Bill Ratner

  • 18909_414987561907147_556102770_n
  • Nine-time winner of The Moth Story Slams with spoken-word performances featured on National Public Radio’s Good Food, The Business, and KCRW’s Strangers.
  • Published personal essays and short stories: The Missouri Review, The Baltimore Review, Hobo Pancakes, FeminineCollective.com, Blue Lake Review, Spork Press, Niteblade, Papier Maché Press, and Wolfsinger Publications.
  • Author of the book Parenting for the Digital Age: The Truth behind Media’s Effect on Children and What To Do About It from Familius Press.
  • Voiceover performer on movie trailers, documentaries, commercials, and cartoons.

What is it about the personal story, a story form practiced since ancient times, that makes it increasingly popular in today’s world in which we rely increasingly on technological means of storytelling? What motivates writers and performers to utilize the “self” as artistic source material? What compels the creator to tell personal stories? What attracts an audience? How can the personal story serve as a potential tool for personal healing and reconciliation? What elements make a personal story a compelling, engaging entertainment or practical tool? And can the personal story serve as an agent of social change? These are the questions which concern me and which I am attempting to answer in my Transart PhD study, practice, and research.

http://www.billratner.com/storytelling.html
http://www.youtube.com/billratner

Art & Research Interests
The art of personal storytelling is undergoing a renaissance. From “true” personal storytelling stage shows and radio programs, e.g. The Moth Storytelling Hour and This American Life, to the increased popularity of the personal memoir, personal storytelling is fulfilling a need in both creators and audiences. Utilized by teachers in school classrooms, prisons, senior centers, and therapy groups as a healing modality, personal storytelling is also aiding in reconciliation outreach efforts in South Africa (Truth and Reconciliation Project) Gaza Strip, Uganda, Los Angeles Unified School District, etc.   Transart PhD study: What compels storytellers to tell their personal stories, and what happens to them while they are telling their story? What compels an audience to listen to personal stories, and what happens as they hear the tellers’ stories? What motivates writers and performers to utilize the “self” as artistic source material? How can the personal story serve as a tool for personal healing and social change?

Keywords
storytelling, reconciliation efforts, narrative therapy, social change

css.php