"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

31 December 2012

Goodbye 2012! Hello New Year!

What a treat to finish the year with a performance last Friday night at the Guid Crack Club in Edinburgh where I was the featured storyteller.

After a lovely introduction from host Claire Druett, I entered the world of my childhood and shared a story of Christmas Eve with my Uncle Arnold. It was all about an amazing pig named Chester. Bit of truthful recollection mixed with some 'shaggy dog (er...pig)' fun. Later, I paid tribute to my musician grandfather Ron Wicken with a story of the night he brought Santa Claus home after a gig, except that Santa turned out to be none other than . . .  (that would be giving the story away). It was also a tribute to my younger brother David who triggered the memory of the events. Finally, I told the tale of French poet Robert Desnos whose imagination circumvented death and reminded us of the power of story. We finished the night with some fortune telling and a rousing rendition of 'Auld Lang Syne' in true Scottish fashion.

It's been a great year and I want to thank all those who gave me the opportunity to share my and their passion for storytelling. I look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming year. Thanks for listening and sharing your stories. Long may that continue.

"A story is told eye to eye, mind to mind, and heart to heart." Scottish proverb

15 December 2012

Blethers - Issue 25 Autumn 2012

Read the latest issue of Blethers, the newsletter of the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Network. Lots of interesting and inspiring news about storytelling in Scotland and elsewhere. Check out my article on my recent visit to a care home in Canada. Download here.

14 December 2012

Newsletter for apprentice storytellers in Scotland - Issue 1

I'd like to announce the first Newsletter for apprentice storytellers in Scotland produced by the Scottish Storytelling Centre. It will be of interest to anyone interested in storytelling. Download here. Cheers, Michael

08 October 2012

Share your story on film

I've joined up with film-makers and writers Paul Maguire and Suzy Enoch of Edinburgh-based Out of the Wood Productions to create a series of short films featuring the stories of some of Scotland's passionate business and community leaders, coaches, therapeutic and creative practitioners and artists.

If you have a project or practice in the UK that you want the world to know about and are eager to share your passion and story, contact me to discuss and/or arrange an interview.

Michael Williams - iamthestoryteller[at]gmail[dot]com or 07908749699. http://www.outofthewoodsproductions.co.uk

30 September 2012

British Awards for Storytelling Excellence 2012

The results are in and the winners announced here - https://www.facebook.com/BritishAwardsForStorytellingExcellencebase. Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone who took part. Thanks especially to Peter Chand and his dedicated colleagues for organising this event and I look forward to more in the coming years. Storytelling was the big winner on the night. Get out and make 2013 an even more successful year. Support your storytellers and get involved in a workshop or performance near you. For those in Scotland, you can go to http://www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk for lots of information on upcoming storytelling events and performances, including the annual International Storytelling Festival in Edinburgh in October.

26 September 2012

BASE Storytelling Awards

There's still time to register your vote for the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence (BASE). Go to http://www.storyawards.org.uk and look and listen to the many wonderful nominees in a variety of categories.

I'm pleased to be included in the nominees for the Best Community Project for my film (co-produced with Paul Maguire) "Our Story: the story of the Christian Fellowship of Healing". This was our first storytelling film project together although we are currently planning another featuring a couple of charities working with children and young adults.

If you are interested in exploring your 'inner storyteller', please get in touch with me. I offer both 1-to-1 and small group story coaching and mentoring (in Edinburgh and area). I also offer Skype sessions for those further away.

In the meantime, I wish you meaningful stories and ears to listen.

Michael

07 September 2012

September StoryNews


This marks the first of what I hope will be a monthly roundup of some of the events and stories going on around the world of storytelling. Each article will provide clickable links to take you to the original story where you can learn more.

Festival news comes first with a preview of the 2012 Oklahoma City Storytelling Festival (6-8 September) by Brandy McDonnell . This year's festival features Irish storyteller Clare Murphy, Canada's Steve Poltz and Dolores Hydock from Alabama. Even if this news comes late, it's worth noting and becoming a follower of Brandy's blog.

During the same weekend, the Southern Ohio Storytelling Arts and Music Festival takes place in Yoctangee Park. This year's festival features stalwarts such as Bil Lep, Carmen Deedy, Donald Davis, Octavia Sexton and Kevin Coleman. Again, if this news comes late, make a note for next year.

Of course, you won't want to miss the 40th International Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tennessee. Taking place 5-7 October, this the 'grandmother' of all storytelling festivals in the US. This year's festival features a star-studded list including old favourites like Jay O'Callahan, John McCutcheon, Judith Black, Gay Ducey, and Laura Simms as well as newer voices like Michael Harvey, Hannah Harvey, Kim and Reggie Harris, Alton Chung, and Rex Ellis. Attending this festival is a life-changing event. Don't miss it.

And for fans in the UK, there's the 2012 International Storytelling Festival in Edinburgh Scotland. This is a 10-day event (19-28th October), this year focusing on the Brothers Grimm and the old master storytellers of Europe. The Festival invites storytellers from around the world as well as local Scottish raconteurs. If past years are anything to go by, this year's Festival will charm, entertain and absolutely inspire you.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of storytelling festivals, workshop and other events taking place around the globe. Obviously, there's just not space to advertise them all, but if you have a favourite storytelling festival drop me a line. I'd love to hear about it.

Finally, I'd like to note the passing of two great storytellers, one a journalist and the other a musician and friend. Bob Johnstone, a former journalist with the Toronto Star and the CBC, died last Sunday from cancer. He was 82 years old. Originally from Ireland, Bob left school at 16 and worked a spell as a lumberjack in northern Ontario before finding his true calling. His gift for storytelling found expression on CBC radio in such regular spots like “Today in History” where his sonorous and authoritative tones became well-known. Bob was particularly in his element when telling stories about others and he'll be sadly missed.

