q storytelling | Anne Hodgson

Kurt Vonnegut on the Shape of Stories

In the Cornelsen coursebook I’m writing, and in my classes, I warn my students against turning their presentations into straight pitches. Robert McKee, the Hollywood scriptwriter, has pointed out that the audience doesn’t really engage with and is not convinced by a presentation that tries to sell only strong points. People aren’t dumb. They’ll instinctively […]

Interview with an old potato

A few years ago when I was teaching English students at the LMU Munich, my students told me how in a creative writing class, Gill Woodman, head of Sprachpraxis there, had given them a bag of potatoes and told them to select one and imagine its personality, and then write its biography. Such a great […]

Herbie Hancock: Watermellon Man

I love, love, love how Herbie Hancock tells the story of how he composed Watermellon Man. Link to Woodie Herman’s hard bop version of 1962 Link to Mongo Santamaria’s hit of the same year Link to Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters’ funky version from the 70s The intro to that version played on a bottle, […]

Hello Kitty arrested

What’s going on here? Where is this scene taking place? What time of day is it? Who’s being arrested? How much do you know about ‘her’? What else do you imagine about ‘her’? What do you think ‘she’s’ being arrested for? What exactly do you think happened? How? Why? What could the officers be thinking? […]

What’s the story, cupcake?

Sweet Dreams by Kirsten Lepore, Special Jury Award at SXSW 2009 Images and laughter help you learn, says Jo Westcombe, who sent this video and knows a thing or two about story telling. A fun assignment in a writing class could be to write this up in different genres: separate groups write a fairytale, a […]

He loves Brazil

I saw a dear friend today who travelled to Brazil with her 10-year old son late last summer. One of the stories she told has added a bounce to my step all day: When they landed and wanted to go through customs, there wasn’t a guard in sight anywhere. So they settled down for a […]

Elisabeth Gilbert, storyteller

How to deal with the pressure of being expected to repeat an inspired performance? Elisabeth Gilbert, author of the international bestseller Eat, Pray, Love and the lesser known, but delightful Stern Men (my review and podcast), says divine inspiration may or may not come again, but that shouldn’t trouble you. “Just continue to show up […]