Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘personal tale’

Storytelling Starters: On the wing

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Last week I ended with the thought – or is it more of an observation? – that, in storytelling, you as the storyteller are your own prop. This applies whether you’re a professional doing your storytelling from a stage or in a group, with adults or with children, or whether you’re telling your stories informally. What you have in your repertoire is not only your stories but yourself, your voice, actions, sound-effects, expressions.

Promptly last week came a comment from a reader in New Zealand (Pamela, this is you). She and her family had just attended a storytelling session being given by Tanya Batt, a New Zealander whom, as it happens, I remember meeting years ago in North Wales. As well as the stories and how Tanya was dressed, what had made an enormous impact was her great range of sound-effects and actions.

Yes, sound-effects and actions. But there’s something else too which can enormously help a storyteller. It’s developing a range of little add-ins (and I’m calling them add-ins as opposed to add-ons). The sort of add-ins I mean can include all kinds of things that, over time, become a staple, but not inevitable, part of your repertoire. They’re things you can throw in, perhaps in the earlier part of a session when you’re introducing yourself and getting going. Or even later, perhaps between stories or even in the middle of one, a kind of throw-away that can recapture attention. So what do I mean by add-ins? (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ In praise of the personal tale

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

P1080273A tale that I told my brother this Monday was of an occasion a few summers ago when Paul and I were climbing back up from Pwll Strodyr to the lane. With us were our friend Eddie, who’d been down at the beach for his regular swim, and also his dogs and his cat, all of whom used regularly to accompany him there. 

On this occasion as often, the field was full of cows. Before we reached the part of the field where the cows were grazing, Eddie stopped and told us to stop as well. ‘Now watch this,’ he said. What we then saw was amazing. As Eddie explained how his cat hated cows, his two dogs ran ahead through the herd, creating an open pathway between them. As soon as the open path appeared, the cat, who’d meantime been sitting on its haunches in front of us, suddenly took off.  Whoosh! Like a bolt of lightning, she ran straight through the channel the dogs had created to the safety of the gate.

Wow! We were full of admiration and I remain full of admiration whenever I remember the incident. And whenever I recount it to someone else, they are always impressed. On Wednesday, same thing when I told it to my brother. So of course it’s one of the stories I love telling and I know Eddie doesn’t mind because Eddie loves telling stories too. In fact, he is a treasure house of tales and, not surprisingly, his grandchildren love him for it.

The result of all this was that yesterday I set my mind to thinking more generally about what can make personal stories work.

What makes personal stories worth telling: (more…)