Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Head gear

On Thursday or Friday every week but sometimes not till Saturday morning, the question arrives in my head. What to write in this week’s blog? Often the answer seems to be there already as if I’d already been considering the question. Sometimes I haven’t got a clue. Like this week. Yesterday I didn’t have a clue. I just had to trust that something would come to mind.

Why bother?

A friend asked the other day: ‘Why do you bother?’ My only answer can be ‘because I like doing it.’ My sense of the weekly obligation requires me to think over whatever may be in my mind. Recent events.  Topics that, however briefly, have grabbed my interest.  Stuff I’ve been reading. Things that have been said to me directly or things I’ve overheard.

From all these various tributaries to what must pass as my river of thought, something has to  materialise to provide the spur to a blog. But in a way that’s just like storytelling. I’m sure all storytellers would say the same. Countless times on your way to do a session or sessions, you’ll have known pretty much what stories you’re likely to tell. You’ll have thought about them in preparation, identifying themes and finding links. But there’s also the more immediate links that, in the event, prove invaluable. These may come from what happens on the way to the venue or from recent encounters or from things people have said.


And something that was said to me this week popped back into my head as I sat down to write this blog.  It happened on my way to the bus stop on Wednesday morning. Turning right at the end of my street, I saw two builders at work outside one of the houses. The nearest one looked like he was from the Middle East and on my way past, he looked at me and said, ‘Good morning, Milady.’

Milady? Not surprisingly, I was very struck by this mode of address. Does this builder normally address a passing woman in this grand way? Or could it be that what he said was prompted by the turban on my head? I’d wound it onto my head with one of my scarves, my head currently being rather lacking in hair? Was the turban making me look rather grand?

I don’t know. Deference, admiration, simple politeness in addressing a passer-by? Who knows? What I do know is that, both then and since, it made me wonder. What is the effect of what one wears? What is the effect of what is said? A lot of life goes by without having such an impact.  And perhaps it’s one good thing about doing a weekly blog that it does require you to pause and think about what you’re thinking.

PS: The wonderfully turbaned man in the top picture  was Suleiman I of Turkey, the 10th and longest reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. The beautiful woman in the bottom picture is, of course, the adored film actress of the 1920s and 1930s, Greta Garbo.

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