American Storyteller: Pete Seeger

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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