Wylder enjoys second career as storyteller
John Wylder says he had a "steady and unspectacular climb" in the banking industry during his first career. He spent 25 years in banking, from the first day out of college until the day he was forced into an "involuntary sabbatical."
Then, not yet ready for retirement, he worked as a consultant, computer security professional, tour guide and technical writer with major corporations, until one wet and cold January day he decided he had had enough. It was time to do something else.
Knowing he would need a regular activity, Wylder turned to writing.
He enrolled in Literary Arts classes and wrote about his long and varied career and his family history. "You've got talent," said an instructor, a nationally recognized storyteller. He kept at it; the practice lead to readings at Oregon Public Broadcasting's The Moth, at which storytellers read their work and audiences judge which story is best.
"(For The Moth), the story has to be true, it must have a beginning, middle and end and it must be about you and on theme," Wylder said. Storytellers selected to read have just five minutes to present their work for the audience.
Wylder has attended more than two dozen Moth presentations, has been selected to read at half of them and has won several Moth competitions.
Wishing to hone his skills even further he joined the Portland Storyteller Guild.
"The guild has provided a great education," Wylder says. "They are dedicated to the craft of storytelling and each month gather to critique and give insight into each other's readings." Through PSG, not only has Wylder's writing and storytelling skills improved, he is launching a whole new career as a storyteller, and is switching from print to video media with a UTube channel.
Wylder will participate in Portland Storytellers Guild's "Edge of Illusion: Magic, Mystery and Moments of Surprise" Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Clinton Street Theater in Portland. Appearing with him are Will Hornyak, Kriya Kaping and Ingrid Nixon, who will all "explore those moments in stories of precious water, atonement sought, wildness encountered and fortunes foretold."
These storytellers are no strangers to the stage.
Promotional material from PSG says that during the evening of storytelling "you will learn of dreams and fishes, how chance encounters can conjure up powerful memories, how a wild creature raises questions about what it is to be human and explore life in three acts."
Hornyak is said to weave a wide web of oral traditions into engaging performances, workshops and classes. He teaches storytelling in professional communication at Marylhurst University and assists corporate and nonprofit organizations in telling the stories that reflect their values, vision and mission.
Kaping uses her love of storytelling as an outreach and communications specialist in supporting organizations and individuals to share narratives that foster community ties and personal involvement. She believes that story by story, communities are strengthened and build connection through the power of shared personal narratives.
Nixon has a strong affinity for wild places and the creatures that inhabit them. She lived in Alaska for more than two decades working for much of that time as a National Park Service ranger. These days she is a professional storyteller who tells stories on expeditions around the world and at venues around the country.
As a third-generation American, Wylder finds it important to try and capture the "Coming to America" stories of his immigrant grandparents.
Tickets to "Edge of Illusion" are $12 on line at cstpdx-com.seatengine.com/shows/63117, or $15 at the door.
Clinton Street Theater is located at 2522 SE Clinton St., Portland OR 97202.
If you are unable to attend "Edge of Illusion" you can catch Wylder Oct. 24 at the Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland OR 97202 in a PSG Grand Slam, where he will compete against 10 other StorySlam winners.
"This is raising the stakes," he said. "You have to use a new story and the competition will be tough."
To learn more about that competition and Portland Storytellers Guild visit portlandstorytellers.org.
Visit Facebook/JohnWylder to view "Wyld Stories," Wylder's video memoir.