I had forgotten how much fun it is to tell stories, to read them aloud, creating voices. Of course I am an avid reader, always surrounded by stories of one kind or another, yet it is the power of the words being released into the air, be it to share them with children or to just to share with myself, that creates the sparkling kind of magic.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently reading the glorious Women Who Run with Wolves. Yesterday it was the turn of the story of Vasilisa the Wise, who embarks on the intense journey of claiming her intuitive powers aided by listening to the intuition present in a tiny doll passed on by the previous female generation.
I could write a whole new post on the lessons that this story contained, and perhaps I will next time. I don’t know what possessed me but I decided to read the story out loud to myself, and it was as if the connection with the tale grew and grew. It became personal. Maybe it took me back to those treasured childhood times when my grandmother would spend hours telling me stories of her past or reading the most beautiful books out loud to me whilst I fell asleep. That need to hear stories has stayed with me ever since. Something is released when I read stories out loud myself - and it has to be a myth, or an age old story, or even a fairy tale ( of the not too sugary kind), for then the best magic happens as well as such deep lessons appearing in the air. Pinkola Estes, the author of the book, speaks of story connecting you to that wild woman essence present in us, surrounding us. This I understand with all my being.
Such stories have been weaving themselves into my life recently. Do take a look at the sacred feminine stories of Creating Wings, I am so excited by her project. Jen Lee’s Fortunes is another collection that must be read aloud for the beauty and the soul of the words to wash over you with depth and nourishment and thought. It is the kind of collection that wraps itself around your heart (thank you Lis of Dandelion Seeds and Dreams for such an amazing gift). The life lesson stories of Patti Digh's Life is a Verb are also full to the brim of inspiration. Her life stories just have to be read out loud, each paragraph full of words so alive, showing that our stories can carry much light even when life is bleak. I believe that as well as vital lessons to be learned there is magic and connection and hope in telling our stories.
At school I am currently teaching a narrative project, working with a group of year 2 children, who struggle to tell their own stories, to order their thoughts and to write their own tales. Through a series of physical footprint shapes with prompts written upon them to stand on, these children are learning to talk, to sequence and explore their ideas. By looking at age old stories, retelling those stories themselves, listening to me telling them, their imagination is on fire. That is the power of story, it makes us alive.
I wrote a poem a while ago with the line:
“I am a collector of stories.”
Now I want to be a storyteller too.