Adam Booth is an award-winning storyteller, musician, and educator who has been speaking at the Appalachian Festival for four years. His speech on Friday the 19th was incredibly interesting. Adam wants people to understand how diverse the Appalachian area is. Through media, many people stereotype the people who live in Appalachia. The stereotypes can be true for some, but it is a much more diverse area than people are led to believe. The lore or stories that have come out of the Appalachian area are very diverse, as well.
However, many people nowadays don’t know what Appalachian stories are. The community isn’t telling stories as it has in the past. He stated that when we stop telling stories, “we have a plant that produces no seeds.”
Technology is letting “outsiders” tell our stories for us. The outsiders are telling us stories that we believe are true. He uses corporate America as an example. Corporate America is constantly telling Americans how convenience is better for us; however, convenience is typically only better at the present time. He says, “there’s a danger when we stop telling our stories and let others tell our stories for us; even worse when we let them tell our stories to us.”
Many of the stories in the past have been changed so much that people don’t know the original story anymore. One of the problems is that oration changes and grows. It adapts to however people tell the story. The second problem is stories are now written as books and then become adapted to oration. Outsiders think that a story they hear is the original orated version, but it’s actually literature.
Adam wants us to stop telling stories made by outsiders and begin telling stories within our community. He ends with, “our stories of today are going to be the folklore of our descendants.”