Stuff gets real in 2016

Not that I haven’t been putting real effort into the work of the past 4 years, but I really believe that this will be the year where some things take off.

2015 in review

Last year saw great strides.  I added my first off-Fringe show, started the radio show, and started doing more targeted projects – from the Balloon Manor audio tour to working with a soup kitchen and a Girl Scout troop.  I built some new relationships and made progress on Noodle (my novel).

It was a rough year medically, so there were good days and bad.  Energy drains sometimes did a number on my focus.  That and the fact that I came seriously close to over-committing.  With a bunch of threads going, I need to keep on track, even when energy gets sapped.  There are things that can go more smoothly and be more productive.

2016 in focus

After thinking about last year and where I want to head, here are my focus words for the year.

  1. Balance – I want to do so much and help so many, but if I let it get out of control, no one will be happy.  I need to balance the amount and type of work that I’m doing.  I also need to make sure that I don’t neglect myself, my family, or my home in the process.  I need to find a workout that will stick, and that I can keep up, and also do more focused meditation, yoga, or something.  Balance will be key.
  2. Expertise – Develop it.  Share it.  Show it.  I know a lot about the power of story and how to use it in many situations.  I need to hone my expertise and be the expert that I am.  Look for that here on the blog, especially.
  3. Target – Focus on those who can benefit from my work.  SELL to them.  Set deadlines and goals and don’t lose sight of them.  Be intentional about networking, social, and do more targeted sharing of my work.

I’m excited about what’s already on tap in 2016:


Merry Christmas, all!

Happy end of year holidays, whatever you celebrate.  And may the spirit of family gatherings, giving of yourself, and indulging in good food be something that you all can experience – whatever your creed or belief, or lack thereof.


I am tucking into holiday mode – taking advantage of being done with all official jobs by 5pm this evening until Sunday – and I am determined to enjoy every moment.

A few notes:

  • Still looking for an experience to gift the loved one who has just about everything?  There’s still time to sign up for storybead fun on 2/4!
  • As you start to think about goals in the New Year, are you looking to strengthen relationships and build communities?  Consider the Framework Basics package – a great guide to get you started for not so big a price.
  • ROC Soup radio archives are up on the show’s page on the WAYO site!  Catch up on episodes you’ve missed!  Bookmark the page or ROCSoupWAYO on MixCloud for future listening, if Saturdays at 10am doesn’t work for you.
  • This Saturday, my friends Magnus Champlin and Dave Kyle will be joining me on the show for a holiday story swap! Listen at or on TuneIn. (We start broadcasting over the air on 104.3FM in January).

ROC Soup for 12/19

Leading into Christmas week we have some fun stories.

  • An Appalachian Santa fable
  • A snow contest of a different sort downtown
  • A bit of Christmas nostalgia in the form of a song from my brother, Sonny
  • Market stories

Tune in on the site or via the TuneIn app at 10am tomorrow!  Start your day with story.

Don’t forget to check out WAYO’s Kickstarter campaign and consider supporting this cool station.

Archives are coming – I have the files to start the show archive on my WAYO page, just need to fix them up a bit – hope to update today!

And, jic you aren’t checking here on Christmas day, there WILL be a show on 12/26 – a Christmas story swap with Magnus (John Champlin) and Dave Kyle.


Looking for a last minute experience-type gift?

‘Tis the season, so I have to let you know!

Storychick will be teaching a new class at the Rochester Brainery on 2/4!  You can sign up a loved one now and share the experience in just over a month.

This class is a direct result of the hands-on experience at the Rochester Maker Faire.  Everyone will get to try their hand at the regular, rolled circle, rolled S, and origami water-bomb beads – then you can continue working to create a string or a new creation all your own – whatever inspires you!

Ah, but there’s a twist!


These are STORY beads.

We’ll be including pieces of stories that are important to you in the beads themselves.  Those who are ready and willing can share these stories as we work or at the end of the session.  At a minimum, your beads will carry your story for you.

This is a great way to start healing from painful stories, to create a piece that carries the tale of a loved one, and to have some fun creating – even if your story seems to be an everyday tale.

Supplies will be provided, but if you have any papers that you are fond of – any favorites from holiday gifts, for example – you’re welcome to bring them.

See you in February!



This week on ROC Soup


This week, on ROC Soup, I will share the studio with my first official guest, Arleen Thaler.

Arleen is a photojournalist whose backstory I featured in the Art ❤ Stories series.  She has spent countless hours documenting communities on the margins, whose stories we rarely have a chance to get to know.

