Tuesday, 30 June 2015

It's That Time of Year

The festival season is upon us and, after a gruelling couple of months where I worked flat-out with only one day off, the current sunshine and easier days are most welcome. I say easier days - for me that means 9-5 and not 7 till midnight. 

It's been exhilarating, of course. Running writing workshops the length and breadth of the country and working on a music and poetry project in Oxfordshire have been great fun. Add to that mix the wedding season, baby namings and storytelling at local festivals and it really has been a non-stop fairground ride of invention, creativity and joy.

I have a last fling before I finally go on holiday. I am working with Year 10s, 9s and one Year 8 student at Carterton Community College on a storytelling project that will culminate in them going into their local primary school to tell stories. What a fabulous experience for everyone concerned and I'm sure much will be learned in the process.

The value of storytelling is well-known. The experience of telling and listening deepens our awareness of humanity. It happens on a quite unconscious level and often, without knowing it, we're learning new ways of approaching old problems. We may questions things we don't feel are fair or right as we identify with the person who is struggling to overcome obstacles.

What a privilege for me to be able to help young people find a way of sharing their favourite tales and develop inherent skills.

When I return from my holiday I shall continue the process, this time with older people with dementia  and their families and carers.

I shall also be finishing off the judging of Back Room Poets' first international poetry competition. There's quite a batch and I've already begun sifting through a few. It's a daunting task. A bit like the mouse in the story - the more you worry about it, the bigger it gets - but always there is that hope of finding something truly special, the one outstanding poem that takes your breath away. It's there somewhere... But I'm afraid it will have to wait till I get back from a well-earned break.

1 comment:

  1. It must be fascinating working with kids on storytelling. The older I get the more I've begun to realise how much our lives depend on our ability to tell a story. People often describe madness and dementia as "losing the plot" and what an apt description, because when we lose the ability to tell our own story we practically cease to exist. What is the modern day obsession with the CV but a reflection of our need to tell and receive stories? Have a great holiday Pat.