I decided to tell a version of my novella The Dragon Bone Flute. I've recounted that tale maybe half-a-dozen times in front of an audience, but it's always gotten good reactions. Also, the day was warm, I hadn't slept well the night before, and after cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night from a sick nine year old, I was a bit grouchy. My first two shows went really well, but I didn't have the energy to pull off the story I usually end the day/faire with: "The True Life Story of How I Invented the Game of Golf." I'd spent most of what I had on "Jack o' the Lantern" earlier in the day. So, I decided to go with something a little more mellow and different that what I usually do on stage.
About five minutes into the story, the world around me seemed to fade away. I wasn't even really aware of anything else in the world, not even really myself. There was just this story that I stumbled into, and it didn't let me go until after I finished bringing it into the world. I had no idea what the audience's reaction was. I didn't notice any potential distractions, though supposedly someone handed me money in the middle of the show. I finished the story and did the hawk for my hat, and even that seemed different than normal. I think the only reason I was able to ask for money at the end of my show was from pure habit of having done it for the better part of twenty years. People came up and put money in my bag. I shook people's hands, and I think I said, "Thank you." My breathing was shallow, and I was exhausted. The telling of that tale seemed to drain me of emotion. I found myself alone, sitting on the stage steps. I collected my things and walked away.
I got about a hundred feet from the stage, when I stopped and cried. I'd been a part of something I'd never experienced before. It felt as though I'd been Elzibeth falling asleep in the Dragon's cave and that I summoned the music that created magic. I remember thinking, "What did I just do, and how can I do it again?" The rest of the afternoon/evening, I would randomly have fits where the emotion of the experience would rise up again, and my eyes would start tearing up.
People who I don't remember being in my show came up to me later, complimenting me. My friend Don Hardy, who plays William Shakespeare, had passed my stage going from one of his set gigs to another. He mentioned that even passing by, my show looked so visually different that what I normally do that it seemed mesmerizing, and he asked himself, "What the hell is he doing up there?" In a good way, of course. He had wanted to stop and watch, but being a named historical figure, his schedule is pretty much dictated for him.
Reading back over this post, I'm not doing the experience any justice. I guess "The Dragon Bone Flute" is just going to have to become part of my weekend story rotation so I can see if I can get to that place again.