American Storyteller: Pete Seeger

| April 25, 2001

American Storyteller: Pete Seeger, Warren Berger, Book Magazine
Long before there was a written language, long before prehistoric man painted on the walls of caves, stories were being told. Storytelling served many purposes in ancient times: it was a form of entertainment, a way of preserving history, and a way to teach and communicate between individuals and generations. Folk music ultralegend, Pete Seeger, has made storytelling his life's work. Now in his eighty-first year, he's cowritten a how-to book on what's becoming a forgotten art--the art of storytelling. Seeger explains that people today 'sit back and let the professionals do all the storytelling.' By 'professionals' Seeger means writers, singers, and the creators of movies and TV shows. He feels that 'Parents rely on television to put the kids to sleep instead of telling stories themselves.' Seeger claims that anyone can be a good storyteller and advocates taking ideas from a variety of sources-life, movies you've seen, etc.-and ' making the story fit your life, your times, your own kids.' And Seeger should know, he spent most of the last century adapting ideas he found in everything from traditional folk songs 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone' to passages from the Bible 'Turn, Turn, Turn'.
--Al Paulson
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