An instant classic from a man equally at home as a man of the earth and a man of the arts.
“Michael Cotter's stories ring with universal truths and values common to every society, whether agrarian like his own, or urban. His settings celebrate the farming life, and his themes touch every heart. Only a generous spirit could have written these affecting stories, penned by one of the most gracious people I've had the honor to know.”
—Jimmy Neil Smith, Founder of the National Storytelling Festival (USA)
“So genuinely real are Michael Cotter's stories that they make me miss people I never knew and the farm where I never grew up! This book is a wonderful form of magical transportation!”
—Donald Davis, storyteller, author, and teaching artist, Ocracoke, N.C.
“Though the language is plain and silence fills spaces between people in his stories, Michael's awareness is breath-taking. He honors those who find meaning in labor, honor in duty, consolation in loss, and beauty in tenderness. His stories reveal that connections we long for are there to shatter our solitude and isolation, to strengthen community, to teach us how to live in the healing power of stories.”
—Carol Birch, Circle of Excellence storyteller, author, recording artist, Southbury CT
“Michael Cotter's stories have the unmistakable beauty of observation that arises from an honest, hardworking person who sees perhaps more clearly than most, and who tells the truth he sees. They remind us that our stories are the only real thing in the world. I am a city girl but in each of these farm stories, I found a piece of myself.”
—Joyce Slater, Artistic Director, Kansas City Storytelling Celebration
“Michael Cotter’s voice is wise and real. In this book, he reflects upon what is truly important in his life, and in ours.”
—Ben Rosenfield, PhD, storyteller, retired school principal, and past president, Northlands Storytelling Network
Hardcover • $28.00 • 978-1-62491-060-9
Trade Paperback • $18.00 • 978-1-62491-042-5
240 Pages @ 5.5” x 8.5”
Ebook • $12.50 • 978-1-62491-043-2
"I was born on a farm in the Depression. A strong work ethic and responsibility were always a part of my life.The dinner table of my youth often contained a mixture of hoboes who worked on the farm and became part of our family, the neighbors on the threshing crew, teachers, missionaries, doctors, Catholic nuns and priests in my mother’s family - all stopping on the farm for dinner and trying to connect with their stories.
Forty years later, when I became a storyteller, I found myself revisiting these early experiences of people who didn’t match at all, finding common ground in their life stories. Because this was the only type of storytelling that I knew, I began telling stories from my life. I learned that as I told these memories, I would look at them in a new way. In the feedback from the audience and the other tellers, I began to see the healing power of sharing those personal stories.
This came into focus in 1990 when I was invited to conduct a workshop with terminally ill people where I learned that we can be healed without being cured. This brought me to the place where I am now, where I believe that the personal story has a great self-healing potential. And, of course, as we heal ourselves, the people around us are also changed."