She was our cleaner by day and our storyteller when the floors were shone.
She only had one English story in her arsenal and it was a killer. She had perfected the art of telling it, narrowing her air passages just enough to make the little birds sound angelic and gruffing up in a way that made you feel like the big bear and the snakes had morphed and were right in the backyard.
Her storytime always left us with mixed feelings. We were terrified that if we did not “be good” that we too would be captured by the snakes. Her story had the desired effect. I was enchanted.
One day, I came home from school crying. Some rude girls had cut off a piece of my ponytail and said “Try and tell your mother…you will see.”
I did not want to “see”, so, I didn’t tell my mother. I told my favorite storyteller instead.
As I walked out of the school the next day, I saw her talking to the naughty girls. I was horrified. When I asked her what she had said, her reply was simple: “I told them a small story. I did my job. I think they understand”.
In that moment, my skinny little self realised the power and magic of how a simple story, can be told over and over again and have the desired effect over and over again. I was enchanted.
I tried to tap into that same magic while I boarded my tram to a storytelling event in Amsterdam recently. I had a great old story to tell. I hoped that the spirits would reward my bravery.
On my way home, I looked out of the tram window and threw a “thank you” prayer to my storytelling mentor in the sky. I had mixed feelings about how I did. I still have no way of knowing for sure whether my story had the desired effect, but it sure felt good to take that tiny step in the direction of my dreams.
My husband sent me a text message asking about the event. I simply replied “I told them a small story. I did my job. I think they understand.”
A WORD OF GRATITUDE:
At the risk of sounding like a crazy esoteric caravan-woman, my heart is urging me to wish you bravery as you look inside at the many things that have come into your life. Those shit things, those hard things, those moments of disappointment, loss and fear. Bless them! Bless also the happy things, those special moments with God & with your lover, the windfalls, lucky breaks, laughs and bursts of creative genius. Those little things make YOUR story unique. They are your biggest gift and I wish you courage as you stare your imperfect life in the face & see how damn perfect YOUR unique story is.
Aluta continua, as they say. The road is still long (for me).
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