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National Storytelling Week

National Storytelling Week

Next Monday (30th January 2023) sees the start of National Storytelling Week, a week devoted to celebrating the art of story telling. Children in schools will focus on stories and do lessons around key stories and people of all walks of life with take time to think about the power of storytelling.

We know how powerful storytelling is; whether it is the power to send a small child to sleep or to keep a tribes traditions alive. It is through telling stories that we are able to impart wisdom, share lessons that have been learnt through the generations and, perhaps most importantly, how we stay alive. While ever someone is telling our story we will always be here. Our energy and our wisdom will continue, long past our physical existence. 

 

When we allow our story to be told we not only keep ourselves alive in the hearts of others, but we also ensure that others, who may have a similar story, don’t feel alone. When children listen to stories about other people feeling scared, alone, upset, they realise, often unconsciously, that the way they feel is ok and other people sometimes feel that way too. When someone who is grieving or seriously ill reads or listens to someone else telling their experiences of that, or a similar situation, they feel seen and understood in a way no other experience can. 

Storytelling as a healing process

Of course writing your story, or any story, is an incredibly healing process in itself. Even if that story is never shared with anyone else, writing down your experiences or imaginings can be a powerful and therapeutic process. 

I read articles every day about celebrities who have written autobiographies or musicians who have written a particularly personal album, and the dramatic impact it has had on them. 

You really can change your life with the power of words.

 

writing for storytelling

How can you celebrate National Storytelling week?

 

1. Read a story you have been wanting to read for a long time.

We all have stories that on some level we know we want to read, but it might be a bit long, or not a very uplifting story. Perhaps you just haven’t got around to buying or borrowing a copy yet. Get that book and read it this week. Your future self will thank you. 

2. Talk to someone from an older generation and discover part of their story

It can be easy to assume that the older generation don’t have anything interesting to say, especially when we are younger. We often assume that because they don’t go out very often now that that has always been their life. In reality of course they were once a vibrant twenty year old or an adventurous 30 year old. Why not find time this week to invite someone to have a cuppa and some cake and talk to them about their youth. I guarantee you will find out something magical. 

A few months ago my mother in law had a get together for the jubilee and invited a few friends and family members and her neighbour and good friend, Doris. Doris is almost 96 years old and the most amazing lady you can imagine. She is always immaculately turned out and incredibly well spoken. I have always had a soft spot for her, but life is busy with two children and everything else I juggle and I don’t spend as much time with her as I would like. This particular day she dropped a couple of bombshells into the conversation; “When I saw Richard Burton in Stratford” and “It reminds me of when I went to Vegas!”. Because there were so many people in the room she didn’t elaborate, but I was desperate to ask her more about it”. Maybe that will be what I do during National Storytelling Week.

writing for storytelling

3. Write your story

Think back on a particularly positive period in your life, perhaps a holiday or trip, a particular job you have done or when something significant happened. Grab a pen and paper or your laptop or phone, and start writing about that time. Write down everything you can remember from that time; your feelings about what was happening, what you remember seeing, eating, watching onTV… Make it as detailed as you can. You may never write any more or you might be inspired to write a full memoir or autobiography. Whatever you decide the benefits of revisiting a time in your life when you were really happy are immense.

4. Read a story to someone else

If you are a parent chances are this is part of your day or week anyway, but if you don’t have children or they are grown up, you probably don’t often read aloud. We experience stories very differently when we read them out loud, and the person listening also has a profoundly different experience. My parents often experience books this way. My Dad has a problem with one of his eyes so he finds it tiring to read for long enough to read a book. So they find books they both enjoy and my Mum reads them out loud to him. It is a really lovely routine and they both get different benefits. 

5. Watch a film about a famous storyteller

There are some wonderful films about many of our most cherished writers. From “Shadowlands” to “Miss Potter” and “Goodbye Christopher Robin”. Why not take the time to watch one of these wonderful films this week and remind yourself about the magical lives many of our favourite authors lived.

 

Keep those stories alive

However you decide to celebrate National Storytelling Week, I hope you will find the experience of immersing yourself in stories an enjoyable one. It is something I love to do all year round, not just for one week a year. Stories have power and can truly change the world so let’s make sure that future generations value them too.

 

 

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