Saying so long to a local treasure
Becky Gehling, Of the Intelligencer August 30, 2002
Posted by MarilynKinsella on 9/13/2002, 75KB
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Marilyn Kinsella, Taleypo the Storyteller. Photo by Becky Gehling/Intelligencer.

Kinsella retires from Edwardsville Library.

For 16 years Taleypo the Storyteller has drawn crowds of children to the Edwardsville Library, mesmerizing them story after story, program after program. The kids love to listen to her tales and she lives to tell them, but Marilyn Kinsella, who has been Taleypo to the community for over a decade is retiring from the Edwardsville Public Library.

Storytelling began for Kinsella in 1981 while teaching second grade. She noticed that some teachers had a "hook" they brought into the classroom that broke up the monotony of bookwork through creativity.

"Some teachers could play guitar or bring art into the classroom," said Kinsella. "They just had a hook."

Soon after that observation, Kinsella witnessed a storyteller, and knew she had her hook.

"I had no idea how to tell a story," said Kinsella. "I just had the desire."

Kinsella quickly took action on her newfound love, and traveled to Jonesboro, Tenn. for her first workshop on the craft. On the way home, she met a woman traveling on the same bus that helped shape the philosophy of her storytelling. Kinsella said she took one look at the woman with her wispy white hair and blue baseball cap and knew she had a story to tell.

The woman told Kinsella about a Japanese artist that used strips of colorful clothing to create artistic masterpieces. She advised Kinsella to think of her storytelling as just one piece of colorful cloth in her working piece of art. She explained that other pieces of complimenting hues will surface, representing other areas of skill in her life. The pieces will blend and accent her storytelling, creating a rounded, colorful life.

Indeed, Kinsella's storytelling led to other skills and endeavors, many which began when she accepted a storyteller job at the Edwardsville Public Library.

"Becoming a storyteller opened up so many things in my life," she said. "I developed into a writer, poet, calligrapher, puppeteer, painter, director and more. Everything always comes back to the storytelling."

The library as well as supportive co-workers became a source of inspiration for Kinsella, who began her job with 20 stories and is leaving with over 120 stories and 20 puppet plays.

In her 16 years of service to the library, Kinsella said her greatest accomplishment was expanding the storytelling audience to include not only children but families and senior citizens.

Edwardsville resident Mark Koester, 22, vividly remembers his family making trips to hear the tales of Taleypo.

"I can remember first moving to Edwardsville at age 6 and going to the library with my brother and sister Adam and Angela, 8 and 3, respectively. We went to listen to Taleypo and check out books three times a week," said Koester. "Taleypo was truly an asset to the library, as well as the community, and will be missed."

As residents will have a difficult time seeing her go, Kinsella likewise struggled with the decision to leave the library.

"It's been one of the hardest decisions to make. The library has been so supportive," she said.

While Kinsella is retiring, the stories of Taleypo will not cease. Instead, Kinsella plans to expand her career during retirement. With her new agent, Rich Elsenpeter, Kinsella hopes to stretch her storytelling beyond the perimeters of Illinois and Missouri. Other goals of hers include publishing stories and plays, working in community theater and exploring other genres of storytelling such as Greek mythology and true fairy tales.

She also plans to continue writing personal stories, one of her favorite types of stories to tell.

"To be able to take a bench mark experience and other things that led up to that experience and shape it into a story is the greatest artistic release," said Kinsella.

The Edwardsville Public Library celebrated their 16 years with Kinsella and bid her a successful future with a party conducted in the Children's Room of the library on Wednesday.


ŠEdwardsville Intelligencer 2002