TouchStone Tellers

We owe it to each other to tell stories – Neil Gaiman

Who are the TouchStone Tellers?

I came up with the name when preparing an application for an upcoming festival, at a large and well-known Toronto venue (details soon). Nat and myself had never worked together in an official capacity, and we needed a name, asap. TouchStone Teller’s was the best fit. We are currently a storytelling duo, with plans to expand.

When batting ideas around in my brain, I thought of “Cornerstone” inspired by the Bob Marley lyric, “The stone that the builder refuse, shall be the head cornerstone.” But after researching the name on the Internet I felt that people would have preconceived ideas about the name based on religious or financial associations. Plus there were so many  businesses, organizations and churches associated with the name.

painting pictures in the imagination is what storytelling is all about

I also thought of “touch tone” and although it has a nice ring to it, it didn’t feel quite right either. That’s a phone pun for those of you old enough to remember when touch tone was cutting edge telephone technology.

From touch tone my mind jumped to touchstone. And although I am a self confessed “word-nerd” I wasn’t exactly sure what a “touchstone” was. So I turned to my favourite on-line dictionary for help. – Good ol’ Merriam Webster. And Merriam had 3 definitions listed. The first, and the one I was most familiar with, was “a fundamental or quintessential part or feature.” The second was “a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of a thing.” But the third meaning intrigued me the most, “a black siliceous stone related to flint and formerly used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal.”  I could see it, a dark, shiny stone, streaked with lines of gold and silver. Once I had the picture in my mind’s eye, I knew I was on the right track.  After all, painting pictures in the imagination is what storytelling is all about.

The tag line”by heart, with heart,” and the logo came later. Although I don’t have to do it very often, I recently had to explain to someone that storytellers tell stories without books, notes or written material of any kind. I think that’s why “by heart” popped up as an idea. I often see heart shapes appearing in my food and drink, like on the saucer below, so “with heart” was the obvious next line. The tea connection is interesting as well.  I’ve always loved tea, and have been drinking it since I was a child. For me it carries connotations of comfort, hospitality, warmth, relaxation and luxury. It reminds me of friends, and family, relaxing, and sharing stories. And what could be better than that?

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” – Philip Pullman

touchstone tellers logo
TouchStone Tellers’ logo: puddle of tea on saucer, with a heart-shaped centre