Living

Caribou native turns storytelling into book

BRUNSWICK and CARIBOU, Maine — Phyllis Blackstone, a storyteller who resides in Brunswick, used the shelter-in-place pandemic time to write down all the stories, real and imagined, she had ever composed. The result is the book “My Storied Life,” which was released by Emerald Lake Books on Nov. 16. 

“When the shelter-in-place mandate was issued in early 2020, I wondered how I would use this extended time. I knew I wanted to organize all the stories I had been telling for years but never wrote down,” Blackstone said. 

“I decided that if COVID took my life, my stories would stay. Through a variety of circumstances, I found Emerald Lake Books, who helped me transform into an author,” she said.  

The book is an eclectic collection of humorous, heartwarming stories of wisdom and truth. 

Blackstone was born in Caribou 72 years ago, the youngest child of a potato farmer. The family moved to Harpswell and Brunswick in the mid-1950s, where Blackstone grew up. After a 43-year career as an educator, she returned to Brunswick in 2018, the town that nourished her and claimed her heart. 

Blackstone said she became a storyteller when, as a novice teacher, the first-graders became antsy. Whenever she said, “Once upon a time,” they all sat down, and she learned the value of storytelling. In fact, storytelling became her preferred teaching tool, from first-graders to graduate students. 

In her retirement, Blackstone tells stories to children, adults, families and senior citizens. From churches and libraries to schools and retirement homes, Blackstone shares folk tales, personal stories and creative fiction. Blackstone is the founder and leader of the Brunswick Area Storytelling Society and leads storytelling at Grampa’s Garden on the third Thursday of each month. 

She belongs to several national and regional storytelling organizations. 

Blackstone can be contacted at phyllis.blackstone@gmail.com. 

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