Q&A with All Things Considered's Kevin Kling 

NPR's All Things Considered voice, Kevin Kling, will perform with the Storytelling Arts of Indiana at Indiana History Center.

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Although most likely known as that warm, friendly, familiar voice on NPR's All Things Considered, for the rest of his work, Kevin Kling has received numerous grants and awards, including, but not limited to: The National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, The Bush Foundation, The Jerome Foundation. His stories, plays, and stage shows have been heard and recognized around the world.

Kevin will perform for the Storytelling Arts of Indiana at the Frank and Katrina Basile Theater, Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center.

Nuvo: When did you begin telling stories?

Kevin Kling: I think if you are a storyteller you were one your whole life - it just takes someone to bring it to your attention. When I was in college we used to say 'your night before, it was only as good as your ability to tell about it.' I was in the kitchen at a party telling stories, suddenly a theater producer approached me and said, "Would you do that on stage?" I said, "What?" she said, "Just what you did in the kitchen." And that's when I turned professional: same stories, different kitchen.

Nuvo: What is it about the sharing of stories that you appreciate the most? Has that changed since you first started?

Kling: No, it's always about connection, how we belong, how we fit in the world. I'm still thrilled when a kid comes up and says, you're almost as good as my grandpa.

Nuvo: What are you working on now?

Kling: In October I'm opening a show in Minneapolis that's all ghost stories.  I've never told them and I'm really excited.

Nuvo: Do you find it difficult to communicate with certain personality types (i.e. those who do not have a sense of humor, for example), and if so, how do you overcome that? Or do you just hope they'll go away?

Kling: As a storyteller you're never in comfortable territory. That's part of the business. So I immediately look for connections, and I do that with humor. Humor is not universal it's very specific, to a community, to faith, to family, so when we laugh we all know we are of the same people.

Nuvo: Are you excited for your visit to Indianapolis? What are you looking forward to most?

Kling: I'm very excited about my trip to Indianapolis. I've performed in your community on several occasions and always have the best time. Folks in Indiana know about stories, how they work and why we tell them. There's a very savvy audience there, and I can't wait to get back now with some new stuff and let it fly.

Nuvo: What are some of the challenges you've experienced along the road to recovery since your accident?

Kling: Most of the challenges are boring. Frustration, part of the outcome of my accident is I lost the use of my right arm and my left arm has a congenital birth defect. So things like doorknobs, putting on socks, things that I used to take for granted are now some of my biggest challenges. The upshot is that now most of my stories have a focus, a reason, the trajectory. I have often found in curses there are blessings.

Nuvo: For those who wish to follow in your footsteps, what advice can you give?

Kling: Find mentors. Seek out those storytellers that speak to you, and then find out why. Try to emulate them, and then see what sets you apart. Find your unique voice and remember every storytelling is a conversation, a connection, and a search for belonging.
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Nuvo: Is there a story you don't like to tell?

Kling: No. There are times and places where some stories are more appropriate than others but every story is an answer looking for its question.

Nuvo : You've received many grants and awards – have these changed you at all? If so, in what ways?

Kling: I hope not. I'm always surprised that I got the grant. Sometimes I apply for a grant and enough time passes that I forget what I said, and then get it and I have to go back and read it. 'I said I'd do what?' Most of the time I'm very grateful, i.e. I did go into storytelling for the money, and I'm proud to be in the company of the organization, the other recipients, and the family that has accepted what I'm trying to offer.

Nuvo: Is there a story you will never stop telling, and who are your favorite story tellers?

Kling: Favorite is tough to say because when someone nails it - they nail it. ... I love reading, Flannery O'Connor, Louis Erdrich, Mark Twain ... for the written story. I love Jean Shepard, George Carlin, Don Davis, Bill Harley, Clare Murphy, Dovie Thomason, Bil Lepp, Andy Irwin, Minton Sparks ... I could keep going into next week ...

Nuvo: Is 2015 what you envisioned it would be when you were a child (or perhaps a budding story teller)?

Kling: Exactly, I nailed it. Except for flying cars and my condo on Mars.

For more information on Kevin, visit: http://www.kevinkling.com/

Kevin will perform for the Storytelling Arts of Indiana on Saturday, September 19, 2015 at the Frank and Katrina Basile Theater, Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. 

Tickets can be found: http://www.storytellingarts.org/125.html


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