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How I fell in Love.. with storytelling


John Wylder became interested in story telling when he and a couple of his cousins would sit outside in the summer listening Jean Shepherd on the radio. Shep, of A Christmas Story fame, would tell tales of growing up in the fictionalized version of Hohman, Indiana. From there John fell in love with short stories and storytelling.

He developed his own stories by studying and listening to the people around him. Throughout his life he has found people are more than willing to exchange stories and share experiences. As a third generation American, he found it important to try and capture the Coming to America stories of his immigrant grandparents.

During his long business career he took several classes in public speaking and was often asked to be the keynote speaker at meetings. As his career progressed he occasionally appeared on television shows as a spokesperson while working for technology companies.   One of his peers once said “I may not always agree with what he says, but I always want to listen to him say it.”

Upon his retirement John set about trying to write a memoir and instead found his voice as a storyteller. He started entering and winning Story Slams for The MOTH and then has expanded his audience to include the Portland Storytellers Guild as well as other organizations. His current project is creating a video memoir, Wyld Stories on FaceBook.

John will be part of the Portland Storytellers’ Guild October 7 show: Edge of Illusion: Magic, Mystery, and Moments of Surprise. He says, “I will be telling a story I call, The Three Act Play. It is about a key moment in my life where a chance meeting with someone changes everything. I grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and had just graduated high school and had a late summer romance before college. The first act was a star-crossed romance, one that would end badly. The second act was a dark historical tragedy. The third act of the story was a comedy, and as the Bard said, All’s well that ends well. Along the way I met a cast of characters that would include a Romany fortuneteller who had emigrated from Europe after WWII. Other characters include meeting the lov”e of my life and finally learning what true love is. The story is all true and it is one that affects me even today.

Get tickets for Edge of Illusion: Magic, Mystery, and Moments of Surprise here for Saturday, October 7 at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm) in the Clinton Street Theater.

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