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Telling tales

Payne has already performed the fables, including an August appearance at Delmar Place, which Cohen described as a great success.

As a member of the National Storytelling Network, Story Circle of the Capital District and Story Circle of the Tri-City Area, Payne has been storytelling professionally for 13 years. She first discovered her knack for the art while working as a grade school teacher.

"It was an easy way to get children's attention and to keep their attention during a school lesson," she said. "Everybody likes a story."

Her true inaugural performance was before the Bethlehem Historical Association, after doing research at the Bethlehem Library for a history book on orphan trains running out of New York City. She was invited to speak to the group, and figured that rather than talk about her researching techniques to a group of researchers, she would tell the story she had learned.

"I'm very happy to be coming back to Bethlehem with a different type of story'," she said.

Since then, Payne has performed all over the area, including at Albany's First Night, Story Sundays at the Glen Sanders Mansion, Word Plays at Proctors and at Underground Railroad conferences. The Berne resident remains involved in the local storytelling community, which she described as vibrant and expanding.

Cohen, who is retired after working as the administrator of the state Social Work licensing board, resides in Delmar, where he now has the opportunity to write full time. A columnist for The Spotlight in the 1980s, Cohen in 2009 also published a book of poetry, "Beyond the Sky-and-Water Line," under the pseudonym Dahl Quarray. He plans to release a collection of poetry and two short story collections this year under the same name.

"Fables by jambbal" is available in paperback or hardcover. Copies will be available at the presentation, and can be ordered at www.fablesbyjambbal.com. The free storytelling is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at the Bethlehem Public Library, 451 Delaware Avenue, Delmar.

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