Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Something for all

A capital letter makes a lot of difference. It can make someone feel official, authentic – as if whatever they do is much more than playing about. So consider how it can categorise a person too. Is someone who writes things inevitably a Writer? What about someone who just writes? You don’t have to use the capital letter. Perhaps the writer is someone the world in general can regard as a writer. But what about someone who writes, perhaps even writes a lot, who isn’t publicly recognised as such?

I started thinking about this knotty question because of a friend of mine in Pembrokeshire. (Liz, this is you.) She writes. She writes stories, sends them off to magazines and sometimes gets them published. She also writes stories which she reads to her grandchildren. They love her stories and often ask her for another. Is this friend of mine to be regarded as a writer? Officially, I suppose not. She doesn’t fill her time with it. It’s something she does along with all the other things she does. Yet I think the world needs to think again about her and people like her. For in a way, the world has probably become too categorising, separating what’s done professionally from what’s simply but genuinely done as part of life.

Not that lots of people are making up stories. Perhaps that’s a sad result of the categorising. Perhaps people don’t think writing happens if you’re not earning your money from it. Same with storytelling. As it happens my friend’s husband – Eddie is also a friend – is a great storyteller. Not someone who gets paid to do it but because it comes naturally to him. So he’ll tell stories for the sheer love of doing it. And also because he knows lots of stories. His stories are about the area and people within it. It’s not a professional thing. It’s something that comes naturally to people like him. They were probably telling stories in their cradle.

So what am I saying? I think I’m arguing for recognition for these natural gifts that some people possess or develop. Natural gifts, family gifts, community gifts: let’s not put them down because they’re not being done professionally, not being paid for, not giving the person who does them a capital letter for what they’re doing. I know that in my professional work as a storyteller, I was at pains to make this point when running storytelling courses. Storytelling is part of life. It does not need to be separated off. It must be appreciated as something we can all do.

Same with writing. Let’s all be writers if we wish to be. Let us write letters, let us write poems, let us write stories. For what gives pleasure to people to do probably gives pleasure to people to receive. I’m all for it.

PS: And what a pleasure it is to receive a letter through the post, especially a handwritten  letter. As you take it out of its envelope, you appreciate the time and care  it has taken to write it. It makes you feel you have been thought about. My special thanks to those lovely friends who do it.

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One Response to “Storytelling Starters ~ Something for all”

  1. Beatrice Richards Says:

    Love that you mentioned me and Eddie Cheered me up and thought provoking LLiz

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