My Riehlife mission is to create connections through the arts and across cultures. I’m always thrilled to meet multi-talented creative folks. Doris Gardner-McCraw and I both belong to Women Writing the West. I invited her to share some thoughts on how one art discipline feeds into another.
Doris is a storyteller, author, vocalist and acting coach. She performs murder mysteries on the train routes such as Chama, New Mexico.I asked her to us how she manages all these activities. Are her talents and genres linked? Are they channels for different kinds of creative energies, maybe? How are genres themselves linked? For instance, rhythm is a principle that runs throughout all art practices.
Riehlife: Doris, you are multi-talented: as a storyteller, author, vocalist, and acting coach living in Colorado. How did Red Herring, the murder mystery company, that travels in the nearby states hear of your work?
Doris: The Cumbres-Toltec had heard of our work and contacted us to do the train show. It looks like we may do another four ‘moonlight’ trains in 2010.
Riehlife: How do you avoid fencing yourself in?
Doris: How I can do all the different things I do? Well, why not? If you look closely they all are really different facets of the same thing. Each feeds information to the others. For example, when I do a murder mystery I am improvising most of the evening while interacting with the audience. That connects to the historical character performances I do, for they also are interactive. I learn comfort from one and the history I learn while researching feeds into my mystery character information.
While performing on the Cumbres-Toltec I was able to get a real feel for how early railroad passengers felt while riding the rails.
When I write, whether murder mystery scripts, short stories or novels, each and every experience feeds into what I do. The same can be said for the acting and performance classes I teach.
I would also say that I had the gift of parents who never set limits on what I was capable of doing. If I wanted to try something I had their blessing. And that as they say has made all the difference.
You can follow Doris on her two blogs: