Love of a Storyteller – interview with Rolland Love (22 March 2012)

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Introduction

Rolland wrote to me some time ago with a new resource he has developed for storytellers. I asked if he would like to be interviewed and he agreed. Without further ado, let me introduce you to Rolland Love …


Aneeta: Rolland, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Rolland: Your welcome, Aneeta.

Aneeta: Let’s start with something about you. Please tell me where you were born, where did you grow up, what do you do for a living and where do you live now?

Rolland: I was born in Summersville, Missouri and grew up in the Ozark Mountains. Currently I live in Overland Park, Kansas.

What I do for a living now is teach writing, storytelling, journaling and Lewis and Clark workshops for Kids.  I also created a workshop to motivate Senior Adults too write their life story.

My partner Mark Andersen, who is a software developer and Artic Explorer have expanded that into a website that includes children writing the life stories of their parents and grandparents. The result is increased communications between youth and seniors, something which has been lost with the advent of texting and the Internet.  My last class had (120) – 3rd grade students.  There are (40) million seniors over the age of (65) in the United States most of whom have recorded nothing about their history. As Mark Twain once said, “There has never yet been an uninteresting life.”

I have made presentations to Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Camp Fire USA, Schools, Libraries, Retirement and Assisted Living Facilities, Churches, Business and Civic Groups … ✎ I have had stage and film roles as a villain and a monk, I played John Calvin McCoy, founder of Westport Missouri and in 2004 during the Lewis and Clark bicentennial I was Silas Goodrich, Expert Fisherman.  I play a standardized patient at Kansas and Missouri University Medical Schools. I was a doctor on Discovery Channels – Mystery Diagnosis and played the role of Major John Neelly in a stage production about the death of Meriwether Lewis.  I also co-founded an educational software company and I have published (3) novels, (40) award winning short stories, a best selling computer book and I co-authored an award-winning cookbook.  I was the Director of Respiratory Care at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, a 1,400 bed teaching institution affiliated with Washing University.

Aneeta: Let’s talk about your website – http://imastory.com. How does it work?

Rolland: Imastory is a free, easy to use website that prompts users to write their life story. Here is a typical response we received from a parent about using the program with young children.

“Dear Imastory publishers, I watched the Imastory tutorial and I LOVE your idea! My son is in grade 2 and he is really enjoying writing and would really like what you all have created.  It would be great to get some of our family heritage in writing. I’d like to also see if my sons school will use your program. Thanks for sharing!” Hilda

“Response to Hilda. One way to work with your son on Imastory is, you log into the program, create a story and use the writer’s block and helpful hints as aids. If need be you can type in whatever you son tells you and strike up some interesting conversation. Here’s something you might consider as a school project. Get other parents working with their children entering stories into the Imastory data base and set it up so those you select can be co-authors, sharing their knowledge and wisdom which is an interesting and powerful educational tool. We have created a number of safety aspects into imaStory, in addition to a “story flagging” feature the content can be monitored and everything edited or deleted at anytime. All that needs to be learned to use Imastory can be done in about 30 minutes and the stories used for many years.

Aneeta: There is something on your website called ‘story mapping’. Can you please explain what you mean by this?

Rolland: Story mapping is a method to link stories, authors and places together.

Aneeta: Naturally, your work will involve many elements of storytelling. Which element would you like to see most in the stories uploaded?

Rolland: Debra from France says it best in her testimonial. Your site is a great, valuable idea and I wish you enormous success with it!  I perused some of the stories, and it’s refreshing to read “ordinary” people talking about their extra-ordinary lives.  So many details of who we are as human beings are lost because no one gives an ear to people who are not writers. Imastory.com is a tremendous service to humanity. All the best, Debra, Linkedin Member – France

Aneeta: What advice would you give those who would like to venture into storytelling?

Rolland: If you’re just breaking into storytelling speaking in front of strangers think of these simple things. Tell a story about something, which you are familiar. Maybe something you have told a version of before and got a good response. People liked what you had to say, smiled and laughed and clapped afterwards. And for goodness sakes don’t speak too quickly– don’t worry about a long pause. When you’re the one speaking/performing a pause of ten seconds can feel like an hour, but it’s not really, during that time smile, maybe nod you head at someone in the audience who seems to like what you’ve got to say …

One of the most important things is take a deep breath periodically and relax.

Aneeta: Rolland, this is all I have to ask. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Rolland: And you as well, Aneeta. Here is a final word about http://imastory.com If every school in the world would take advantage of this free and simple to use website Mark and I have created that prompts children to interview their parents and grandparents the communication gap between young and old would be much less and more wisdom would be shared. If you try IMASTORY and it doesn’t work exactly the way we have described, we’ll refund your money.

I’m also working on my project to get more children to interview and write the life stories of their parents and grandparents. If you are aware of any teachers who might want to help, please pass along the idea. Imastory is fun, free, easy to use  and has a Lesson Plan for educators and a question guideline for students. The program provides a tool for schools, churches, not-for-profits and other organizations for creating not only life stories but also a friendlier and more productive community environment. The stories created can be printed and the books sold to friends and families as fundraisers.

Aneeta: Thank you, Rolland.

Rolland: And you as well, Aneeta. I appreciate your time and giving Mark and I the exposure.


This piece may NOT be freely reprinted. Please contact editor @ howtotellagreatstory.com for reprint rights.

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