Introduction to Storytelling Course, March 2020

This spring, before the lockdown, we had a short and sweet “Introduction to Storytelling” course as part of the adult training programme at the Village. On the last evening, some people shared a full story for the first time in the course. Wow! I was so impressed with the talents and personal integrity these people brought to the act of storytelling. Each story was not so much of a performance, more of an invitation to spend time getting to know them – at their most authentic and open – through a piece of skilfully conveyed make-believe that means something to them.

There was a lovely variety of styles in the room. One person shared a dramatic myth he knows from his childhood; one person put a short story by a famous American writer into her own words (beautifully, subtly); another person made us laugh out loud with a classically mischievous folk tale passed on by a line of well-known Scottish storytellers; another person took us somewhere else entirely with a surreally fun, absurdist domestic drama they have written. The group had an open sense of what the word “storytelling” can mean. I felt safe in the hands of each teller, and as a listener I was enabled to trip from style to style, genre to genre, easily. Not everyone chose to share a story, but everyone listened with respect and curiosity. ‘Twas a GOOD round of stories. It felt just right.

That was back on a dark evening in early spring. We did not know that ‘lockdown’ was coming! I am looking forward to more evenings gathering together with new acquaintances, colleagues, friends and family; Zoom will have to do for now, but with all my heart I look forward to a scene I’m concocting in my imagination: a crackling campfire, bums squeezed onto bumpy logs, face alternately too hot or too cold as the wind blows the smoke about, a sticky marshmallow on a stick, a storyteller’s voice that you can’t always hear but sometimes do –  messy technicalities of being physically present with other humans. I toast my toasted marshmallow to the future.

-Naomi O Kelly, Storyteller