Don’t Forget to Remember

This post is for me. I’ve learned a few things the hard way in this blog.  There are steps I have to remember…

I had a strict Geography teacher in high school. I don’t remember his real name, for we all deferred to him as “Sir” quick- smart, or “Albert” with a nod towards his room, amongst ourselves. His star turn was to give a hundred lines if we forgot anything for class … and the line was “I must remember not to forget to remember to bring my geography equipment at the appropriate times.” I only ever forgot once.

Posting a blog I need to remember to –

Make backup copies of all the photos and text I create. Double-up if necessary.

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Aim for the target , but expect to be distracted.

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Avoid typing when ruffled, especially early in the morning.

DSCF0068Keep me eyes peeled when I’m out and about.

DSCF0025Always take a camera. I never know who I might meet.

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Try not to be a dragon with the details.

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Remember life is risk and dare. But be wary of the delete button.

Yes. I’m on this raft and that’s another story!

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Don’t take it all so seriously,

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and always stop for a celebratory cuppa, before I hit “Publish!”

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What have I forgotten? Reminders welcome!

All photos and text by Meg

Story Twigs …! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Learning to tell stories

As a storyteller I have some well-used books.

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Here are some that I’ve found useful in developing my skills as a teller. Many  are out of print. Try your local library / online or second-hand book stores.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading and telling stories to learn, see, hear and feel how it works. I’ve also put myself in the way of events that would make a good story to tell – you know what I mean? But that’s another story.

IMG_1876Simple, clear guidelines in a booklet Mem Fox, Australian author and drama tutor,  put out years ago.

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A classic collection of folktales from Haiti,with descriptions of the local teller, how they told the story, and how the audience reacted.  There was a new edition of this published recently.

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The first book I ever read about storytelling. Well – worn.

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Handy list of recommended stories, eg for girls. It was from USA, compiled by Nancy Schimmel.

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A friend went to a workshop run by Anne Pellowski (also from the US) and came away inspired.

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I attended a workshop with Norma Livo (USA) when she was over here. Broad in scope, academic and analytical – heavy,  but full of gems.

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I often dip into this book when I’m working on a fairy tale.

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I need to read more of this. In a recent Story Slam I was put on the spot – having to tell a personal story about Love just 5 mins long!

IMG_1865Alida sets out an interesting approach to creating social change and building community using certain stories.

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This psychiatrist has selected tales for a particular age group and provides an analysis of each of the 20 stories.

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I have met Margaret Read Macdonald often since 1988 and an authority on storytelling. During her PhD, she researched and created The Storyteller’s Sourcebook – a reference book indexing folktales & variants. Since then she has written lots of books about storytelling and stories.

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 There are lots of books written about storytelling in school, or storytelling and teaching. This one was just published in the USA last year

Please feel free to suggest other titles about the art of storytelling which you have found useful. This one was first published in 1915 and set the ball rolling for storytelling in public libraries.

IMG_1870All these titles are in my personal library and part of my continuing study as a professional storyteller.

 

All text by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination!blog by Meg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

With a Little Help from the Brownies

Before the start of the year, it’s feels good to have a clear-out, a de-clutter and give-away, recycle or dump. It was my mother’s custom to have the house spick and span for the New Year. She would even go out in the snow to clean the downstairs windows! I found myself thinking of her as I cleaned out cupboards recently.

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As I washed down walls, I thought of all the years of housework mum put in. At the time, I was muttering that I could do with a little help. Shame I don’t have any brownies in the house.

But sometimes I feel someone’s watching me as I work. Where’s that Blu-tac?IMG_1603

In Scottish folklore, it was believed that the wee folk, Brownies,
would sometimes move into a home and help with house-work. These hob-goblins were very shy and worked at night when the household was asleep, sweeping, washing dishes, keeping things clean and tidy. According to a story in Duncan Williamson’s collection The Coming of the Unicorn, they were small men, in old shabby clothes, often with a long white beard and the most arresting, blues eyes you could ever see.  The only payment they required was a bowl of porridge with milk, left out at night by the hearth.

If you forgot, the Brownie could let you know by making a mess in the house, breaking dishes and the like.  If you offered money, it was considered an insult and they quit the place.

In “The Broonie’s Farewell” he tells of just such an event when the farmer’s wife leaves out a new set of clothes for the Brownie who had helped their farm to flourish. The farmer kept the clothes their Broonie left behind for years, hoping the he’d return.

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In English foklore, Brownies were most likely to help with animals and crops on the farm, sleep in the barn by day, and work by night. Like the Scottish Brownie, they liked to be thanked, with their bowl of porridge, but never be paid.

I wished for a Brownie in the house and remembered I had been one,  joining the local pack, like this,  at the age of seven.

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Baden-Powell, who had founded the Scouting movement, co-opted the Scottish Brownie, to create an alternative group for girls. (Thank goodness the Rosebuds idea didn’t stick.) Their sworn promise was …  ” “to help other people at all times, especially those at home.”

Each weekly meeting, we’d all skip around a papier-mache toadstool and sing, ”We’re the Brownies here’s our aim, lend a hand and play the game.” We were taught all sorts of useful skills, like how to light a gas stove and the order to wash dished in.  For me, the best bit about the Brownies was learning to sing lots of rounds and silly songs.

In my group of six, we also had our own song “Look out! Here we are the jolly Pixies helping others when in fixes” – which rings prophetic if you’ve read the my first post in this blog.

Multi-purpose

According to folklore, they do say some Brownies went bad and turned into boggarts – big, strong limbed, evil looking, creatures doing damage and causing mayhem wherever they lived. They were aggressive and challenged any humans they encountered to a competition, some game of strength, and if you couldn’t beat them, they’d eat you!

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I’ve read several  boggarts’ tales in Alan Garner’s book A Bag of Moonshine. These teach the reader how to use their wits if they should encounter such a beast. Is that a Boggart?

 I’m sure there‘s a Boggart bothering me at work –  in the computer program I have to use. I was at at my wits end with it last week. So I’m reverting to what I learned as a Brownie, not sure what to do next? Let’s sing!

Join in with  In the Brownies! on YouTube – Billy Connelly’s parody of a well-known hit in the 70s. I won’t put the link here because of Copyright but watch it and sing along –  that just might help the Boggart in my computer decide to revert to being a helpful brownie again …

With thanks to Irene for the image of her Brownie pack.

All Word and other Images by Meg Philp.

Story Twigs … ! this blog by Meg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.