Fiction for the Ears:
Storytelling for Shut-Ins

March 30th, 2020

[…] there would be three months of enforced isolation and leisure, between the harvest that takes place just before the rise of the swamps and the clearing of new farms when the water goes down […]. As the swamps rose, the old men found it too difficult the walk from one homestead to the next, and […] as the swamps rose even higher all activities but one came to an end […]. They drank and sang or they drank and told stories.

The above is from “Shakespeare in the Bush” (1966) by anthropologist Laura Bohannan. Recounting the activities of a Nigerian tribe during the rainy season, it serves as a reminder that social isolation is hardly new.

In the past, when nature forced communities inward, people relied on songs and stories to see them through. (And yes, they also drank, but that’s a topic for another post.) We see similar examples throughout history – from the traveling storytellers of Anglo-Saxon mead-halls (see earlier posts An Evening of 21st-Century Scops and  Scop 101) to the bards of ancient Greece.

Thus, to cope with what for us is a new normal, we can revert to the old – the transporting power of song and story.

If this were the Nigerian rainy season depicted in “Shakespeare in the Bush” or a long Anglo-Saxon winter in early Britain, we’d need to gather physically for a storytelling session. But we have other options.

Thanks to the good folks at The Wicked Library, I have a new story to share. It’s titled “The Other Kind,” and it centers on a man who has chosen a life of social isolation, a wounded warrior who finds uncanny meaning in his nightmares.

Are you with me? If so, I’ll meet you in the library. The doors are open. You can enter via Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, the Wicked Library website, or by simply clicking the player below.

Come inside. I have a story to share.

Listen to “TWL 1002: “The Other Kind”, by Lawrence C. Connolly” on Spreaker.


A bushman tribal chief acts out a story as a group of children sit around him, the southern Kalahari Desert in central-southern Africa, 1947. (Photo by Nat Farbman/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

Beowulf in the Mead-Hall by John Henry Frederick Bacon, from Hero Myths and Legends of the British Race, 1910.

The Wicked Library Season 10 artwork by Jeanette Andromeda. 


  1. This entry was posted on Monday, March 30th, 2020 at 8:40 am and is filed under 21st-Century Scop. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.

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