Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Blockdown

Add the letter ‘b’ and the word becomes ‘blocked’. That is remarkably apt since blocked is how it feels, as if there’s a malevolent force that now impedes me, stopping me from doing all kinds of things I really want to do. Like getting in the car and driving the six hours to my place in Wales, the part where I normally go, where I’d be spending time on the beach, striding across the sand, feeling the wind in my hair, the stretch in my legs, the air in my nostrils. OK, that’s Blockdown for you. Going to Wales from London is not allowed.

But blocked is also how it feels in regard to things I might be inspired to create.  Create? Things like I saw in a book of my drawings I came across the other day while sorting the big old cupboard in my study where I keep such things. A wooden horse, a cactus plant, a pathway between trees: they made me wonder. Why am I not making drawings now? Plenty of time to do it but I don’t.

Why this blockage has such a great effect, perhaps on us all, absorbs me. It pleases me to do creative things. It doesn’t satisfy me nearly so much to wash the kitchen floor, clean the basin in the bathroom or sort my socks. Yet I seem to have become confined to doing the practical things and prevented from doing the creative ones. As if my brain or body or both are telling me, ‘No, this is not the time for expansion. Keep it narrow, keep it small, keep it useful.’

So the dialogue continues. On one side, there’s the urge to remember and regain the satisfaction of taking time to be creative. Get out the pencils, the camera, the notebook, get on with recording what extraordinary things there are in the world around you. Or creating new ones.

On the other is the internal command to stay busily practical. Kitchen floor not sketch book and pencils. I wonder why this is happening and, even more urgently, why staying practical is winning. Has Lockdown seeped into my soul, arousing from sleep the eternally obedient schoolchild within me that responds to instructions, denying the side that would rather fly out to sea and then come back and write a story about the mermaid I saw beneath the waves?

Alas and alack, I wonder if anyone else is feeling this way and if we understood it, whether we’d also feel empowered to release ourselves. Keep the rules about how to behave while releasing the spirit to do what only spirit knows how to do. Anyone got any answers, please let me know.

PS: Messages on the beach, that’s something I miss. For it always feels like a bit of a message to see seaweed curled into extraordinary patterns or paw-prints or footprints of something or someone that has been here before you. These paw-prints here, for instance. Aren’t they more like leaves or flowers? Well, the world is full of wonders – and here in the city too. Just keep looking.

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