Storyteller: Kevin Kling.

I’m a big fan on Minnesota Public Radio. It’s been a boon during my days commuting back and forth from Mankato for grad school (when I’m not in the middle of a good audiobook, that is), as well as quick trips across town. In particular, I’m a fan of spending my evenings with The Story with Dick Gordon, but that’s a program to praise on a separate post.

Last Monday, during their fall membership drive, MPR pulled out some of their top programming and Midday featured a reading by storyteller Kevin Kling. MPR has the program I heard available for download; check out Kling’s first three stories here and another three stories here (both are streaming Real Audio links). The stories are funny and interesting, plus some feature Minnesota-centricity, which I’m a sucker for (a story involving his brother’s bachelor party during a Minnesota Twins game at the Metrodome is a laugh-out-loud riot. Behind the content, however, making these stories worth knowing and passing along, is Kling’s storytelling ability.

Storytelling is all about selling it – confidence, confidence, confidence. A storyteller who exudes confidence can mess up royally and his audience will still be with him because they know the storyteller is apt to get back on track without much effort. Kling’s delivery isn’t perfect. He flubs words here and there, he stops himself to add bits to the stories, and he speaks with the speed of a man sentenced to death. But Kling clearly has passion for his material, for the stories he’s culminated over his lifetime and written down for the world, and he sells it. He has defined passion for telling stories with a delivery that’s every bit as compassionate as their content. Kling’s storytelling comes from a place of truth, and that’s what makes his stories so gripping, tension-filled, and when they come to a close, cathartic. Listen and consider how you can apply his passion for storytelling to your own performance or when reading your writing out loud.

Kling’s new book, The Dog Says How, is out now. Think the eccentric tales of David Sedaris meets the homespun yarns of Garrison Keillor. I’ll be picking up a copy soon and if you’re not sure where to put your book money nowadays, you could do much worse than Kevin Kling.


[tags]Kevin Kling, Minnesota Public Radio, storytelling, selling it[/tags]

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