Join us for a 1/2 hour of storytelling tomorrow morning at 10am. You can listen at or using the TuneIn app. And don’t forget to check out the WAYO Kickstarter to help us meet some of our ongoing operating expenses for 2016.

(I’m hoping to get instructions on posting archived shows soon.)

Never Sitting Down

A few weeks ago, I had a booth at the second Rochester Mini Maker Faire.

Last year, I also had a booth.  I put up my jewelry display and spent the day working on projects – specifically domes and embellishments for the Stages projects.  It was fun, I enjoyed talking people through my work while actually having my hands busy (and covered in Mod Podge), but there were a number of kids who came by expecting to be able to DO something, MAKE something, LEARN something.

So I decided to have a hands on part to my booth this year.  I figured “half the booth, half the time”, and that I could work on a new project (in its VERY early prototyping stage) for a hunk of the time.

Silly, silly Storychick.

The hands-on experience (make a bead  – regular, rolled circle or “s”, or origami waterbomb) was a HUGE success.  So much so, that I didn’t have a chance to sit, really, all day!  People were thrilled and excited to get specifics on how to do more at home, though that didn’t diminish my work in their eyes.  Several had questions and ideas for taking the activity in other places.  Schools, hospitals, recovery camps.

To be honest, I had been a bit nervous about the activity.  At some of the initial craft shows where I had tried to sell my jewelry, I had several “I could do that” comments.  I worried that letting people make regular beads would convince them that this was a simple task and that they  would not value what I had created.  This was the impression given by those at the craft show.

You know, it’s funny how things work.  I intended to write this post about the Faire and this experience and what I’ve learned, but never connected it mentally to the nervousness I had when publishing Framework Basics until now.  A few days after that experience, Seth Godin posted about how others will react:

For each person who cares enough to make something, who is bold enough to ship it, who is generous enough to say, “here, I made this,”…

There are ten people who say, “I could have done it better.”

A hundred people who say, “Who are you to do this?”

A thousand people who say, “I was just about to do that,”

and ten thousand people who don’t care at all.

Themes.  Connections.  It’s all related.

Back to the Faire – the point was that I did not have anyone say “I’ve done that” in a negative way.  Yes, some said it, but they saw next steps in my work that they hadn’t ever considered.  At one point during those craft shows I had worried about guarding my process so that others couldn’t pick it up and run with it.  I didn’t consider it all that innovative or unique and figured those who tried would come up with something similar or better.  This time, that wasn’t a concern.  I felt like an expert and was able to enjoy watching people discovery the intricacies I see in making each bead.

I’m super excited at some of the ideas that came out of discussions with my bead-makers.  I should have some news in that space next week!

I declare the Faire a success!  I didn’t get time to do ANY work on my projects.  I wish I had had more time to talk with people on the display side, also.  Next year, I’ll need a helper.  That’s rather exciting. : )

I have one Stages complete and one more just waiting final assembly.  Both will go onto Etsy soon.  Here are some preliminary cellphone shots of the first Stages – Dragon.



Storychick’s radio debut!

Many things are in the works, as always.  Next week I’ll give you my post-mortem of the Maker Faire.  In 3 words – good chaos/ madness.

Today, I wanted to let you know that my show on WAYO 104.3FM Rochester debuts tomorrow!  I am on every Saturday at 10am (it’s a 1/2hr show).  Even better, for friends beyond the Rochester area, the show is streaming on the website.

(Archives may not show up immediately after this week’s show, but they will be coming – keep an eye on the show page)

ROC Soup logo

ROC Soup is a melting pot of Rochester stories, with some fables thrown in. History, everyday stories from your neighbors, and live stories from cool Rochester people. I’ll alternate between a mix of stories one week and an interview the next.

Up tomorrow: Mrs J Milton French, immigrants, and ROC love.
Next week, my first guest will be Arleen Thaler, a photo-journalist working to tell the stories of those without voices.


But what, you may ask, is a community?


As I started reaching out to people in an effort to promote Framework Basics, the question came up. What is community? What types of communities can benefit from this product?

The answer is pretty much anything, but I broke it into 2 slices:

  1. Community is any group with which you would like to develop a relationship, or who you would like to see develop relationships among themselves.  Cities, schools, neighborhoods, customers, employees, etc.
  2. The communities we care about usually align with how we identify ourselves – the categories we use to describe who we are.  For example, I am a Rochesterian, a UR and Simon alum, an ex-Kodaker, I’m a Roelle and a Musso, I am a bit of a foodie, a supporter of local business, a sister, a wife, a fan, a writer, an artist, an entrepreneur, a lover of dark beer.  Any of these can be communities to join, start, or work to create & strengthen through story.

