Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Archive for the ‘Memory walk’ Category

Storytelling Starters ~ Walking

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Ever tried it? You think of a walk you like to take. Or one you regularly took in the past. Then you take the walk again, this time sitting in an armchair or lying down. To start, you summon up a sense of where the walk begins, the moment you feel aware of what lies ahead. Then you continue, envisaging the next bit and the next and the next. And so you go on, also thinking about the pausing points – the meadow where there are sometimes cows and the part that’s often wet underfoot so that you have to negotiate your footsteps, the smells of the wooded part of the walk with its wild garlic and soggy leaves and also such sights as that of the strange fairy doll that must have been pushed by someone, who knows who, into the hollow trunk of a fallen tree.

So you continue and when you reach the long tangle of intertwined boughs just before that stone pillar, remains of a long-ago project that would have created a vast harbour here, you know you are now within the  smell and sound of the sea. So as you reach the narrow path that leads down to the pebble banks, you are full of anticipation, eager to see what kind of waves there will be and whether anyone has left some strange tower of stones somewhere along the length of the beach as a kind of tribute to the wind and the weather.

Once again, you fill with gratitude as you realise that this is one of your places. Gratitude for the walking and the being able to do it, gratitude for the fact that the place is still here, gratitude for the memory that enables you to recall it at will if you want to on any of the days that you’re actually there. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Looking up

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

P1070076Here’s a story I remember with laughter and delight every time I think about Laugharne, the place where the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas lived and wrote and also where the novelist and story-writer Richard Hughes had his writing-room high up in the castle walls. This story was created orally by a small group of 11-year old children.

The story:

Merlin was watching over the wall of his castle. Beside him was his favourite seagull. As he looked down, Merlin saw a family of parents and children, obviously tourists, walking along the foreshore of the estuary below. All were munching – crisps from crisp bags, chocolate from wrappers. Then as they passed, one by one they dropped their plastic wrappers onto the ground. Merlin was horrified. When the family had gone by, he sent his favourite seagull down onto the shore to bring him something else that was messing it up. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ The Crucible of Story

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

P1070464A castle, wherever it is, is a story in itself. When was it created? Why? By whom? Inevitably the story continues to the people who have lived there, the conflicts they may have provoked or suffered, the enmities and love affairs its silent walls may have witnessed. And so it goes on, suffering ravages of time and weather as decisions are made to extend, rebuild, refurbish or abandon until eventually, it reaches today and the people who decide to go and see it in its old age and those who have become its carers now.

Carew Castle

Carew Castle is a staggeringly beautiful creation. It has existed in one form or another since 1100 or shortly thereafter…., first as some kind of stone tower with wooden palisades, in Tudor times taking on aspects of a mansion, today almost completely floorless except for a couple of large rooms. Several of the participants who attended the storytelling training day I ran there on Thursday for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park are people who do guided tours around it. What a huge story it provides for them to tell! Architectural, archaeological, historical, social, Welsh, English, the story has so many aspects, including what visitors add. I loved what one young woman said to me about it as our training day concluded and we were walking away. ‘It’s a crucible we have here,’ she said. ‘Every day it’s different, always transforming. Whatever you put in, there’s always more. It’s always changing.’

On reflection, I think these could be very good words for describing stories and storytelling. Whatever you put into the crucible, it’s always changing, it’s never full, and for that reason it’s life-enhancing. It  leaves you with new perspectives and new questions. (more…)