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A Remembrance of Steve Sanfield by Angela Lloyd 4/3/2015

Looking for one among many
I choose a fountain pen
Unlike Steve’s pens tucked in his white linen jacket
Its beak on the paper is dry
This, after reading Steve Sanfield’s “Drought”.

“Steve-eh-leh”, as I called him, was a friend of mine. What follows is a personal remembrance written with a fountain pen in peacock blue ink.

Since the 1990’s I have not left home to travel without a copy of Steve Sanfield’s collection of poetry, “American Zen by a guy who tried it”.
Once seated on an airplane, bags checked and the dash in the terminal complete, I have taken out his collection and read the poems as a way to transition from the stress of “leaving home” to “being on the way”.
As I read and turned the pages, the stress and mishigas flowed out of my body, while images of daily life and humor for our humanity rose with his words - settled into the open space of the pages and deepened each calming breath.

Steve Sanfield’s voice has been a long time companion, and not simply on the printed page. It is the resonance, the pacing of his live sound that remains present. This is the gift of having been, over time at the Sierra Storytelling Festival, of hearing his voice on the phone when I called to talk about daily life or to ask his counsel, or / sometimes he called to ask if I would consider coming to the Sierra festival to tell, or emcee or be a surprise guest on Saturday night.

I first travelled to the Festival in 1988. I made my way there - as I suspect many others did, along with several friends in a car.
Kathleen Zundell, may her memory be a blessing, Penny Post, Audrey Kopp and Diane McGinnis were often in the car for the pilgrimage. We drove from Los Angeles, on those long summer days into the heat of the North Columbia Ridge to stop first at Mother Truckers, and then to take our seats on the benches of the festival grounds as the sky became indigo blue, the school bell rang and Steve took the stage in his white linen jacket.

first in the pines
then on the skin
the evening breeze.

The Right Place by Steve Sanfield

That year, I was still new to storytelling as an art form, to the friendly culture of festivals, and the camaraderie of tellers. I was new to the gracious Mr. Steve Sanfield, who became one of my venerable teachers. There is much to remember.

Steve introduced me to the practice of saying “may their memory be a blessing” following speaking the name of someone who had passed away. Steve Sanfield, may your memory be a blessing, here is one moment that still touches my heart.

On Sunday Mornings at the festival, one could sign up to tell a five-minute story inside the schoolhouse with a full house audience.. Several of our esteemed colleagues: including Mary Gay Ducey, Milbre Burch, Bob Jenkins, would offer a “formal” response for the teller and their tale.
As an audience member, I appreciated the candor and exchange that was offered.

One year I signed up to tell a story on Sunday morning.
On arrival at 8:30am Steve was already in the schoolhouse, (remember he was our gracious host) and he spoke to the tellers in private. No one else was in the room. Here is what I recall and took to heart.
He motioned to the simple wood platform and said, “This space you step into, is a holy place. We have a responsibility when we take the stage. Do not step up there lightly, there is grace here, there is union. “

I recall being physically stopped, moved, surprised and instantly grounded at the depth of his words. They hit their mark.
I was at once cautioned, invited, encouraged, and set free in the deepest way to rise for the occasion.

The other day after hearing he had passed away, the only medicine that would do was to hear his voice. I found and listened to his cassette, “Live at the Sierra Storytelling Festival” recorded in 1988, and once again was in the presence of his vibration. I can hear the holy place in his exchange with us.
Here is an artist who is speaking into the natural world of the place he calls home. Surrounded by tall pines, he is standing on a wooden platform, a stage he helped to design, he is telling to his community. He is home. He is offering stories that are as close to him as his own family relations. You can hear his relationship to the material, his history, his love for the live energetic event and pure unadulterated delight in the sharing of his gold, his treasure. In his voice there is horsepower, meter, pulse, and breath. Holy, holy, Steve-eh-leh. May your memory be a blessing.

Angela Lloyd 4/3/2015


The Giant in Us All
Written by Angela Lloyd, March 2001

There is giant in each of us
Living at the top what we
Can grow to be.

Mother, I am a bean!
Water me!
Watch me grow
I’ll be taller than you dreamed

Watch me climb!
Arm over arm,
Leg over leg,
Over all that is difficult.

Means every morning
There is something new growing- a story.
That was not there
The day before!
Living means
Listening to the story.

Mama watch me go!
I’ll come back with treasure!
The treasure of the story.
Treasure belonging to our history!
The treasure belonging to us all!
Hear it Ring? Mama! Hear it Ring?

Inspired by a storytelling project with Stephanie & Anna’s K-1 classes
W/assistants Trina & Grace alongside the stories Jack and the Bean Tree/Stalk




© 2002 Angela Lloyd, 10 Kemper Campbell Ranch Rd, #4, Victorville, CA 92395
Ring: (760) 955-1321 Fax: (760) 951-8300