The story she had promised to debut wasn't ready. The workshop wasn't fully booked. The facilitator was hot, sticky, and tired, after too many hot and sticky days in a row. And yet, as she stood, face up into the fan's whirring breath, the afternoon whispered its promise to her: they will come who need to find their stories.
Come they did, and stories they found, at this my first workshop of the year.
I did debut the first of a series of stories I have been developping, made up characters based on real life people, set in a made up forest based on one I discovered in Margaret River. I must say, it has been fun, creating this fictional world in which to tell stories I have lived. It frees me up to tell my own stories, as telling our own stories is important, without my events and workshops being all about me. I think. I'm still tweaking it, but hope to get a video of it on my youtube channel at some stage.
In the end, telling a story still in development is a more helpful thing for a workshop than a well polished performance of a well polished story, which can be intimidating for workshop participants who shut down thinking, well, I can't do that. I introduced it as a work in progress, and came back to it as an example throughout the workshop.
As folk engaged in the various activities designed to warm up voice, imagination and listening, we discovered how stories have lives of their own, carrying us away. We were surprised at the depth and breadth of the stories that wanted to be told, challenged when asked to trust our stories to another, delighted to learn or learn again that we are story tellers.
We remembered the elements of a story that are necessary for shaping it well so it will be well heard.
We learnt where to begin when we want to tell a story.
As we considered how the way we tell our stories shapes our living, we imagined what story we want to live this year - stories of gentle, wise, generous influence on those we meet.
The afternoon winked knowingly and she acknowledged the wisdom with a nod - the afternoon had delivered on its promise. They had come, who needed to find their stories: they had come, they had made their discoveries, and they left floating on their stories' joy at being told.