Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘hand’

Storytelling Starters ~ Connections

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

And the foot bone’s connected to the leg bone…. And the leg bone’s connected to the hip bone…. And the hip bone’s connected to the back bone….

And so on. We used to chant that song of connection as kids on the school bus coming back from events away. Another similar one comes to mind: the one about the old woman who lived on her own who would sit a-spinning of a night bemoaning about how lonely she felt….

Then in came a pair of great big feet – And set themselves down in front of the fire…. And still she sat and still she span, And still she wished for company…. Then in came a pair of thin, thin legs … etc etc etc.

Also what comes to mind is that wonderful story from Aboriginal Australia about the hand that goes for a walk and when she gets to a hill longs for a leg up. So one leg comes and then another etc etc etc (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Hands, legs and sock

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

Tapies footI’ve said it before: storytellers enjoy making links and I personally seem to be doing it more than ever. Sometimes the link emerges through thinking what photos to use for this blog. This week, as you can see from the photos chosen, it’s bits of the body that created an association.  

Antoni Tàpies was a Catalan painter. I’d scarcely even registered his name before last weekend when we went to Barcelona for a few days off to celebrate my birthday. On our last day when we went to the Fundacio Antoni Tàpies, a museum devoted to Tàpies work, I found a lot of his paintings hard to be drawn to. But where he focused on simple stuff – wood, windows, doors, eyes, feet, an old sock, a shoe-print in sand, the sand itself – I felt considerably more at home. Tàpies took inspiration in ordinary things and found them of spiritual value. He felt they are evidence of our common humanity connecting  us to the earth and to our selves.

After we got back to London, we looked back at our photos as you do (we’d been allowed to take photos in the Tàpies gallery as long as we didn’t use flash)  and I found myself linking some of the work we’d seen with a story I’d heard some years ago at a storytelling evening at the South Bank Centre. The event was associated with a huge exhibition of Australian Aboriginal art at the Hayward Gallery and the storytellers were two Australian Aboriginal women

Legs, feet, fingers, thumbs: here’s the story that came back to my mind. It’s one I’ve always enjoyed passing on. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Body Parts / Hand 2

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

This week, I’ve been struck by the number of Olympic athletes emphasising  that they could never have achieved what they have without the support of the team around them. Working together: that ‘s the moral and it was the theme of my story last week. This week, I’ve got another favourite Hand story with a similar theme. It’s called Five Companions and, in my experience, it works especially well with children. What gets the children is the idea that in one hand – their own hand! – there can be such a diversity of strengths and that when these are combined, there’s no end to what a hand can do. But of course there are two sides to the potential: hands can work for good or for ill. Whenever I tell the story, I try to let that  fact be seen.

Five Companions: the background

It’s not always essential for a storyteller to know where a story began. Sometimes, you hear a good story and never find out where it originated. Sometimes, as time passes, you forget where you got it. And sometimes, if you do check back with your source after many times of telling the story, you realise – as I did with Five Companions that you’ve made a few changes along the way.

The story of the Five Companions originally comes from Burma – and, to be honest, I did have to look back through my files of printed sources of stories in order to check that fact out. When I read through my copy, I immediately saw that I’d adapted the tale in one or two ways. I’d made small changes to some of the characters’ names. I’d also given more emphasis to the fact that hands can be responsible for bad deeds as well as good ones.

Five Companions: a hint on telling

Before starting the story don’t reveal that this is a story about your own hand. Let that be discovered when the story has ended. (more…)