It didn't seem like a dangerous situation. I was telling stories at a green-hilled conference center. The balmy Virginia weather was relaxing the Boston winter's grip on my body. The audience of storytelling enthusiasts was welcoming and supportive.
Then, out of the crowd, I noticed one shining face. That happens sometimes: a listener's face seems to gather all the power of a story and reflect it back like a golden mirror. When that happens, I know I've gotten my story across. More, I know I've been seen; I've made a connection.
Little did I know where that moment of connection would lead me.
Until that day, I had been a full-time resident of the "storytelling world," performing and teaching in colleges, conferences, and festivals -- in any corner where interest in story had taken root. Since the first National Storytelling Festival in 1973, enough of these venues had sprung up to support a few hundred full-time storytellers in the U.S. Along with the tens of thousands who told part-time for money, as a hobby, or who just came to listen, tellers like me constituted the "storytelling revival."