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

16 March 2013

Spring is coming

Since my last posting in February, life has continued to stir and grow beneath our feet. Snowdrops, crocii and daffodils are all sending up green shoots and have begun to bloom. Spring is just around the corner.

As for me, there was little time to bask in the warm glow of the 'Gift of Story' performance for I had to prepare for another workshop--this one for the Methodist Ministers Conference/Retreat near Glasgow. This half-day workshop saw a group of ministers gather to explore the art of storytelling and its relevance to their work. A chance to share practice and stories with one another.

A late call saw me going out to West Lothian to help the staff and pupils at Addiewell Primary School celebrate World Book Day. Everyone was dressed up in costume reflecting their favourite story characters. The P1s and 2s swarmed around me as I set up. They just had to hear what a guitar and banjo sounded like. They also marvelled at my Japanese meditation bowl, gonging it for effect. They also discovered my bag of finger puppets and asked a million questions before finally settling down at my feet for stories. How attentive and appreciative they were.

However, I was coming down with a cold and I could feel my voice wavering. In the middle of the "Wide Mouthed Frog" it went. Open mouth, nothing came out. Good thing the kids had picked up on the refrain "I'm a wide-mouthed frog and I eat bugs!" A few did remark that my croak was a pretty good imitation of a frog.

Drawing of Kaminik by P6 pupil at Addiewell Primary School
Luckily, my thoughtful partner had supplied me with a flask of hot honey and lemon drink, which brought my voice back somewhat and I was able to continue through the rest of the morning (although replacing 'Wide Mouthed Frog' with a 'Drop of Honey'). In the P5 and 6 class I told 'Kaminik', an Inuit-inspired tale of a little boy who grows into a giant of a man. The telling lasts for about 30 minutes. Any fears the teacher had about the kids' attention span were thrown out, as the kids sat and listened attentively, enraptured by Kaminik's adventures. At the end of the story, they paused for a few moments to reflect, before asking for another story.

The morning finished with a session with the P7s and some other P6s. All in all, it was a wonderful morning of storytelling, even if when I got home, I collapsed into bed for a week.

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.