An Endless Spool of Yarns

Shawn Shafner
January 11, 2013
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All stories are old.

Some might even say that there’s only ever been one story:

Life and death.

Or maybe that’s death and life?

And maybe love spins its own winding tale. And friendship, too.

But whether there’s ever been one or a few, even new stories are quite old.


The story is woven of many threads.

Every time the story is told, the weaver invents the world anew.

Even as they follow the primordial pattern,

The teller, the listener, the day-time-season-weather—

Something always changes.

New colors, textures, passions appear.


The story is forever young

Walking an old, old path.

Or maybe I wrote that reversed?

The ancient story treads new ground,

And hitchhikes for a ride.


Come along, Story!

Hop in with your Blues and Fires and Spirits.

The time has come to spin

In and out, round and round,

Until we fall down dizzy

And forget the tale

So we can discover it again.

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Shawn Shafner is a theatre-maker, educator, and creator of The People's Own Organic Power Project (, an arts and education organization that promotes critical conversations about sustainable sanitation for the person, planet and world community. He is the recipient of a 2005 Spielberg Fellowship, and has been creating original ritual theater and educational programs with Storahtelling ever since. Shawn has created and facilitated educational programs for all ages, from early childhood audiences to elderly populations. He is currently artist-in-residence at the JCC Manhattan Preschool, works with underprivileged NYC school students as a teaching artist with Arts for All, and writes curriculum for Think-Build-Live Success, a self-empowerment, life skills and employment preparation program in career colleges. Shawn holds a BFA in Drama from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and has trained as an actor in Russia at the St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy, the Institute for Contemporary Art in London, and the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Italy. He spent most of 2008 touring nationally as Pablo in Nickelodeon's The Backyardigans Live!, and his NYC acting credits include performances at Madison Square Garden, Theater Row, Joe's Pub, The Club at La Mama, and Classic Stage Company.

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