Rehearsing was hard work, actually, but I found my way into stories I have told long ago - Paul's one body, many members, which took more effort than Jesus' parables of lost things (sheep, coin, son) - and polished up some stories I've already told on the tour - the story of sarah tells stories, and stone soup - as well as some new stories - of willows and whispers (which includes some recorder pieces, one of which I have difficulty with), and the sweet sound of grace (which also includes music - my humming, the audience's singing).
I rehearsed in a room at Star Street Uniting, with whose community I am going to camp this weekend. While I was there, I saw the food store, which has been going for 30 years, and is a volunteer-run shop servicing the local community, and has an op-shop attached, also volunteer run, and also got to know the community a bit more.
They are a diverse community in so many ways, and stay healthy in their diversity through a commitment to an ethos represented in these statements, which have been posted in their building for many years, and were composed by one of my hosts, Bruce May.
After lunch with some of the volunteers, I went 'home' and spent the afternoon sitting in the sunshine composing new stories and a poem. One of the stories is from my childhood, when one Easter I stayed with Diane and Bruce with my family, and imagined I heard the Easter Bunny hopping past my bedroom door ...
This evening I gathered with a group from Forest Lakes Uniting Church to talk reading stories aloud with children. I told a story from the Lost Sheep series - Echidnas on Everest - and Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit. We thought and talked about finding the emotion in stories, about pace and character, and gave some attention to our voices and how we produce sound, our bodies and how we warm them up; all seeking to polish the way we read stories with children, to make the most of these moments of connection and meaning-making together. I also gave them a brief introduction to learning stories to tell by heart.
This workshop is not listed in my brochure, for I developed it in response to the request from the Forest Lakes people. I am delighted to have received the request, and to have had the opportunity to reflect on another element of my own practice of storytelling, the sharing of stories with the younger members of communities of faith. I will be thrilled to lead such a workshop again, so feel free to issue the invitation!