich looks for the humor in everyday life, and that’s the source material for most of his stories. He tells a mix of true stories and stories of questionable authenticity.
Lorelle Otis Thomas
Lorelle came to storytelling by way of art history. In the MFA Illustration program at Syracuse University she realized all history is just stories about memorable people! She went on to teach a university history of design and illustration class where she told artists’ individual stories to make history come alive.
She still tells stories about fascinating people. But now, more often, she tells about family and personal events and comical situations. She believes that stories about common experiences make us realize how much we all share and help us relate to each other.
Lorelle is a watercolor painter, illustrator, and graphic designer. She designed the guild’s “Birds Telling Stories” logo. For several years she has created the bird illustrations for the guild concert programs.
Kathleen has been a teacher and storyteller for over twenty five years. Her storytelling experiences include a traveling preschool program; special events; bookstore, library, and school appearances; and telling in her own elementary classroom. Whether her stories hold listeners in a spellbinding moment or make them clutch their bellies laughing, kids and grown-ups alike come away with a grin on their lips and a twinkle in their eye.