My sister helped me come up with the title. It seems the perfect blend of the words biography and bibliography to describe the two merging aspects of this workshop I’m offering next month.
It all started with a spoken word performance that Kaitlin Meadows and I devised for Other Voices Women’s Reading Series. Kaitlin is a fabulous poet so her part was to read some of her poems related to books. Not being a poet or author, I didn’t have anything to read. Instead I made a list of the Most Important Books in my life and shared it with the audience, telling stories about how select books are connected to important events in my life.
What I didn’t expect from this experience is that other people wanted to share their Most Important Books with me and “tada!”, a workshop was born. It seems that hearing stories is one way of getting inspired to share your own tale. You can see this at any social gathering where one story triggers another. Sometimes the urge is to “top” the last teller and the narratives get more and more outrageous.
The other night I was having dinner with some friends and I talked about how the experience of asking for help after I had surgery had given me new insight in how to receive gratefully and gracefully. My sharing stirred stories of similar occurrences in their lives and I was amazed at how quickly the exchange became deeper. Often personal stories can bring the conversation to a more intimate and (for me) satisfying place. Half of storytelling is listening and my friends are very good listeners.
I found this quote by Ben Okri recently, “Reading, like writing, is a creative act. If readers only bring a narrow range of themselves to the book, then they’ll only see their narrow range reflected in it.” I think the same thing applies to listening.