News — Laura Simms


Urban Mindfulness: Seeing in the City as a Source of Joy

Written By Laura Simms, Award Winning Storyteller “In a time before there was day or night, when the sky was grey, there was a girl of the earliest race, who watched the fires that lit up the earth turn to ash.  She lifted  burning embers in her hands and tossed them into the sky.  It […]

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Excerpt from "The King of Togo Togo and Other Stories"

LauraSimms-KingOfTogotogoCover-BL Laura Simms' recording of "The King of Togo Togo and Other Stories" is a collection of truly delightful stories that the whole family will enjoy.  The following transcribed excerpt of the story about the donkey and goose who were in love will give you a taste of what to expect.

There was once a donkey and a goose and they were in love. They lived on opposite sides of a road separated by two fences and all day they would stare at each other and sigh. They wished that they could speak each other’s language so that they could tell one another how much they loved each other. 

One evening there was a boy and a girl walking down the road holding hands, kissing, and talking about a wishing well at the end of the road. Everybody knows that animals can’t understand each other’s language but they can understand the language of human beings. So they understood and each one made a plan.
Late that night the donkey pushed open the gate with his head and went “clippity, cloppity, clippity, cloppity, clippity, cloppity” right down that road until he came to the wishing well, pulled himself up with his long legs, leaned over the edge and said, “Eeeehh Ohhhh, I am so in love. I wish I could be a goose.” And all of a sudden, the donkey shrunk down to the size of a goose, turned colors, his ears went in, his tail was gone, and he had webbed feet. Happily, the donkey who was now a goose hopped off the wishing well and waddled, waddled, waddled, waddled all the way back to his fence. He pushed in the door with his rear, shut it with his head, and waited.
Later that night the goose who was digging a hole beneath her fence pushed herself out onto the road and waddled, waddled, waddled, waddled all the way to the wishing well. Then she leaped up with great difficulty, balanced on the edge of the well and said into the water, “Honk, I am so in love. I wish I could be a donkey.” And low and behold, the goose became a donkey. Ears came out of her head. She grew long and brown with a big tail and long legs. The goose who was now a donkey leaped off the side of the wishing well and clippity, cloppity, clippity, cloppity, clippity, cloppity went back to her fence. She pushed in the door with her rear, shut it with her head, and waited. They could hardly wait for the sun to rise so that they could see one another. 

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Laura Simms Bio and Links

Women and Wild Animals - Author Notes Part III

Simmssml_3Although I began to put this together in 1983 I  recorded the stories with Steve Gorn in the early 1990's in Boulder, Colorado for NorthWord,My father had died a few years before and the last tale, a true story is about his death and four herons. 
I continue to tell the stories, going deeper hopefully in my capacity to bring them to life without manipulating them  (my attempt).  They feel more relevent today then twenty years ago.  Beside a good story never getting old; they are always fresh when they are brought out, released, and  shared.  But, our need to be reminded of our interdependence with the natural world, our abiding presence as connection - wilderness of our own heart..  is vital to our ability to live on this earth and to lessen the increasing propulsion of violence and greed that are destroying the world.   

One pathway to access that place in ourselves... that is not a place at all, but the open receptivity of direct engagement with our being that is all ready interwoven, part of - is through deep listening to such rich tales. My ever apprecation for your willingness to listen. And for having the good fortune to be a storyteller.  Open your animal eyes and ears..  Tell the stories to someone else.  laura
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Women and Wild Animals - Author Notes Part II

Simmssml_2I have never tired of telling LOK SNOWEDJAS and learning about the story.  My first encounter with it was in Strand Bookstore, where I saw a book  of Moduc
tales printed in 1904, in the wrong area and bought it -  because when I opened it, I read the first line  of a tale, " LOK SNEWEDJAS was a woman during the day but at night she became a bear." it was the final story that I chose at that time.  I  phoned up Ron Evans, a Chippewa-Cree Keeper of the Talking Stick who was living in North Carolina at far from the reservation where he grew up in Saskatchewan. He was building a boat in Barbara Freeman's (a storyteller) driveway far from any water. 

He called me back collect later that day and we spoke for three hours. I told him the story. He listened. I asked about meanings and symbols. He never explained anything to me. But he kept telling me stories, other stories,  anecdotes about his life and being trained to be  a storyteller or being in the bush with old hunters.  I was a bit
frustrated, having always in the back of my mind my seemingly seering questions. 

Finally I asked, "why do you think I chose this story?"   He said, "You did not choose
the story. This story has chosen you."  Getting a bit nervous I said, "Perhaps I should not be telling this Native myth."  He laughed and commanded, "It chose you.
You have to tell it now. Don't be impatient or you will gather a dust storm."

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