13th to 15th January 2012

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We’re back! As January maintains its reputation for emotional ‘blueness’ it was a real tonic to return to Emerson College for the third weekend of storytelling. First it’s sharing time. Some of the group have been brave enough to tell stories to family and friends, discovering the very different dynamic there can be with nearest and dearest. Children too can be a challenging as well as a discerning audience. Add to that the excitement and anticipation of Christmas, and a Christingle service can be an interesting situation to create story!

Then it’s revision time. We tap into our collective memory of what we’ve done so far, including using three different types of voice – articulating, describing images and pictures, using the colour of emotion. Next a fast moving game raises our energy levels, and we are introduced to the storytelling concept of using the ‘back space’. This is a place of power and presence, of stillness and silence, a way of bringing the past into the present. It will be a good tool to use this weekend as we tell myth stories – stories of gods and goddesses from different traditions. A story about the goats knowing the way to paradise is a bedtime gift, and we also ponder the gift of words given to each one of us in our rooms. Mine is “Exploration”.

In the morning the world is beautifully frosted.

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This weekend is for us to discover our ‘wings’ and so we begin by giving each other a back massage. Sighs and murmurs of appreciation fill the room. Lovely! We explore the ‘front space’ of the storyteller, with a playful, gossipy telling of our stories. Here is another dimension we can bring into our telling – a faster pace,  direct eye contact, intimacy, fun and laughter to contrast with the slower pace, a distant gaze, the gravitas of the ‘back space’.

Despite tiredness and a variety of colds in a variety of guises, many of us gather in the common room on Saturday night for what develops into a great evening of games. Mimes and the Mafia (!) were our favourites – discovering more about ourselves and how we are perceived by others. (Apparently I have a very guilty look!) Bonds of friendship are growing and plans are already afoot to make time to get together after the course has finished.

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Sunday is the time to continue to relish the rich menu of stories. Such powerful stories: teaching, warning, full of desire, anger, war, greed, compassion… and healing.

It’s easy to see how everyone has grown as a storyteller. It is lovely to experience the breadth and depth of the telling and to enjoy praising one another’s gifts.

Exploration was a good word for me. I explored being playful, using musical accompaniment, inviting audience reflection – even introducing a bit of ‘adult’ content! It felt very good.

Next time we are to find our own story to tell. I wonder what stories will choose us?

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