Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Forgetting

Forgetting is the other side of remembering. It has its value. Not remembering unpleasant things can be very health-giving, something which eventually allows unhappy events, emotions or people to slip away.  Sometimes the forgetting happens of itself. Sometimes the techniques for forgetting have to be learned.

The pain of forgetting:

But it’s that involuntary forgetting that can be so annoying. Perhaps it’s the same in many different circumstances or professions. You need to remember. You simply can’t bring whatever it is to mind. You set about trying to find the book or paper or person that may be able to supply the missing piece of information. And when you can’t find it? It’s a pain. Especially, say I, when you’re a storyteller.

Because it’s that particular name or detail that you’ve mislaid from your mind which you feel is vital. Remembered, it supports the existence of the story, gives it its life and reality. Forgotten, it’s a drag on your mind, reminding you of your vulnerability, creating the sense of a gap. OK, you can make something up instead. But that’s not quite the same.

From sunflowers to suns:

So it was with me yesterday. It all started in the kitchen as I looked at the five tall sunflowers a friend had brought me.  Sunflowers, I thought: their smiling faces are remarkable. Wide like suns.

And that gave me the idea that the sun could be the focus of this week’s blog. Well, the sun had been beaming down at us for at least a week until it started to rain. So I started thinking about stories of the sun and the one that came foremost to mind was a Japanese story. You know the one? It could be a moral tale for our future.

A proper hero:

Once, long ago, the world was all wrong. Seven suns were in the sky. The world became terribly hot. Everything started to die. What could be done? No-one had any idea until a hero of the people who was renowned for his skill with bow and arrow volunteered to shoot down six of the suns with his big bow and arrow. It was a very tense day when he set about the task. But he succeeded. One by one, six suns were shot out of the sky and with them went the excessive heat. One sun remained. Everyone was happy.

But what was his name?

But what was the name of that Japanese hero? Where was that Japanese story? Surely it would be in the section for Japanese tales in my box files of stories. No? Then it must be in one of my books of Japanese tales. No? Perhaps in one of the books which contain collections of stories from different lands? But which collection of the many?

So does certainty wither away and despair of finding the answer take over. Not that it matters tremendously much. But I’d like to give that Japanese hero his proper recognition. I don’t suppose his name will ever just spring into my mind. But one day I’ll come across it again and be glad. Meantime, I just have to apologise for forgetting and assure you: he was a proper hero.

PS: The photos speak for themselves. Sunrise at the top, sunset at the bottom and in between, a wonderful reflection of sunshine on a beach.

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One Response to “Storytelling Starters ~ Forgetting”

  1. Fiona Says:

    Hi Mary
    I am a bit behind with your blog but I am reading the posts backwards from yesterday’s posting.

    I think the archer’s name is Shen Yi, but when I looked him up in the encylopaedia that is the internet, another name was also given for him: Hou Yi

    Is either of these familiar? I hope this scratches that itch in the memory. Not remembering a mythical figure’s name is not as bad as not remembering the name of someone you know you know, but can’t remember where from.
    This happens to me all the time these days … very worrying …
    Lots of love

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