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Kriya Kaping: Born with It

I believe we are born with stories flowing through our blood. Or maybe these tales happen even before our birth, materializing the moment when the genetic blocks start building us. The story might be contained in the DNA that structures the body-house we will live in and animate for all our lives. Probably like you, I come from ancestors that passed on all of the joy, pain and sacrifice that is the immigrant experience. As the next generation, I knew to make good on that investment, I was to tell about those family traditions, superstitions, and ambitious dreams. So, as soon as I could remember, I started spinning yarns. And because little children rarely have enraptured adult audiences, unless they are caught telling fibs (which really is just good fiction), I stared telling stories to the best crowd a kid could knew, the faceless faces outside my window.

My childhood daybed was the right height for show biz. When I stood on the bed, my torso was perfectly framed by the large bedroom window that looked onto the front yard. I had a stage that bounced and gave extra movement as I made the grand gestures that emphasized the ups and downs of my plot. The square of the picture window perfectly framed my performance, like a movie camera frame, and the lighting was ideal right at dusk. No matter how big a star you are, you really have to rely on good lighting. What a sight I must have been for the cars driving down my neighborhood street. If they paid any attentional at all, they would see this kid mouthing words with great enthusiasm as she bounced up and down, hands swirling in circles of motion. But I wasn’t just an actor, if that’s what they wondered, those curious commuters that drove by my un-shuttered window – I was a storyteller.

The stage has changed overtime into something a bit more stable than a daybed. The crowds have transformed from the imagined, to real patrons of the art of personal narrative. However, the joy of telling my own story has never changed. I’m lucky to share my story with you at the Portland Storytellers’ Guild show. Thank you for playing a part in making a childhood dream become an adult passion.

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