Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

Storytelling Starters ~ Making peace

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Two linked stories form my blog this week. One concerns the ancient Welsh cycle of stories, the Mabinogi. The second was reported in the Guardian newspaper on 25th November. The theme of both is the redeeming of lives from the terrible destructions wrought by the human need to take revenge. The link is provided by a place in Pembrokeshire, my home county, which is commonly known as Narberth today. It’s Arberth in Welsh and in the Mabinogi. And the reason the link has come about is because of a very good book which I’d like to tell you about as an introduction.

Introduction:

The other day I was in the London Library checking the New Books shelves when, among the larger tomes, I spotted a slim, red-covered book with The Mabinogi on the spine. ‘What can this be?’ I wondered. ‘Too slim to be the stories or a commentary on them!’ Well, my goodness, the book turned out to be a fantastic new version of the Mabinogi in poetry written by a poet called Matthew Francis and recently published by Faber & Faber.

Concise, rugged, colourful, sharp: Matthew Francis’ poem makes a vivid new thing of that magical cycle of stories. Wholly written in the present tense and focusing on key moments and scenes, it gives the mind and imagination of the reader an entirely fresh perspective that at the same time pays great service to the marvellous old tales. (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…)