I performed Gimpel the Fool at the Northlands Confabulation – a storytelling conference – in Wisconsin this past weekend.

I  read this story by Isaac Bashevis Singer about 40 years ago.  I think I revisited it some years later.  Over time, the message stayed with me, but not the details.  So when I learned I would be doing a fringe performance of Gimpel at Northlands, I pulled my book off the shelf and began rereading the story for the first time in decades.  YIKES!  I had completely forgotten all those juicy but very earthy details.  I was alarmed.  Could I really do this?  But great literature is great literature.  I believed in the story and gave it the respect it deserved … and I am happy to report all went well.

After the show I did a few minutes of Q & A which helped me transition back to me after a deeply committed involvement into Gimpel’s character.  Now I am back – physically in Florida and mentally – and working on more stories.

Gimple the Fool by Issac Bashavis Singer is one of my all time favorite stories.  Last year, I picked up my  worn out copy and as I reread the pages I thought “Hmmmm … I could tell this.  OK – do it right.”   So I contacted the agency that represents Singer’s work and  letters went back and forth. The outcome was I got permission to perform it … which I will …. at the Northlands Storytelling Conference in Wisconsin on April 29th.

Immediately I began preparing – it is no small thing to memorize such a long story.  As the weeks go by, I am more and more in character – so much so, that I find   myself speaking Gimpeleese … It is a strange phenomenon.  This fictitious character has become my companion!

So it is with great stories, we live in them and they live in us.




Welcome to my new website – which was so much fun to work on.  I especially hope you enjoy the pictures – an insight to the silliness that is often my life.  From time to time I will update this blog and keep you apprised of my gigs and other doings.

For today, let me tell you about a delightful surprise I had.  Maybe you have heard of Just Plain Folks?  Hmmmm – maybe not.  Here is a blurb from their website:

The Just Plain Folks Music Awards — what started as an informal way to recognize our best member submissions has grown into the largest Music Awards program in the world! We’ve screened more than 1,400,000+ songs and 111,000+ albums in 100+ genres from over 185 countries to honor the very best works of our members. Our volunteer judges include industry professionals, peers and music fans. Our sole criteria for judging is “Does it move you?

So …  I got an email from my coach/friend/colleague, Andy Offutt Irwin – who said,

Madeline! Two of your albums are nominated for Just Plain Folks Awards!  How ‘bout them apples!

Yes indeed, how ‘bout them apples.  I am honored to be in the company of the great storytellers who have inspired me…

Andy Offutt Irwin, Kim Weitkamp Gum. Geraldine Buckley. Robin Schulte, Bill Harley…and others.  I will let you know what happens.