I was taken aback at this question. I can rattle off the Scots proverb as someone who tells selected stories to listeners … eye to eye, mind to mind, and heart to heart.
Holding all the stories that I have ever heard … to put that energy into the present one I’m telling, to entertain a particular audience is a challenge.
I carry stories I tell inside me. They make a growing list. Scenes from them can ‘flash on my inward eye’ when I’m searching for a particular theme to tell to.
I have to get better at thinking on my feet and responding to a question like this … with how I feel at the time.
Mostly I’m in a warm, ordinary place connected with a story – the one that I’m working on is usually working on me, as the teller.
I do a lot of walking and take my time. I’m learning to retell stories to myself aloud, more. I draw story maps to get the sequence down.
As a visual learner, I see stories as spirals and I’m getting better at mapping them.
Being a storyteller is an ongoing journey towards every telling.
Then I give it away, let it go.
Today I’m heading to a storytelling festival and when I looked at my elephant-shaped, perpetual calendar, not only did it show the day I leave, but also the day I return! I be like an elephant as I tell … and never forget!
I can’t forget all the storytellers who have encouraged me, helped me and supported me in my learning to tell stories. I have, on occasions when my audience felt daunting, had the reassuring sense that they were all standing behind me!
NB August 2018
(This post, first posted in October 2015, is in the process of being updated.)
Story Twigs the Imagination © MegPhilp