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  • Writer's pictureLoren Niemi

Looking for Work

Here is the quandary that the pandemic year has brought me to: the rhythm of performances balanced against or within teaching has been disrupted and no amount of Zoom feels like a viable substitute. Since 2016 – through the first two months of 2020, I was “on the road” (usually) spring and fall to the East Coast, Midwest, Texas/New Mexico, the West Coast. Those tours lasted anywhere from a couple of weeks to three months. It was both work and pleasure. It provided a way to stay connected to the larger storytelling community and to do what I love best.

The March 2020 lockdown ended that. In the 13 months since, I have done some, but not enough on-line work. I have been slow to embrace Zoom as the principal form of my storytelling. While I am getting better at it, I recognize that it is not the same. Beaming a presentation to Moscow on ”Telling Your Organizational Story” for a business conference or performing an obscure Hans Christian Andersen tale for the summer Central Park series denies me the audience’s breath and energy. Even if I can see you in the little window, the collective gestalt of storytelling as an implicit conversation between myself and audience entering the story is missing. And if there is one things 40 years of performing has taught me, it is that I tailor the story to the dynamic of audience in “this” time and place.

Having been vaccinated, I can imagine the light at the end of this tunnel. I can see the possibility that beginning this fall I may once again be able to tour. By then enough people may have opted for vaccinations that the restrictions on gathering will be lifted. Maybe masks will become optional or unnecessary. Maybe we will once again gather in groups to hear stories whether around a campfire or in a darkened room.

I recently got a call about house sitting for a friend in New Mexico in October and November. I could do it but if I do, I’d also want to have some classes, workshops, performances while I’m there. I'd like to have performances and workshops on the way down and on the way back. The details have not been worked out, but I am putting this into the Universe to have you think about whether you’d want to host a house concert, have me participate in a venue series, or attend a class /workshop if that comes to fruition.

I am committed to developing the American School of Storytelling as a provider of quality classes and performances. Currently it is a series of on-line classes, but as I have said, my intention is to expand both what I offer and what other guest tellers offer both on-line and in-person. I can offer classes in and from the road. Touring is part of the ASoS’s development.

But even if New Mexico in the fall doesn’t pan out, I am looking for work wherever the story is called for. Let’s talk about me in your town late winter and spring 2022. As always, I am happy to travel and as the years creep up, I find myself thinking there will be a point where even for us nomadic dinosaurs that will be no longer possible or pleasurable. Let's do this while I can.


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