Naomi: What is your dream job and why?
Charles: The one I am doing—being a storyteller. Well, OK, I’d like to be a published author too. In either case, I usually don’t have to get out of bed before 9:00am.
Naomi: What blogs should we be reading?
Charles: SurLaLune Fairy Tales . This is not a blog, but there is a discussion forum on fairy tales. I am more interested in the site which features annotated fairy tales, fairy tale books and illustration. There are numerous annotated fairy tales, which includes their histories, similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations and over 1,500 illustrations. Also there are over 1,600 folktales & fairy tales from around the world in more than 40 full-text eBooks. There is also a useful article, “Introduction to Fairy Tale Studies,” plus an FAQ.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Charles: Parkland Area Community Library. I like it because its “my” library. I get in and out of quite a few libraries with storytelling and my “Mark Twain” show. Most are superior to the Parkland, but they are not “my” library.
Naomi: Favorite book(s)?
Charles: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll. “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle (and the other Holmes novels). “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. (Opps, I think I have given away that I am an Anglophile.)
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries?
Charles: Being a storyteller and a Twain impersonator, I am aware of the community center aspect of libraries, serving their area with quality programs. As e-readers become common, and people expect to carry their personal libraries with them, this community center aspect might become more important, and a bigger part of a library’s mission.
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Charles: Be at the right place at the right time. I once got a job as an archivist on the mistaken notion they had a position, which they didn’t when I asked for an interview, but did (a grant came through) when I showed up.
Storyteller Charles Kiernan, now retired from gainful employment, performs at theatres, listening clubs, schools, libraries, and arts festivals. He is also coordinator for the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild, Pennsylvania State Representative for the National Youth Storytelling Showcase, Pennsylvania State Liaison for the National Storytelling Network and recipient of the 2008 Individual Artist Award from the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission.
He has, of late, been fobbing himself off as Mark Twain with some success. Twain is wont to ramble on about his boyhood memories, the newspaper publishing business, life on the Mississippi and frogs. Mostly, though, he likes to talk about the river.
Charles also takes great pleasure in telling Brothers Grimm fairy tales. While most people can name a handful of Grimm tales, there are over two hundred stories that the brothers collected. Some real gems are not commonly heard.