Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

“A real gem of a book!”

November 27th, 2016
£8.50 (£10 inc UK p&p)
£8.50 (£10 inc UK p&p)

A Long Run in Short Shorts is the first book published by my own imprint: Storyworks Press. It’s a collection of my own personal tales. Some are short, some very short. Some I’ve told, some I haven’t. But I hope these mini-memoirs show how our personal tales are an essential part of how we create the story of ourselves. 

To buy a copy simply click here on A Long Run in Short Shorts and follow the instructions.

An ideal present, you will also be able to request for copies to be sent direct to family and friends.

Storytelling Starters ~ Mirror, mirror

February 17th, 2018

What happened became something I’d never forget as the young Masai moran stared at the camera, stared again, then summoned the others to come and look. One by one, they took turns to do so.. And why? What the first young man had seen was a reflection of himself in the camera lens. Now everyone else had to have a look too. Camera had become mirror. And this was fascinating to those Masai people for, at that point anyway, they had no mirrors.

This encounter occurred during a weekend safari trip made by myself and my then boyfriend at some point during the nine months I spent in Kenya as a VSO (Volunteer for Service Overseas) before I went to University. At that time, the VSO scheme was for school-leavers in the belief that the time those accepted onto it spent in developing countries would have a powerful and probably beneficial effect on them and also, in terms of what they could do to help, on the communities they went to. They were certainly right in regard to myself and the long-term effect. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling starters ~ We are painters

February 10th, 2018

Fascinating how what is true in one art form can have such meaning for another! On Wednesday, we went to the Wigmore Hall in central London to be in the audience for a Masterclass given by Thomas Quasthoff with four young baritone singers.

Quasthoff is a bass baritone of extraordinary eminence, all the more extraordinary because he was born with such severe birth defects as to make him under 5 feet tall. Also his arms are severely foreshortened. These defects result from the fact that when his mother was pregnant with him, she was prescribed thalidomide, the drug which was afterwards realised to have such horrendous effects. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Moving the chairs

February 3rd, 2018

‘Imagination,’ Grace said, picking up on the final word of the story I’d just told. ‘Imagination is ..’.: and her thought continued, ending in an invitation to anyone present to tell a story. Specifically, she turned towards a neighbour in the home where she now lives whom she knew had a story to tell.

And so the Story Sharing began, the second part of a day that had been arranged to honour Grace Hallworth at the end of the month of her 90th birthday. Grace remains a much-loved figure in the storytelling world. She became the first Chairperson of the Society for Storytelling, the SfS, when it was formed back in 1993. She’s told her stories at festivals, schools and storytelling events all over the UK and elsewhere. She has published a large number of books of her stories both for adults and for children. Most of all, she has been a powerful voice for the value of stories in allowing us to discover, express and share our innermost selves as human beings. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Trouble with love

January 27th, 2018

On Thursday this week, there was an email from an old American friend which consisted of just four words: Happy Saint Dwynwen’s Day. January 24th? I hadn’t remotely remembered about Saint Dwynwen.

So I looked her up. Like the story of Saint Valentine, it’s a tragic tale! Standing up for the right to love and the cause of lovers but ending up sadly alone: that’s the story of Dwynwen. And like so many old tales of this sort, this story makes my hackles rise. The power of wealth, the power of men over women, fathers over daughters: my goodness, it makes you wonder why we still celebrate such stories.

The story of Dwynwen:

Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Arresting time

January 20th, 2018

The Tide Clock in our Welsh house tells us what to expect. It opens up in advance an important aspect of the view we’ll see when we get to the beach, clarifying what will be there in regard to the margin between land and sea. When we were kids, we didn’t need it. Frequent experience created a tide clock in each of our minds. Get out of school, rush home for swimming things, meet on the square to run down the hill to the quayside and already, as we went, we’d know what to expect. We’d know because we’d been there before. Yesterday. And the day before that. So we’d know where the tide would be and, more important, if it would be good for jumping into it off the quay wall.

Time moves on

Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Open the door

January 13th, 2018

It’s a new year. I’ve got a new chair. So I started thinking about chairs and how much time we spend sitting in them, the books we read while sitting in them, the talks we share with other people. Then I started to wonder about chairs in stories, thrones and little elfin chairs, and also about the chairs that craftsmen make for storytellers to sit in. But I’ve never liked sitting in a big chair when I’m telling stories. I’d rather a low stool if it’s with children or, if it’s lots of children or adults, I’d rather stand up.

