Happy New Year, ALL. We are already beyond a dozen days of 2015. Counting time (I learned from the once languageless man, Ildefonso) is so arbitrary. Everyday is new and we can begin again, and any time in the day, we can begin yet again. Who will I be today? According to the Buddha, I am what I thought yesterday. Let me share with you the mission stated from the beginning of this web site:
We are our stories.
Every language carries a collection of stories, that is, a culture, a unique perspective. SusanSchaller, et al. uses storytelling’s power to connect people and teach us about ourselves. We work toward including everyone by bringing together stories from many languages, cultures, and through different senses and media. Our work is sharing and making new stories out of every person’s story, to complete our story and ourselves.
The most important bit of the above mission is “et al” – “and others.” Of course I or one person could not do the above. I need all of you to add your stories, languages/cultures and personal experiences/insights. I can begin. I can offer my experience, my culture, and the gifts of windows into others’ stories, languages and cultures, and, even, the window into a “languageless” man’s world who changed my life, and brought me to this place, time, and sharing with you. Hopefully, A Man Without Words, the book and/or the short documentary, inspires and/or engages you, encouraging you to add your story, your perspective, to offer another story that inspires, engages and encourages another, then another, connecting us in a chain of stories, using our differences and diverse “clothing” to unite us in the universal truth: we are a “we,” not “I” and “I” and “I.”
I can begin with what I thought/think is a good idea. I traveled, and am traveling to individuals, teachers, parents, students, and general audiences to demonstrate a multilingual storytelling tool – a book/DVD set. Up to 10 different translations can be chosen as conduits to the masterful written English storytelling and visual “Deaf” storytelling of American Sign Language. But, all I can do is show you, and tell you how I think it can be used for teaching empathy, multiculturalism, reading, writing, communication and a love for learning. Then you need to use it, experiment, add your ideas and tell me and others your success stories – how it helped five-year-old hearing Cathy to read, Alexis to identify emotions, or José to understand English better (or how your hearing students saw that signing isn’t just vocabulary, and their fellow Deaf students taught them about visual communication, giving them insights into their own language).
Inherent in any mission are the goals. In the above mission, storytelling unifies, accepting others’ and their stories includes, and teaching through others’ stories brings us to understand ourselves. These goals are, however, as elusive as the mission, if they are not translated into specific objectives: the specific ways, and the targets, players and tasks. I am only one player, and I failed to do anything this last year. There were successes, and they always included other players, a team, an “et al.” We attained something. Invite me to your town, home, school or community group so we can work together and make more progress.
According to Buddha, I am what I thought yesterday. My mission statement of yesteryear included you all, but many times I acted on what I thought was a good idea, and leaped ahead without you. Today, I would like to think of me with you – a team. If today, I think as a “we,” tomorrow we will be together. Please join me in 2015, in team building to build a community that includes everyone and all stories. Help us plan better objectives, better ways of connecting, to encourage us all through our stories.
The meeting is now open. We look forward to reading your response in the “reply” box below, AND to your contribution as a blogger on this site. The name “susanschalleretal.” makes no sense without you. Your response below is private until it is approved for the site, so you may also write me privately with any feedback, suggestions or if you would like a book, DVD or multilingual ASLTale book/DVD set.
Announcement: If you have any Deaf (or CODA) theater or ASL consultant friends, please refer them as we – a Deaf/hearing team – are working on a bilingual/bicultural play to premiere this summer, in Boone, North Carolina.