Who is your community?  What communities do you come into contact with regularly?

What’s cool about Framework Basics is that it’s a solution that spans business, social, and family needs.  You can use it for work, for your church, and to get your kids talking to their grandparents.

Check it out, see if it might work for you! And if creating a program yourself seems daunting, send me a note via this page and I’ll be in touch to talk about what I can do to help.

Storychick’s story framework and what it can do for you – Building the case for story

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, jic.  Story is not just “storytime”, not just fiction, not just slams, and not just marketing.

The community building power of story can impact us personally and every organization or group we are a part of – meetups, non-profits, Facebook super groups, businesses, schools, the list goes on.  We can use story to establish and discover connections and to build and strengthen relationships. As we get closer to those we want to reach out to, as we pull together those who need to connect, story can help to grow and shape those bonds.

Story is a unique gift that we, as human beings, can use to move among social groups peacefully, to unite for a larger cause, and to adapt to changes in our environment.

As the concept of Storychick spreads, I have more and more conversations, more and more discussions about the potential impact of story in various places and what people can do to build their communities (of users, employees, volunteers, family, friends, etc) using story’s superpower of connection.

I’m formalizing that process and opening the doors to new partnerships and endeavors.


The story framework

What types of story are best for your goals?  Should you create, gather, or blend your story?  How do you plan to share it?  What happens next?  Where do you even start?

Storychick can help

Framework Basics can walk you through the questions to ask and steps to consider when starting to use story for your community.

With Framework Consulting, I’ll sit and build the process with you and help you set the foundation for ongoing story efforts.

Or consider Build My Story.  Storychick can generate content and craft a story that will strengthen and grow your community moving forward.

Watch this space

I’ll have some more elements of Storychick to share coming soon.  Don’t forget that I’ll be at  the Rochester Mini Maker Faire on 11/21 (Booth 56)!


I realize that someday I’ll need a system.  A way to handle these things more efficiently.  Maybe that will even include another person on the team, down the line.  Because there are a lot of details, a lot of moving pieces, a lot of work – that go into putting these things together.  And that’s part of why I’ve been quiet for so long.

But what, you ask, are “these things”?  What’s been going on?


Fringe flew by again this year, as delightful and crazy and exhausting as in years past.  Only more so.  This year I had 2 shows!  And I did a Highlights performance on the Gibbs St stage.  All of the awesome that comes with pulling together Rochester Stories and being a part of the magnificent First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival continued this year.  I met so many great people – as I gathered stories, as I promoted the show, and at my performances.  People continue to be surprised and delighted by the concept of actors performing the stories and the play of discovery for who the stories really belong to.

I can also see how the show has grown.  There’s a bit more maturity to the composition – the history stories have expanded from a paragraph or two to a page or more.  I’ve learned as a Director, even if I’m still more hands-off than the actors are used to.

The greatest beauty continues to be in the connections.  We actually had a bit of a receiving line as people left the theatre from the last show (a near sell-out) and went downstairs for food and discussion.  The faces of people as they thanked me for the work were energized and beaming.  I connected with several people who may lead to new opportunities.  People shared stories after the show over great Greek eats.  This is why I do this.


Writers & Books was a great venue this year.  A chorus of thank-you’s to the cast, who put so much heart and generosity into telling these stories of Rochesterians.


Immediately after Fringe, I rolled into plans, preparation, and marketing for an event called #DareToImagine.  Sponsored by the US Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) (not a governmental organization), #DareToImagine happened over the course of a week in cities around the country.  I led the charge for Rochester, partnering with ROCSPOT, ICOG, The Fruit Belt Project, the City of Rochester, the Rochester Brainery, and Global Revolution Comix.

The event invited the public to come and creatively share their visions of Rochester’s future.  There were several exercises aimed to help people think about what life may be like here in 2035.  How have we tackled our problems?


We had a decent crowd given that the event was outside on a blustery day with the first hints of snow for the season.  Not many stopped to play or get really creative – but we got a lot of brainstorm ideas to work with.  It’s a great first step and one that we may repeat in the future, so watch out.  Together, we can change the future of our city.

Next up are two Maker Faires!  I’m organizing the event 11/6-11/8 for the Pittsford Barnes & Noble, where I work, and will be exhibiting on Friday, then the Rochester Mini Maker Faire is 11/21 where I’ll have a hybrid hands-on/ demo booth.  And more is in the works.  Never a dull moment!