Jack Glennie (banjo) and me
The other death was that of banjo player and my good friend Jack Glennie who died at the end of August from cancer. He was only 66 years old. I met Jack during the mid-70s in London Ontario where he managed a music store. London was a musical hot spot in those days and nearly every musician in town had bought an instrument from him at one time or another or had one repaired by him. Jack always welcomed you with a smile and a joke and unlike many proprietors always encouraged you to hang around, play some music and share a story. We played together in the late 70s and early 80s in bluegrass band New County Line and the stories of our travels together still bring laughter and warmth to my heart. Jack was a great banjo player, (grand)father, husband and friend. I'll miss him dearly.

They say we are not truly dead until they stop telling stories about us. May the stories of your loved ones continue forever.

Michael

p.s. I've published this on my 'Therapeutic Storytelling' page at All Things Healing (www.allthingshealing.com). Go there to learn more about how stories can offer healing and contribute to our well-being.

11 August 2012

Back in the UK

Following a fantastic trip to Canada, I've returned to the UK. By the look of things so far, it appears I've come back to lovely summer weather compared to the rain and cool weather that has dogged the country for most of June and July.

Looking ahead to September, I'm now organising one-to-one story coaching and mentoring sessions. If interested, please contact me. More on the 'Learn' page.

25 June 2012

My Canadian Story

As I missed my Mum's 80th birthday last year, I vowed to come to Canada this summer and catch up with the family, celebrate Mum's birthday, nourish my connections with Canadian storytellers and develop some storytelling opportunities.

So, I've been here a week. Needing to take the opportunity to see my oldest son and his girlfriend, I have used this weekend to visit--the same weekend as my Mum's birthday. Fortunately, Mum understands and she and I will celebrate over dinner later in the week. Meanwhile, I've had a great time re-connecting with my son who's been spending the last few years in both Canada and Switzerland, dividing his time between landscape architecture in one country and snowboarding in another.

If you want to follow my journal of my time here, go to iamthestoryteller.wordpress.com.

I'll be in Canada until early August when I return to the UK. If you're wanting to connect, email me at iamthestoryteller[at]gmail[dot]com.

31 March 2012

Great Leaders Inspire

In this video, Simon Sinek explains how great leaders inspire. They know the story of 'why' they do what they do. That's the story of their passion. Innovative companies like Apple do too. Do you know 'why' you do what you do? What drives you? What are you passionate about?

13 March 2012

Therapeutic Storytelling Reading List

Following my recent mini-workshop on Therapeutic Storytelling, I'm offering some further reading for anyone interested in learning more.

Download a FREE therapeutic storytelling reading list:


Enjoy. Any questions, or if you would like a workshop, please get in touch.

14 February 2012

Storytelling in Business Communication

This short video presentation from the Hoffman Agency highlights the importance of storytelling as the narrative strategy for business communication today.


17 January 2012

Happy 2012!!

Happy New Year! May 2012 be blessed with health, love, meaning and prosperity.
I'm looking forward to the year ahead. A time to let go of 'old stories' that are no longer serving me. Time to make room for new stories to develop. And time to listen to the stories around me with compassion and mindfulness.

I continue to enjoy working with young people, helping them understand better the language of stories and other forms of writing. I'm also working with film-maker Paul Maguire on a short film documenting the story of the Christian Fellowship of Healing in Scotland. The film will premiere at 2pm on Saturday February 11th, 2012 at Morningside United Church in Edinburgh. I would like to thank the Rev. Jenny Williams, John Munro and everyone at the CFH for their support and cooperation.

I would like to thank Creative Scotland for its continued support of my work. Last summer they enabled me to travel to Denmark to work with Native-American psychiatrist and storyteller Lewis Mehl-Medrona and this winter they supported my application for traditional arts mentoring with one of Scotland's foremost storytellers (more on this in the future).

Speaking of mentoring, my story mentoring and coaching groups continue into a third year. These groups consist of four individuals who come to hone their storytelling skills and craft their repertoire as well as deepen their connections with their stories and inner storyteller. Several people have indicated their readiness to start a new group, so if you are looking to spark or re-ignite your passion for storytelling, contact me at iamthestoryteller@gmail.com for more details. One-to-one sessions are also available.

Other projects include work with the Aberdeen Leadership Forum in which I'll be co-leading an exploration of a narrative approach to transformational leadership (more on that too in the future). And, of course, I'm still compiling and editing articles and videos on storytelling for All Things Healing.

Finally, I'd like to tell you about 'Mythical Yoga', an exciting workshop being featured at this year's Edinburgh International Middle Eastern Festival of Spirituality and Peace. Working with yoga practitioner and holistic therapist Sue Powell, we will explore the world of spirit through story and yoga. You don't have to be experienced in yoga nor storytelling. Just come along with an open heart and soothe body, mind and spirit through gentle yoga poses and story. Bring a yoga mat if you have one but don't worry if you don't.

Hopefully, our paths will cross soon. Till then, take care and keep smiling.

Testimonials

"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

"Michael's understanding of storytelling within a leadership and business context has helped us provide a great service in helping leaders determine their personal and organisational destiny and legacy. Working with Michael is inspiring and fun; and pulls you to be fully engaged from start to finish." Norton Bertram-Smith, Managing Director and Leadership Consultant for On Purpose.

Kamink: the little boy who grew into a giant of a man

Blues and Roots Radio

Blues and Roots Radio
Check out my weekly storytelling radio show, The Teller and the Tale on bluesandrootsradio.com.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland
I'm grateful to Creative Scotland for its support.