"What I'm trying to do is to get people to hear their own story, not my story," Hydock explains. When "Holidazed!" and "Footprint on the Sky" are most effective, then, audiences are compelled to recall unexpectedly special occasions with their own parents, or think of good neighbors who work hard, live simply and cherish their families.
Although she has been writing her own material for three or four years, Hydock's repertoire isn't restricted to memoirs. She has just started to develop a piece based on a 13th-century French poem, "Silence," about a girl who was raised as a boy so she could be the family heir in a society that didn't allow females to inherit property.
Hydock says "Silence" will be performed in tandem with PanHarmonium, a medieval music ensemble that uses authentic instruments such as a viol, recorder or hurdy-gurdy. She has teamed with that group before, when telling the ancient story "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight."
"Their music definitely helps to create a context," she says. "When they start to play, you can almost feel that drafty castle."
One conversation with Hydock over coffee and a scan of her Web site at www.storypower.org are enough to convince me that she's a tender-hearted soul and busy professional. She doesn't lack ideas, depth, smarts or energy. Like Sir Gawain, however, Hydock says she faces a difficult quest: trying to nail down a concise job description.
Is she a performance artist? Not if that implies smearing chocolate on her body while screaming. A dramatic storyteller? Sounds too much like overwrought soap opera. A one-woman show? Hydock fears that audiences may expect razzle-dazzle singing and dancing.
"When people ask what I do," Hydock says, "I tell them I'm a speaker-storyteller-actress-writer.
"But really," she adds, "I do words."