Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ High and low

It’s felt like a very strange week. Highlights include standing outside on Thursday at 8 p.m. clapping for the NHS and its workers. Most people on our street were joining in and it  felt like a real togetherness, a solidarity of gratitude. For me personally, the gratitude is enormous. After four cancers in my adult life, I’m still here.

Blue skies up above today and for several previous lovely days have felt feel like they’re assuring us that Spring is really on the way if not already here. As well as the cowslips in my garden (one of my most-loved flowers), there’s a large patch of the bluest grape hyacinths and the primroses are doing well. Things can’t be bad.

Friends who’ve rung up to keep in touch during this awful lockdown period have felt like they in themselves are much-needed evidence of the continuance of life and love and the enormous value of contact.

But the most exciting single event of the week – and this because of the memories it’s bringing back – was having my attention drawn to a gorgeous review of my new book, The Uses of ‘a’, in Facts and Fiction magazine. I saw with amazement that this review had been written by John Pole, a fine songwriter, storyteller and Punch and Judy artist who used to come along to my storytelling courses years ago. We’ve not been in touch for a very long time. Now I hope the contact can be renewed. I’ll be ringing him up shortly.

Lowlights of the week:

The knowledge that this staying home and lying low is supposed to last for twelve weeks is ghastly. Twelve weeks? On present showing, it feels like a lifetime. It makes me think what being in prison must be like or being imprisoned long-term in a hospital bed.

In particular, not seeing friends is horrible. Speaking on the phone is good and fine. But I realise how important is the actual physical company, the faces and the smiles. For lots of time in ordinary life, I’m happy with my own company – and of course being on one’s own is vital for writing. But the counterbalance of people being present in the rest of the time is vital. Lack of it makes me feel like a small child complaining that I can’t have what I want.

Well, perhaps these twelve weeks will become a real learning point. We’ll see.

Till next week …

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