Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Peach Blossom Forest’

Storytelling Starters ~ Where Corals Lie

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

Years ago in a project at the Commonwealth Institute as then was, the wonderful Kathie Prince was the musician, I was the storyteller. It was a brilliant time and, for me, one of its most enriching aspects was how much I learned from Kathie. For instance, I learned the involvement with audiences of varying age that can be brought about through little songs where the audience can help create new verses by offering fresh ideas t0 fit in the pattern. Or where involvement is deepened through the use of differently fascinating instruments. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Sussurations

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

Funny how one does – and doesn’t! – do things. Yesterday I took the step of entering Peach Blossom Story in my Google search box. Up came numerous links to a restaurant called Peach Blossom. But there were also listings that led to one of my most treasured stories. I know it as Peach Blossom Forest. I’ve long been aware that it’s a very ancient  Chinese story and in my almost as ancient and extremely scruffy storytelling notebook are five or six lines of translated-into-English Chinese poetry that are associated with it.

Peach Blossom Forest is one of the two main stories I told at our Summer Enchantment performance at Peppers in Fishguard this last Wednesday evening. (The other was last week’s story, The Stolen Child.) But – and this is perhaps the odd bit – I’d never until yesterday felt I needed to know anything more about this story than the story itself. Indeed, I’ve long treasured it almost as my own tale, so personal and private that I’m not sure I’ve ever told it before. But yesterday, reflecting on the tale as if from afar after reading about it on Google, I realised how strongly my private feelings about the story – more generally known, I see now, as Peach Blossom Spring – reflect the story itself. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ In two worlds

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

Last weekend, a wonderful story was read to me over Skype by a seven-year-old girl in Australia. I felt lucky to be able to  hear it and see it – her drawings were brilliant.  The story was entitled  The Magic World and the Tragic World. It first talked of the dragons who inhabited each of these worlds. Then one day, it said, everything changed: the dragons of the Tragic World attacked those of the Magic Wall of creepersWorld. Happily, by using and testing their magic, for instance to grow themselves wings, the Magic World creatures became able to pacify their attackers. 

Some human problems are harder. I think in particular of all those people who become obliged to leave the world where they grow up to go and live in another. War exacerbates the problem.  Among all those millions of Syrian refugees now desperately seeking a new safe place where they can live in peace, so many are reported as saying that where they’d most like to be is back home. Is there any prospect at all that they will ever be able to return?

This problem speaks to me personally because, like so many people today, I feel conscious of living in two worlds. But I am fortunate. Coming from one place (north Pembs), settling in another (London), I’ve been able to move easily between the two and increasingly over the years, and massively helped by my storytelling, have been more and more able to integrate the two. But what if you cannot ever go back? Perhaps you have to learn to live with the idea of carrying your sense of home in your heart. It’s the idea expressed in a very beautiful Welsh song, Paradwys (Paradise) which my husband is currently learning.  Its final line expresses the theme with the thought that the key to your paradise lies in your own heart. A similar thought underlies a Chinese story I came across a long time ago which I refer to as The Peach Blossom Forest. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Dark reflections

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

For me, as surely for others, it was a shocking moment. We were at the Radio 6 Late-Night Prom in the Royal Albert Hall. What was on offer was the characteristic Radio 6 mix of classical and pop music.

One of the performers was Cerys Matthews (who, like me, happens to hail from North Pembs). She came out on stage in trouser suit and fedora and began with some Tudor songs she said she’d dug out of original Tudor music albums. The second song was a lively jig and the words she sang to it were Welsh. I don’t know where those words originated: they sounded like a traditional folk-song, or maybe Cerys had made them up. In any case, they really suited the music and, judging from the applause, the item went down well with the audience. But in the lull before Cerys’ next song, a great rendition of Blueberry Hill, a voice shouted down from the top balcony and what it said was: ‘Your language is dead.’

Why? Why would anyone want to say that? Can anyone feel so challenged by another language, another culture, another people, that he or she would want to see it dead? (more…)