Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Storytelling Class

Why do we want to tell the stories of our life? This question is posed by Ali Edwards in her class/lecture Storyology: Techniques for sharing the stories of life.  She invites us to take a risk, get down the words, write the stories. 

Too often, we procrastinate because we are frightened of the appearance of what we write; our handwriting, or a fear of not getting it just right. (The voice in my head that says I cannot write.) 

The first prompt on the class video asks Why do you tell stories? and Ali requests that the participant stops the video for five or ten minutes and writes down an immediate response to that question. The class comes with a PDF download that has spaces for your written answers to the prompt. 

Instead of thinking for ages what I was going to write, I did as Ali suggested and just wrote :

Stories are the life-blood of our lives. Every moment of every day is a new story. Our actions may be repetitive but we will never repeat the story in the same way. We thrive on stories. Think of a dinner table around which is seated your family and friends. They have probably heard a certain story dozens of times; they all love (or groan!) hearing it again. The story may be embellished from the original but the essence of the story is still there, the nuts and bolts of an incident that you all want to remember...  (and more...)

In Prompt Two, the question asked is What's holding you back from getting your stories told? Following the same process, here's a section of what I wrote :

Myself and time. I waste time that could be spent journaling by overthinking everything. I take on too many things. I want to do everything. Time is quickly passing me by - it speeds up as you get older - it really does! The answer should be Nothing is holding me back, only myself...  (and more...) 

There are six prompts in total and lots of strategies and techniques contained in the PDF that, together with Ali's video, are an invaluable source of guidance, inspiration and fun in helping you appreciate that your story matters. To be less concerned about the how it looks and more about the how important it is that the story gets told. This is achievable. Have faith! I cannot recommend this inexpensive course enough. Somehow, the words came spilling out and I have already written reams of words that remind me how necessary it is to write those memories down before they are forgotten forever and that one day, my family will remember those times along with me.

Alexander Pope, a British poet, wrote :

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance

Just write!

Enjoy your storytelling - it's your story.

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