Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Teamaster, a short film

This is another version of the Samurai and the Teamaster story I tell. The versions are very different and my ending is unique, but you can easily see the common thread between them.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Meeting William f*cking Shatner

Wil Wheton tells the story about the first time he met William Shatner.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The House with 13 Roommates

Once upon a time, there were 13 friends who decided to share a house together. They each got a room, agreed to share the kitchen, the living room, and the basement, and share in the upkeep of the whole house. They personalized each of their rooms to suit their tastes and their own needs, and they visited each other frequently.

As the years passed, everyone got along quite well. Though there were spats here and there, the roommates talked them out and even though people sometimes didn't get what they wanted, they compromised for the good of the house, the good of the family.

When times got hard, some of the roommates were having a difficult time to pay the rent and the maintenance fees for the house. Wanting to keep the family together, they started bartering their services in exchange for help with their financial contributions. Newfoundland, PEI, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan offered to do the grocery shopping and Quebec agreed to do all the cooking (due to its French flair with the spices). BC offered to repaint the house and fix the roof, while Alberta promised to keep the basement clean and the furnace topped up with oil. Nova Scotia pulled together a band and provided entertainment. New Brunswick promised it would answer all the incoming calls and deal with the city (in both English and French). The Territories, who were used to walking long distances, agreed to keep an eye out on the entire property to ensure that everyone was safe. Ontario, not hurting for money because it had a solid government job, agreed to cover all the expenses as long as it could supervise all the other tasks.

This seemed to work out well for awhile, but then the roommates started nitpicking at each other, criticizing what was being done. BC didn't like the food that was being bought because it was too grain heavy and the fish and meat products weren't ethically sound or sustainable. Nova Scotia was getting tired of performing all the time for free. The Territories felt cut off from the house because they spent more time outside it keeping watch than inside.

The other provinces mocked Alberta because it spent so much time in the basement. They called it an underdweller, said it was "primitive", and it lived in a hole in the ground. Alberta felt everyone was taking it for granted because the furnace never broke down and it was never cold in the house.

One night, during the supper meal, Ontario made one too many complaints about how spicy the meal and how its mother's cooking was so much better, and Quebec lost its collective shit. Quebec ranted that it was tired of being singled out, made to feel apart, and how annoying it was that if it wanted a change a lightbulb in its room, it had to get everyone's permission. "It's my room! If I want more light, why should Ontario care? I should be allowed to make more of my own choices when it comes to my room!"

So the roommates had a house meeting and renegotiated their deal. Quebec was adamant that it had the right to make whatever changes it wanted to its own room and it shouldn't need to get everyone else's permission. "My room is distinctly different from the other rooms, so it deserves special status!" The other roommates were confused by this at first, but they didn't want to lose their access to the fantastic food, so they gave in to Quebec's demands. Soon the other roommates also enjoyed having more say in how they managed their rooms, but they quietly resented that Quebec got so much more control.

And so the people in the house continued to live together, trying to make it work. Every once in a while, Quebec threatens to move out of the house, but changes its mind when it sees how much the rent is out there in the rest of the city, and it realizes that it's really not so bad living in that house. Sometimes the other roommates talk about leaving too, but then they call another house meeting and negotiate a way to stay together.

It's not an easy life, but living with family rarely is, and everyone is stronger in the end for making it work.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Driving Out the Snakes II 2014

So I hosted a concert called Driving Out the Snakes II in Montreal on St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2014 and it was great! Generous audiences, talented musicians, and an energetic step dancer!

I also got to tell a few tales and they were recorded, so I'm happy to share one of them.

The videographer is Roy Keys and the event was organized by Aine Doan.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Professor Taelstrum's first story

I've been working on developing a Steampunk-themed storyteller named Professor Taelstrum, which I'm hoping to take out into the Geek-Con and Steampunk-Con circuit. I've been picking up bits of his costume and writing his backstory, but I tried to retell Love and Madness in this persona and I recorded it.

It's pretty rough, but I think I like where this is headed. Enjoy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Quality storytelling does actually matter

I'm blogging this here so that I can find it later easily, but I love what this guy does with the Star Wars prequels. Focusing on Anakin over all three movies was a huge mistake and made the stories suck in a colossal way.

Also, teenage Anakin was a dick from beginning to end, so when he made the transition to the Dark Side, there's no feeling of tragedy or loss. The animated series The Clone Wars dealt with this transition much better than the movies ever did.

Take a look at how BelatedMedia rewrites the first two prequels and you'll see brilliant storytelling at work.

What if Star Wars: Episode 1 were good?




What if Star Wars: Episode 2 were good?


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Story: Fionn MacCool and the Old Man

I've been holding back on this story because I wanted to use it in a Bardic competition in the US. Since the Bardic competition was this past week (no wins for me, but congrats to Julie D. for winning the Bardic Chair!), I can now post it for public consumption.

I've never told a Fionn MacCool story before, but the more I read about these Irish stories, the more I love them. Mike Burns was the first storyteller I heard tell this story, but Robin Williamson is also attributed with this story.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Epic Statistics

Every once in awhile, I take a look at the site statistics for Shortening the Road. After doing some simple math, I discovered that in the past year this site gets about 250 hits and about 340 page views every month! That can't all be from my Mom!

According to Blogger, my wee blog is clocking in at over 23 000 pageviews since 2008 and my visitors come from all over the world (these are all-time pageviews):

Belgium
9022
United States
5629
Canada
3912
Russia
1566
Netherlands
830
United Kingdom
586
Ukraine
518
Germany
429
France
403
Slovenia
384

Oddly, there are more than twice as many visitors from Belgium than my own home country of Canada. Could it be that I'm Big in Belgium and I don't even know it?

Wherever you come from, thanks for stopping by! I would really love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment. If you're on Facebook, please Like my fanpage. And if you'd like to have a copy of my stories for your own listening please, please download my CD!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My First Spoken Word Poem

So tonight at Madpoetix, I decided to leave my comfort zone and perform my first Spoken Word poem. I was inspired to write this poem after attending Northern Lights Gathering back in February 2013.

I witnessed a concert with a band called Pagan's Folly and an assortment of drummers who jumped up on stage to jam with them. I put the basics of this story together in the moment, but before I could jump up and perform it, the moment passed. Instead, when I got home, I wrote out what I could remember and spent the next few weeks refining it.

The quality of the recording isn't great, but you can still hear everything clearly. I really need to commit this poem to memory and perform it more often. The music playing is called Serpentine Seduction from the CD Tribal Magick by the Dragon Ritual Drummers.

UPDATE: I have titled the poem "The Rhythm in Skin".

 The Rhythm in Skin (2:13) written and told by JD Hickey

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Guest Story: Second Chances

This true story was told by Jennifer Ansell-Clark (email) at a storytelling event called Confabulation. The theme was Second Chances.

I'll let Jen do the rest of the talking.

WARNING: There is some strong language in this tale

Second Chances (7:35) written and told by Jennifer Ansell-Clark
 
Copyright© 2010 John David Hickey