This is a guest post by storyteller and Creative Writing lecturer Simon Heywood.

About four years ago, I really started listening to my wife. Really listening.

Although Shonaleigh had worked for twenty years as as a professional storyteller, she had started something new: new for her, but very old. She started telling her grandmother’s stories.

I never knew Shonaleigh’s grandmother, Edith Marks, but I have heard a lot about her. She was a drut’syla (cf. Yiddish dertseyler), a hereditary female Jewish storyteller. She told and taught her stories in the traditional way—without writing—so by the time Shonaleigh was in her late teens she had already learned several thousand stories, some many centuries old.

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