Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ A garden of stories

This week I’ve been preparing for a Storytelling evening I’ll be giving in Llangollen on 10th October.  The event is for the Story Circle regularly organised there by storyteller Fiona Collins . My preparations for it feel a bit like the gardening I’ve also been doing in my garden this week. A garden takes time and effort to make and time and effort to maintain. When it’s going right, it gives great pleasure.

From the Land of the Magic

Rebecca's roseMy Llangollen programme is a new one – From the Land of the Magic. The title comes from the Welsh, gwlad yr hud, which is a phrase that has been applied to Penfro, Pembrokeshire, the part of Wales I come from. The light there really is magic. It’s no surprise to me that so many Pembrokeshire stories reflect its enchanting effects.  

My stories for Llangollen will include some smaller ones I’ve often told before as well as one big one I’ve told before but not often, namely the story of Manawyddan which comprises the Third Branch of the early Welsh cycle of  stories, the Mabinogion. I feel this ancient story is extremely relevant to our world today dealing as it does with how to bring a halt to the incessant taking of vengeance.

As for the work of preparing my overall programme, I’ve adopted my normal technique – Mind-Mapping.  Mind-Maps are what work for me. They prompt  me to remember what stories I know, bring them into  fresh focus and enable me to create new programmes and themes. So, how to do it?

Making a Mind-Map

Take a large sheet of paper (I use A3) plus a felt-tip pen or pens (you can use several colours if you’re so minded). First draw a circle in the middle of the paper, then in the circle write the title, theme or date of the occasion for which you’re preparing (it can as well be a school session as an evening performance). As  you start thinking about the occasion, start by drawing a nice curvy line radiating out from your central circle and on it note any story or story-idea that pops up into your mind. As more stories come into your thoughts,  continue with more lines, more thoughts, until your page looks a bit like a spider’s web.

What works for me is that the resulting Mind-Map is not just a top-down list. As spokes emerge, they help you see new mental connections between your ideas and, as a result, everything begins to feel fresh and exciting.

The Garden of Shadow and Delight and some other gardens

P1000142This brings me back to gardening. My first photo this week is of the beautiful rose I was given on Monday by Rebecca Hubbard, a good friend from ages ago, at the launch of her magical new book of prose poems,  The Garden of Shadow and Delight. The book, her first, is published by Cinnamon Press and is entirely based on the theme of gardens. As head-gardener at a Camphill Community, Rebecca knows gardens and gardening extremely well. At her launch she gave everyone present a budding rose. Mine blossomed as beautifully as, I’m sure, Rebecca’s vocation as a poet will do.

Also my good friend Felice Tombs in New Zealand sent a Comment on last week’s Blog. Felice picks up on my photo last week of a shimmering door that seemed to have appeared in a perfectly ordinary garden wall:

“What a magical photo. I have a mirror in the shape of the sun that leans against a pot plant in the garden and sometimes I see it reflected on the garden shed that is at the opposite end of the garden and not at all in the same line of sight. The sun hits it, bounces off a window in the house and then off to the wall of the garden shed. It is quite fantastic and very mysterious.”

Felice’s garden, as I can personally attest, is a wholly magical place where greenness flourishes among the rocks. There it is in my second photo taken on a visit there a few years ago.

That’s it. See you next week. And don’t forget, you can subscribe to this Blog by filling in the details on the top left-hand side.



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2 Responses to “Storytelling Starters ~ A garden of stories”

  1. Fiona Says:

    We are all looking forward to welcoming you to the Courtyard Cafe, where the Llangollen Story Circle meets, Mary (it’s not exactly a garden, sorry, but it has some lovely plants in pots and hanging baskets).

  2. Mary Medlicott Says:

    Fiona, thanks for your welcome in advance and also for all your organising. I am greatly looking forward to meeting all the Llangollen Story Circle – and the plants. Mary

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