Friday, January 20, 2012

"The Reluctant Dragon" (excerpt) by Kenneth Grahame

Illustration by Maxfield Parrish
The Reluctant Dragon is an 1898 children's story by Kenneth Grahame (originally published as a chapter in his book Dream Days).  The story takes place in the Berkshire Downs in Oxfordshire (where the author lived and where, according to legend, St George did fight a dragon). It is Grahame's most famous short story.

Click here to listen to a selection!

"A Bundle of Sticks" based on the Fable by Aesop

Illustration c1920
Aesop's Fables or the Aesopica are a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today. Many of the stories, such as The Fox and the Grapes (from which the idiom "sour grapes" derives), The Tortoise and the Hare, The North Wind and the Sun, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Ant and the Grasshopper are well-known throughout the world. (from Wikipedia)

Click here to listen!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Storytelling in the Virtual World? What does that look like?

Part III of Anne Usru's "Breadcrumbs" 1.16.12
It is difficult to describe what a virtual presentation of literature or traditional storytelling looks like.  It really involves seeing it to understand how the virtual world can be a tool for presenting and promoting reading and literature.  It is already used as a resource by people with disabilities, and educational institutions to overcome boundaries of physical space and distance.

Here are some YouTube videos produced by a gentleman in Holland of live story/literary presentations.  They do not include audio of the events, so they are an incomplete example.  Hopefully they are a starting point in answering the questions posed in the post title:

  • Caledonia Skytower reads Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol at the Evolution Kingdom, December 2010.
  • The Seanchai Library celebrates Chinese New Year 2011.
  • Bard on the Virtual Beach: a virtual festival of the works of William Shakespeare (produced by me).  The event presented over four hours of readings from Shakespeare involving eighteen different perfomers from three continents, and was attended by over 100 residents of Second Life.

The Conclusion of Anne Ursu's "Breadcrumbs" 1.23.12

Second Life viewers are free to download.  System requirements are available at the download page.  There are also Third Party Viewers available that are not the direct property of Linden Labs, and are also free to download.

If you are interested is stepping into the virtual world to evaluate its potential yourself, I would be happy to assist you.  I am hoping to add live video (with audio) of a presentation of works in the public domain very soon.

About Me and Stories

Since 2008 I have been presenting literature and stories live in voice on the internet in the metaverse of Second Life.  I have presented a wide range of stories from Aesop, Shakespeare, Yeats, Grahame, and more contemporary authors like E.B. White, Kate DiCamillo and Gail Carson Levine.

Information on some of my presentations in the virtual world can be found at the Blog site for the Seanchai Library, a part of the non-profit Community Virtual Library in Second Life that promotes stories and literature through live voice readings. I present and perform as "Caledonia Skytower."

Works Presented in Live Voice in the Virtual World since September 2008

A representative list – not complete.  Approximate alpha by author’s last name. 

  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • Peter Pan (edited from the original) by J.M. Barrie
  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, selections from The Marvelous Land of Oz and other short stories by L.Frank Baum
  • Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus
  • The Penderwick’s & The Penderwick’s at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & selections from Through The Looking –Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • How to Train Your Dragon & How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell
  • Tales of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, & The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Selections from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes & The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Dream Days & The Golden Age by Kenneth Grahame
  • My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  • The Clairvoyant Countess by Dorothy Gilman
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
  • The Nutcracker (translation) by E.T.A. Hoffmann
  • Secrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Hornby (by special permission from the Author)
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqueline Kelly
  • The Water Horse by Dick King-Smith
  • Selections from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Ella Enchanted, Fairest, and selected stories from The Fairy’s Return by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • A Kiss of Ashen Twilight by Rae Lori (by special permission from the Author)
  • Beggar's Day - Book One:  The Beggar Prince by MJ McGalliard
  • Winnie the Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne
  • Selections from Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore
  • The Irish Dresser by Cynthia G. Neal
  • The Borrowers, The Magic Bed-Knob, & Bonfires and Broomsticks by Mary Norton
  • The Corpse Wore Tartan by Kaitlynn Dunnett
  • Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr
  • Selections from Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • A Cricket in Times Square by George Sheldon
  • Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
  • Dracula – a radio play by Larry Albert based on the original by Bram Stoker
  • Mary Poppins & Mary Poppins Returns by P.L. Travers
  • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
  • The Quiet Man & Other Stories by Maurice Walsh
  • Charlotte’s Web & Stuart Little by E.B. White
  • Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R Simon
  • Selections from The Celtic Twilight by W.B. Yeats
  • A variety of selections including prose and poetry from J.R.R. Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Jane Austen, Bram Stoker, Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, Aesop, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Herman Melville, Jules Verne, Robert Burns, Robert D. San Souci, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and many more. 

Just because an author does not appear here does not mean I have not read from them.  As you can see from the representative list above, in over four years, and over 450 hours of live voice presentations, there has been a lot of literary territory covered.