Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ My storytelling goes for a walk

P1060967The sky was bright blue. Sun poured through the window. My friend rang up: ‘Let’s walk. We’ll meet for coffee.’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I’ll set off right now.’ It was the right thing to do. Later can so easily become never. Besides the long walk to Tooting Common from Brixton allowed time for my thoughts to dip in and out of my mind and settle. Here are some of them:

How lovely it was…

. . . to get two excellent comments on last week’s blog. Liz said she’d tried the Doors visualisation to powerful effect. She’d closed her eyes and over the next 20 minutes had brought to mind all the doors that had opened up in her life and led her to where she is now. Karen wrote about a boy who’d had extremely distressing eczema and who was taught a visualisation that brought him great relief in which he saw a cellar door that led down to a calming pool in which he could immerse himself. From mind to body, it’s powerful stuff.

How grateful I felt

. . . for all the care that was taken by my host for my two performances in North Wales last week. In Llangollen last Friday, Fiona Collins (who is a storyteller of great and wide experience and also my very old friend) carefully arranged the tables and chairs, put up two lovely pieces of fabric behind my performing space, lit the candles she’d brought for each table and created such a warm and friendly atmosphere. The same kind of thing happened in Llandudno the following night.

How moving it was

. . . to hear people’s responses after each of the shows. My Friday audience had appreciated the links I’d made between the smaller stories in the first half of my programme, From the Land of the Magic, and the big story I told in the second half of the evening. This was the story of Manawyddan that comes from the Mabinogion. I felt especially gratified by the people who said I’d brought storytelling into the modern age and made it feel contemporary.

P1060969How I now look forward

. . . to my talk about Shemi Wâd in Cardiff on October 29th at the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling. Every time I retell Shemi’s wonderfully mad tall tales, I know there’s still a huge lot of life in them for us today. They provided my material for Shemi’s Tall Tales, my Llandudno show last Saturday evening, and, together with my Shemi song, they obviously pleased my family audience. What a character was Shemi! In Cardiff, I’ll be talking about the man (he died in 1897), what we know about him and how we know it. Oh, and also what has become of the oral tradition that grew up around him.

And (as happens I think with all storytellers after a performance that has gone well)

. . . how I also now long to be telling From the Land of the Magic/O Wlad Yr Hud again. To me the Manawyddan story has such importance in relation to today’s troubled times in the Middle East and elsewhere. It’s about the damage that is done by the wreaking of vengeance and what can be accomplished by someone of sufficient wisdom and insight to bring the taking of vengeance to a halt. Avenging is always about the past. But it’s in its nature to go endlessly on and in that way it always and inevitably inhibits the future. Manawyddan holds fast. At the end of the elaborate bargaining that he does at the end of his story the last of his six demands is to require that revenge will not be taken for the bargain he is making to clear away the avengings of the past. Those acts of revenge have led to the robbing of the land of its life. With the final agreement in the story, life returns. There’s an abundance of joy. The sky is bright once again.

See you next week – and please feel free to send in a comment (see the Comment Box at the end). What you say always makes this blog richer. 

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