My Story

One evening I performed a story at a coffee shop about a stonecutter who wished to be rich and powerful. After my performance, a man approached me and said the story held particular meaning for him because he had worked as a stonecutter, cutting and laying stone for San Diego’s Petco Park. He could relate to the hardworking stonecutter who wanted an easier life.

It was one of the first times in the beginning of my storytelling performances when I really felt the joy of story connecting me to others. Moments like this are the reason why I am a storyteller.

Storyteller Jessica Baris

Summer of 2008 is when I began to formally practice traditional storytelling. But the story seed was planted early on. I grew up listening to story cassette tapes, and I was always seen with a book in my hand. The art of speaking and telling stories drew me like a magnet, and my enchantment with the romantic character of the wandering storyteller inspired many projects and creative works. It was only a matter of time before I became a storyteller.

The stories I tell
The folktales I share come from countries around the world, and I tell folktales from the USA too. I tell stories that I believe most American audiences can relate to. The characters are human, animal, and fantastical—travelers, wanderers, seekers of truth, mermen, witches and elves, horses and hummingbirds, heroines and heroes. I’ve told at local folk and storytelling festivals, nature centers, coffee shops, parties, and art galleries.

What’s in the name “The Wakeful Storyteller”?
I tell stories that awaken us and our imaginations. “Wakeful” could be replaced with “aware.” To gain deeper self and situational awareness has always been an important personal goal. I tell stories that have awoken some new part of me, and hope the stories can do the same for my listeners. Be ever learning, ever listening, ever wakeful.

Other than storytelling…
I was born and raised in San Diego, California. I dance. I tip musicians when I can. I’m patriotic. When I’m not storytelling, I work full-time as a technical writer-editor. I’m left-handed.

“You have a wonderfully expressive face!”
~Gary Winters, author of The Deer Dancer

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