Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Storytelling Starters ~ Questions of voice

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

It’s a good point to make: reading aloud well is a pleasurable art. And the point was made, and made well, in a recent blog comment from Meg in Australia. She added: ‘Making readers more aware of their voice and range of options, like those of an oral storyteller, has got to help young listeners understand and feel what it is to read “with expression.”’

So what is it about speaking aloud to others that freezes so many people? I’ve been thinking about the question a lot – and especially in relation to the book on storytelling and story-reading with early years children that I’ve just finished writing. The book is about helping people with both storytelling and story-reading. Inevitably one of the frequent problems it had to confront was that fear of using their voice that many people have. In the case of storytelling, it can be a fear people have of forgetting, a fear of being themselves, a fear of performance. In the case of story-reading, perhaps it’s also a failure to realise that, even when you’re putting across a story in a book, you have to put yourself into it.

I think I was lucky:

Maybe one of the basic problems is when people are not inculcated into the joys and pleasures of voice when they’re children. I think I was lucky. Growing up in Wales, we did a lot of singing and  part of the expectation was that we’d enjoy it. Growing up in Wales, we also recited. Poems, verses from the bible, speeches we’d put together, votes of thanks – speaking aloud was part of our school and social experience. A lot of it was competitive. It had to be because there were so many of those competitive occasions called eisteddfodau not only at school or in chapel but in the youth organisation called the Urdd. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Spider

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

I don’t mind spiders. Some people can’t abide them. One summer in my childhood, I remember my father crushing a Daddy-Long-Legs against the window of the caravan where we were staying. My father used the bread knife. I was upset for the spider and rather appalled by my father. Spiders don’t do any harm – at least not the sort that I know.

But some people are really frightened even when the spiders are small and harmless. You know that North American Indian story – The Man Who Was Afraid Of Nothing?

The Man Who Was Afraid Of Nothing

The man who was afraid of nothing was a terrific hero among his people. One night four ghosts who were sitting together happened to mention this man: ‘He’s not afraid of us, so they say,’ said one.

‘I bet I could scare him,’ said another. A third said, ‘Let’s make a wager. Whichever of us scares him most is the one who wins the wager.’

So the four ghosts set about the challenge. The next moonlit night, the first ghost suddenly materialized in front of the young man and challenged him to a game. ‘If you lose,’ said the ghost, ‘I’ll make you into a skeleton like me.’ (more…)