Cap’s Off to You! – Wright Clarkson, StoryGuy (Posthumously) and Celebrating Story

Featuring: Wright Clarkson, StoryGuy

Playful Musician, Nature-Loving Storyteller, Engaging Teaching Artist

Wright Clarkson was all over the place in North Carolina. From universities to libraries to schools, he was there. He extended into South Carolina, too, and got out to California and Florida to tell stories. People could call him Wright Clarkson…but he enjoyed “StoryGuy.”

He had close friends who would camp and hike with him. Sometimes six days or more of adventures and seeing where to rest their heads next. One of places that he shared stories was at the Reedy Creek Park and Nature Center. Then, instead of being contained in some stuffy room, he could breathe deep and tell among the trees and the breeze.

He admitted to people that he didn’t take many pictures or think about being filmed. He was “being.” So, it was hard to find any video of him telling stories. Scouring the Internet provided no answers. With some pictures, we created a simple 1-minute video to at least honor this storyteller. One does not need to be filmed to be remembered.

Besides, as you’ll see with the students, he loved teaching about the art of storytelling. He did other arts, too. He could sing, play many instruments with the guitar being most visible, and even did some playwrighting and voiceover work. He connected with businesses so they could discover their stories and find the meaning behind their services.

Then, in 2013, he needed a liver transplant and was blessed with a donor. He brought the gift of storytelling and music for 10 more years.

What have you done lately with your gift on this Earth? Wright Clarkson made sure to pay it forward. We can all do that as a way to honor him.

If you have links to add – video, audio, articles – please share by emailing or commenting on this blog post.

You can see more details on Wright Clarkson, Story Guy, with the Story Artists Memorial.

The video below shares a few pictures accompanied by some music. We hope that someone will share more with us or guide to where we can hear his actual voice.

Do you know a Story Artist who has passed on and want others to remember them? Memories? Pictures? You can submit names and memories of Story Artists who have passed on through our online form. 

I appreciate Wright Clarkson for the way he continued forth and had an attitude of gratitude that manifested itself through his stories and music. I will need to seek him out after this time on Earth.

Wright Clarkson, StoryGuy, still has a story. You have a story. We all have stories.

Cap’s Off to You! – Michael Parent (Posthumously) and Celebrating Story

Featuring: Michael Parent

Quick-Witted Storyteller, Mesmerizing Musician, Juggler of Life

Knowing a little French is helpful when enjoying Michael Parent’s performances. Yes, he would translate and give hints. He told people that his grandparents only spoke French so that the way to show respect was to speak to them only in French. I find myself refreshing on my 5+ years of French in middle school and high school as a small way to honor Michael and his heritage.

He grew up in Lewiston, Maine. The French-Canadian upbringing infused all that he did with performance. And for this, it could be no surprise that he was heavily involved in hockey. He did wish to “invent a career.” Back in 1977, there were not a lot of professional storytellers. He was inspired by Brother Blue and realized that all of his stories and songs and juggling could turn into something more.

Many people have shared that it took a little time to understand or know Michael. He had a way of saying things that jolted you. Yet, a few moments later, understanding came. Love grew. And the audiences? They couldn’t get enough of this wonderful man.

Then, one day, Michael got Parkinson’s disease. Storytellers and community members scrambled to raise funds to provide a way to bring comfort as a way to say thank you to him.

Despite all his accomplishments, which are many and include the ORACLE – Circle of Excellence through the National Storytelling Network, he did ask for these lines to be shared (and were specifically shared in his obituary): He did the best he could. He loved people and enjoyed being alive.

The big question. What do those requested lines mean to you? Have you pondered it?

Although he passed away on May 5, 2023, his memorial will actually not happen until September 2023. We have time to ponder those words and see how, if at all, these words connect to us.

If you have links to add – video, audio, articles – please share by emailing or commenting on this blog post.

You can see more details on Michael Parent with the Story Artists Memorial.

The videos below involving Michael Parent are a mix of performance and interview. There are really parts 1 and 2. The year it first premiered is unknown though it has been a while back.

Do you know a Story Artist who has passed on and want others to remember them? Memories? Pictures? You can submit names and memories of Story Artists who have passed on through our online form. 

I appreciate Michael Parent for the way he shared his French-Canadian upbringings as if we were in on a great secret that was never meant to be a secret. His tapping and music could already be enough to entrance. Then, he added his voice. I look forward to seeing him perform again when reunited on the other side.

Michael still has a story. You have a story. We all have stories.

Z is for Zennor’s Cherry vs. Curiosity

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge ( The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Finding Resilience & Strength through Traditional Tales.

Zennor’s Cherry vs. Curiosity –

From Cornwall (Celtic)

Saying something is “Celtic” can be troublesome. Many countries are typically linked with Celtic culture. Many languages are within this world, not just one. Yet, here are some basics:

  • Common countries are Ireland, Wales, Scotland as well as Isle of Man, Cornwall (southwest of England), Brittany (northwest of France), Galtcia, and Asturias
  • Languages are distinct per country/area and, at one time, there were 16. However, only 6 Celtic languages are spoken now: Irish, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Breton, Cornish, and Welsh.
  • Timeframe of Celtic Culture would be about the Late Bronze Age through the Iron Age (700 BC to 400 BC…but some also say 1000 BC).

As for Zennor itself, this is part of Cornwall. Today, this area has about 196 in population. It’s about 6 miles north of Penzance (yes, the same for Pirates of Penzance musical).

50-word-or-less summary

Cherry from Zennor sought fortune. Give up? Man invited Cherry to care for Son. Took Son to spring, milked cow, placed ointment on Son’s eyes. Given tour of home. Frightening. Man gave drink so Cherry forgets. Loveliness. Cherry tried ointment. Saw little people including Man. Banished kindly. Cherry cherished story.

Finding the Story: 

Book Celtic Fairytales: Sixteen mystical myths and legends from the Celtic landshere

Book Cherry of Zennor: A Cornish Folk-lore Poem by the late A. Trevosso Hockinghere

Book The Adventure of Cherry of Zennorhere

The Strange Story of Cherry Honey – here

Finding Resilience & Strength:

Cherry was part of a big family. She had 9 siblings plus her parents. It was a little crowded in that 2-room hut. That takes strength, resilience…and patience and teamwork.

She decides it’s time to seek her fortune. Usually, in these folk or fairy tales, we don’t see the struggle. Someone goes on a journey and then comes upon the adventures. What about those who want to quit and turn around. Cherry was about to turn around. Then, the opportunity came. Instead of choosing to continue her plan to quit, she took a chance.

She was introduced to a magical home. It was strange enough to excite her curiosity. Of course, when someone says to not put the ointment on your own eyes will the main character eventually place it on their eyes. We cannot blame Cherry’s curiosity.

What I like is that she is then able to return to her home yet still take walks near the area and reflect on the strange yet wonderful experience. There is some sadness but also some happiness for having the experience in the first place.

And to think…she almost would not have that story at all if she had turned around.

Here is an article from TalkSpace called “How to Escape an ‘I Give Up’ Mindset” to explore mental health strategies. And hey, there can always be that “I Give Up” when doing this A to Z Challenge. But…we did it! Hurrah!

Please share thoughts in the comments. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings. See quick list of programs here.

As for our past A to Z Challenges…

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has been resilient and strong during these past years and looks forward to the next hybrid summit & festival on May 8-11, 2023. We would be honored for you to join us. Explore the schedule and register here:

Thanks to funding from National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Western States Arts Federation; Utah Division of Arts and Museums/Utah Legislature; Utah Humanities; City of Murray; Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP) of Salt Lake County; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Ashton Family Foundation