Storyteller La’Ron Williams makes return visit for National Library Week

Donelle Pardee Whiting
La'Ron Williams

For the past 18 years, La’Ron Williams has been sharing his love of stories and the English language through storytelling.

However, Williams said he did not start out wanting to be a storyteller.

“It wasn’t my primary interest,” Williams said. “I was led to telling stories.”

Williams grew up in a working class neighborhood with a lot of displaced residents.

He said a lot of his neighbors were people who moved north from the South.

“We had the biggest porch in the neighborhood,” Williams said, “so people would come and sit and share stories. I developed a love of hearing stories.”

The advent of TV brought a new aspect to Williams, he said, adding there was an amazing contrast at the time.

Williams’ love of a good story took him to youth theater, he said.

He continued in theater through high school and went on to graduate from Eastern Michigan University on a theater scholarship.

Williams said he developed his skill at telling stories while teaching preschool.

He would read a story and eventually had it memorized where he could tell it rather than read.

Part of storytelling for Williams is the tradition of sharing heritage and wisdom.

For centuries before the written word, a culture’s heritage and wisdom were passed down through the spoken word.

“It is the finest expression of keeping things alive,” Williams said.

“We have to come to know and accept the ways in which we are alike,and that we have to use that knowledge not to ascribe hierarchy or to produce winners and losers, but to promote understanding and resolution.”

Williams added that the best storytellers tell how to interact and relate not only with nature and with each other.

Williams incorporates singing, acting and visual art into his storytelling.

He said how he tells the story is based on the audience and what they need to hear.

Some people learn through hearing, while others need more visual stimulus to understand what they are being told, Williams said.

During his telling, Williams will also give different voices to each character.

Williams will share his stories at 10 a.m. Saturday. Later in the day, at 1 p.m., Williams will conduct a writing workshop in the library’s new writing lab.

The lab is not about the technical part of writing, Williams said.

“It is about how to create,” he said, adding it is about how to put an image into words.

“What you write is what you know and what you want to communicate.”

Williams plans to pair participants together to explore the full range of what they want to say and then put it into words.

Because seating is limited for the workshop, reservations are needed. Call the library at 444-2241 to reserve a space.