• The Story Pilgrim

Reflections At The Water Edge




Standing at the water edge can be a good place to reflect. I embrace the Samhain wind with its fierce ghostly groaning. its cry, ruminating sorrowfully like a lament across the landscape. My eyes gaze towards a group of people huddled together in unity in an attempt to resist the construction of a gas pipe. I am in solidarity but I am equally alone. I am capturing story and there is always the part of standing on the sidelines, watching, observing, documenting.


As I stand grounded in place and see that Goliath is being thwarted by David my initial reaction is to ponder on the words I could use to document this act of selfless bravery of a few determined individuals. Isn’t that the role of the storyteller to keep our people's history alive. There is more to story than its mere ability to entertain. Yet I remind myself of the magic of a good tale of fantasy, pink flower fairies, red dragons, and frogs who morph back into princes. Indeed, there is something enchanting about tales of once upon a time and happy ever after and I love them.


Nowadays, the ravenous jaws of neo-liberalism shapes individuals towards making jobs that make money. Unfortunately, storytelling isn't that type of job. The question has to be posed: - is financial wealth the only requisite for work? Is the accumulation of material objects a means to bring true happiness? It has to be said that wealth is the tale of happy ever in neo-liberal society no matter who or what you exploit and commodify. Poverty yields a cold fury, it is unforgiving and I have no desire to be trapped within its wretched grip and the reality is that the financial gain from storytelling is unpredictable and often I am desperately trying to make ends meet. Perhaps I should try and find a proper job that brings in a regular wage but at sixty that seems unlikely. Moreover, I am tired of the continual emotional roller coaster of hope and rejection.


If as some commentators state that storytelling is central to human existence then why can’t a storyteller be looked upon equally in the same way as a professional doctor or IT specialist. Like those who follow the way of the Wise Woman I am of the firm opinion that story is truly medicine. Story allows us to look at ourselves, it brings tears, it brings laughter, it brings understanding and it brings healing. Don't ask whether a story is true but what truth it reveals. Perhaps the myth of creative endeavours assumes that all creativity is a natural gift which simply flows with ease and requires no hard work contributes to the sense that the gift is reward in itself. I can assure you it takes considerable time to perfect a story. It is at the end of the day – a craft.


And what about stories of our heritage and history. Stories like the type which is playing out in front of me. My story heart observes, a cold ruthless monster halted in its tracks by a handful of heroes. It is a story of resistance and struggle and a story of celebration and laughter. As we move away from the hearth of telling stories by the fire to a place where we are so exhausted juggling work and family commitments perhaps there is little desire other than to collapse into bed. Hence we are too busy to take time out to listen and to explore our stories. .

I am holding back tears as I glance towards a heap of trees toppled on the ground. Sorrow is upon me, as I mourn the loss of their beauty. . The corporate world laughs at the mere notion of trees having language but I believe that trees chime and enchant in their whisperings. There is no room for the mythos after all it gets in the way of commodification and of seeing everything in monetary terms.


Incensed, I am gripped by a new realisation that it is time to rekindle our stories and break free from the neo-liberal mega narrative. I am equally convinced that this story will not die though for the moment it seems that the monster is winning. The myth of modernism is dying as human reason and technology has left an empty void and as a result of this emptiness I believe that we will dig deep within our humanity and we will do it with story. For storytellers are the memory keepers and as long as I breath the stories will be very much alive. Thus story is in my DNA and story is who I am. There is no other option; I am storyteller and my ponderings continue.Report this

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