Oh, StoryMasters, what an honor, a pleasure and an education it is to watch Margaret Mitchell prepare for a storytelling gig! Margaret wrote a superb new story, honed it, sent it to Barbara Clark for her opinion, honed it some more, and timed it. When it was crafted to her standards, Margaret memorized it (or “learned” it, as Barbara says) and, despite dealing with a painful sinus infection, scheduled multiple rehearsals with friends.
All this prep work paid off when Margaret appeared on SAC’s “Genre Stories” on August 18, telling her lovely and heart-wrenching story “The Neighborhood.”

The evening started with some well-known storytellers. Mindy Donner from San Diego Storytellers amused us with memories of her first waitressing job in “Where’s Marie?” Linda Kennedy from Foothill Storytellers worked with a women’s peace group to “tie a ribbon around the Pentagon” (and yes, they did it!). John Petrik of Sacramento Storytellers took us to the Czech Republic for a lesson in giving and receiving kindness.

Margaret Mitchell

And then it was Margaret’s turn. She took us to the Rosewood neighborhood in north Compton, in the fifties, as 12-year-old Margaret listened, observed and learned about

“…a young wife whose husband beat her for speaking her truth. A sweet, innocent family imprisoned through no fault of their own. A beautifully kind young man who yearned to grow into the fullness of himself.”

Margaret’s tribute to Benjy had viewers reaching for their hankies (and I’m reaching for mine again as I write this review). What a tour de force!

Margaret was followed by Rocky Ross from The Reboot: Storytelling Reimagined with a wrenching story about doing the right thing. Julie Orth from Mother Lode Storytelling shared episodes of kindness at the Burning Man Festival, and Neshama from Contra Costa Storytellers made an impromptu appearance talking about the beds in her life.

If you missed the show—or want to watch Margaret again—check the video below.

Thank you, Margaret, for your story—and for the education into how a pro rolls.

Tina Tomiyama

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