Day 1 of my storytelling workshop in Gouda, finds us in the centre of the city, spending the day at the top of a huge cafe. I am simultaneously nervous and excited. For me, this is an adventure. Why the nerves? It’s been many years since I’ve been placed in the company of strangers, away from home, family and friends. Apart from starting a new job (which you can leave at the end of the day to go home), nothing compares to this situation. We’ll be in a room learning together from 9-5 am, having supper and if all goes well, spending some of the evenings together storytelling. Why the excitement? I’m on a journey, alone in a new country. I’ll be further developing a wonderful creative craft and focussing just on me rather than my children. Totally indulgent.
One of our workshop leaders, Peter Fruhmann gets us to work in pairs to discuss the power of stories. This leads to why do we tell stories? What type of stories are there? How do the stories come to life?
I like to tell stories to connect listeners across countries and generations, to share cultural references, to teach and inspire. I’m most interested in telling ‘Trickster’ stories about Anancy. When I mention these stories to people who are familiar with the cheeky spiderman, they instantly connect with me and the memory of being told these stories as a child. I’m thinking of ways to bring these stories to life. When considering the power of stories, you need to think about who will be listening to you and what meaning can be found in the story.