Chairs took me on to doors. I started looking for a story where a chair might figure. Maybe there’d be a figure of a person sitting in the chair. Who would it be? What I came across instead was the poem, The Door,  by the Czech poet, Miroslav Holub. In the version I have in my file-box for poems, his poem is in a translation  by Ian Milner and George Theiner. It seems to me like a jolly good poem for a new year.

The Door

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Decluttering

January 6th, 2018

Short blog today. Too much going on.

Clutter, decluttering … words are words. Dealing with what they represent is another kind of thing that involves effort and determination and a sense of purpose. Personally, I can’t decide what’s more urgent – decluttering rooms, shelves and boxes of paper or decluttering my mind.

All around me, friends are talking about decluttering their houses. From one I got a sense of great mounds of stuff, bags of no-longer-needed belongings and boxes of papers (not all of them his) and finally making his way past them to a cupboard in which hung clothes that had hung there unworn for many years, taunting him with images from the past. From another I got the sense that, looking around her house, she simply didn’t like the sight of anything she saw. What was she to do? What are any of us to do? Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Regenerating

December 30th, 2017

I’ve never been an assiduous follower of Doctor Who. But down in Wales with a guest who loves it, we did watch the Christmas episode. It contained a wonderful example of regeneration as Peter Capaldi who has been the twelfth doctor spiralled through turning circles of time and space to become the thirteenth, a woman played by Jodie Whittaker.

Regeneration

Regeneration is a good theme for this point of the year. At the end of this particular year, it feels especially apt when so many people I’ve talked with have confessed that, for them too, 2017 has felt like a year we want to see the back of.

So, much like Doctor Who spiralling into a new emanation, images of regeneration have been swishing round in my mind. Wasn’t there a girl sent out into the woods by a cruel stepmother who had demanded to be brought strawberries for supper? What ever was the girl to do? It was the depth of winter, the end of the year, and not the time for strawberries (except in supermarkets!).  Rescue came in the bitter night when she met a man in the woods who brought her to a blazing fire around which sat a ring of men of all ages from very old to very young. And didn’t those men stand and chant the year forwards, regenerating winter into summertime so that the poor girl was then able to gather the strawberries her cruel stepmother required? Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ What next?

December 23rd, 2017

Sprouts, turnips, carrots, potatoes – the cooking is all getting mixed up with the cards and the delivering of our last local cards is suffering from a profound desire on my part to go to sleep. Meantime, the merriment of Christmas is mixed with a profound sense of sorrow for all the people in our world who have no home and no food. It almost feels wrong to be sending greetings at all – except that remembering friends and all the joy (and sometimes problems) they bring is also essential. So too is preparing and publishing this Saturday’s blog. It comes with my very best wishes to all readers and with great thanks for being my friends in storytelling.

So here below is the Christmas card Paul and I have been sending out on email under the title, Onwards and Upwards. It’s, a photo of ‘Walls & trumpets’, the sculpture by Ofra Zimbalista near Guy’s Hospital.

And if you’d also like to have a laugh by looking at one of the two little presentations I gave at Paul’s recent fundraiser for CRISIS just click 12 Thank you notes of Christmas

Storytelling Starters ~ Further thoughts on reading

December 16th, 2017

Last week’s  theme on reading continued popping up this week and in several different ways.  First came a comment on last week’s blog from storyteller Janet Dowling in which she said she often gets asked to do readings. And it seems the reason people ask her is because she’s a storyteller. When you come to think about it, perhaps that’s not surprising. Bill yourself as a storyteller and people can be fairly confident about several important points. First is that you’re used to speaking to an audience. Second is that you probably have a voice that is used to speaking with expression. Not everyone who gets to read aloud has that!

Second this week, I noticed a contribution on reading in the regular blog put out by the London Review of Books (a fortnightly journal of which I’m an avid reader). The blog piece from Gill Hartington was evidently prompted by a visit she made to The Hague’s Museum Meermanno, ‘the House of the Book’. In the museum was an exhibition which makes use of screens, moving images, sound and all kinds of other data to explore and examine the act of reading. According to Gill Partington, The Art of Reading: From William Kentridge to Wikipedia is not so much an exhibition of contemporary book artists as an attempt to use their work to ask what reading is. ‘What does it mean to see written marks and transform them into meaning, or into speech? Does reading take place in the mind, the eye, the body, or in the digital devices on which we increasingly rely?’ Read the rest of this entry »