Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Taste and tell

P1060818Blackberry tart and storymaking: what’s the link? Probably none at all except that both figured strongly in my past week. The blackberry tarts followed a blackberry-picking expedition down near one of my favourite Pembrokeshire beaches. One of three tarts that resulted was delivered to a favourite person of mine, now 98, who has lived alone since her brother and sister died and whose attitude to life is strikingly positive. The second went to John Knapp-Fisher, another great friend, now over 80, who is both well-known and widely-loved for his paintings of the Pembrokeshire landscape. The third tart we ate at home for supper, breakfast and lunch. It was delicious.

Storymaking came into my mind when, thinking back to my moon-poems in last week’s blog, I remembered two children in a Llanelli school who, quite a few years ago now, created a wonderful story that involved the moon. The children in the class were working in pairs in our workshop. The boy in one pair was quiet and thoughtful and, in the storymaking exercise, he was working with a girl who talked non-stop, not always rationally. One of the many admirable aspects of their resulting story was how the boy made use of her contributions.

The children’s story (as remembered by me):

Once upon a time, there was an old man who came to a long winding path up a hill. When he climbed up the path, he came to a cave and in the cave he saw an oil lamp. When he picked up the lamp and rubbed it, out of the lamp came a genie. The genie said he could wish for three things.

First the old man wished for a pair of boots that could jump as high as the moon. Then the old man wished for a rake. (And if you think that was an odd thing to wish for, it was the contribution the girl in the storymaking pair offered most clearly.)

Third, the old man wished for a packet of seeds.

One by one, as soon as the wish was made, these three things appeared. When they appeared, the old man bent down and put on the jumping boots. Afterwards he picked up the rake and put the packet of seeds in his pocket.

Then the old man jumped up to the moon. When he got there, he raked the ground and when it was ready, he brought out his packet of seeds and scattered them onto the surface.

After that, all over the moon, there grew the most beautiful flowers.

P1060826Conjuring stories:

Some stories you never forget.

The above is one that returns vividly to my mind every now and again. The lamp, the three wishes, the way they are used – it has such a power of creativity to it. I decided to quote it today as a reminder to myself and anyone reading this blog of the imaginative capacity I believe lies in all children’s minds. It deserves the chance to be unlocked.

And how do you unlock it? Well, for a start, give time to stories whatever the age of the children. Tell them, read them, feed their minds with all sorts of stories. Then after that, give a chance for the children to spend time with those stories, thinking about them, drawing them, retelling them, acting them out. Almost invariably, they will use the stpries they’ve been given as seeds for other stories. The results can be quite magical for in my experience what results will include stories as tasty as a good blackberry tart and as memorable as those flowers that grew on the moon.


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One Response to “Storytelling Starters ~ Taste and tell”

  1. Hilary Minns Says:

    Mary’s thoughts on the power of creativity are a reminder of Professor Ken Robinson’s inspirational 20-minute talk at the TED Conference in 2006. (Youtube Ken Robinson TED lecture will get you there). Well worth a google.

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