Showing posts from August, 2015

Stories of Passion : Stories for Life

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throwback thursday celebration of poetry

from 'the only way I know' October 2013

midweek musing : art for sale or soul?

I read an article recently that was one person's observation of the move in our society (Western, developed, etc.) from artists as 'artisans' to 'entrepreneurs'.

Overall, I agree with the author's perspective that the relationship between our artists and their community has changed from those with a gift to offer, to being another group with something to sell. The all-pervasiveness of commercialism was bound to suck us all in eventually. Everyone has to eat, and food costs money.

As an artist who this year has had to rely on my art as a means for making money – I started a Patreon page through which folk can financially support me as I compose stories and poems, with a commitment to produce stories and poems on a regular basis – I have found this shift debilitating.

It may be that the broader experience of living hand to mouth, uncertain of the long term income prospects or my ability to cover the rent each month, is the overriding source of debilitation. It ma…

of stories given and received

Footage from Cafe Voices at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, 9 July, and by the Golden Waterfall in Iceland.

Hannah Kent's Burial Rites made a big impact on me, inspiring a poetic version of the story.

We are fully human together.

a day of magical moments

Their voices filled the space with soul. I closed my eyes, murmured mmm in assent and I received the gift.

The Tshwane Gospel Choir were singing as we gathered in Greyfriars Kirk this morning, joyful, vibrant, Spirited.

Harriet, one of the University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy team, led a reflection on faith, reflecting on the Passion story we'd both seen on Thursday (which I wrote about here) – 'as Jesus was stripped, we were stripped, as he died, we died, as he rose - and he danced - we rose, we danced' – and telling stories of faith held by the community as much as, if not more than, it being something any individual possesses.

A young child was baptised, a look of quiet interest in all around her captivating all around her. The Greyfriars choir sang a blessing to her that was composed by her uncle.

Their voices filled the space with soul. I closed my eyes, murmured mmm in assent, and received their gift.

After reconnecting with friends not seen because of summer travels, …

a dynamic stillness

Passion: a contemporary journey to the cross
The silence. The still, expectant, silence as I settled in, one of the last to arrive, to my seat in a side chapel of the St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh.

The Sacred anticipation – the blurb said the best places to experience this piece are holy spaces.

Then Dan Forshaw and Jan Payne break the silence with saxophone and oboe screams that resound not only in the hallowed space but straight through to the hearts of the gathered ones: this, they say from the first, this, is a story that hurts to tell and hurts to hear.

'Passion: a contemporary journey to the cross' is a poetic, performative telling of the story followers of Christ know so well. Billed as a dance / poetry piece, I was expecting more movement, but the dancers hold their poses, their stillness speaking eloquently of Love, of loss, of Divine invitation into liberation from all that would bind.

The poetry was from Malcolm Guite's Sounding the Seasons, and t…

open to play and imagine

Feedback from participants in my workshop on emotion in storytelling last week has come through – with superb efficiency, I am impressed!

From the comments, what people appreciated about the workshop most was:
Keeping the discussion flowing Affirming ideas expressed Simple exercises w/emotions The openness of conversation led exquisitely by Sarah. Permission to play and imagine The only suggested improvement was for 'more time' - and all of those who completed feedback forms would take a workshop with me again.

I am grateful for such positive responses, and for the openness and willingness of the participants to engage in conversation and play.

Find out more about the kind of workshops I can offer here, and invite me to come and play with your group, students, leaders, congregation – through play and imagination comes nurture of our wellbeing.

a week in the embrace of my tribe

truth be known, I claim membership of a number of tribes - the Uniting Church I describe as my tribe or tradition rather than denomination; my extended family I often refer to as my tribe.

on this occasion, however, I am speaking of another tribe, an international, inter-denominational, and to some extent even interfaith tribe. The Network of Biblical Storytellers. I found them long ago. I love them hard.

the first week of August this year I returned into their embrace, after a four year absence from the international gathering, and two years since our last Australian gathering. this year, I was welcomed to the scholars' seminar as well as attending the festival gathering, rounding out a full week of storytelling, biblical performance criticism, worship, friendship, and healing.

the thing about a tribe, or a community - healthy ones - is the mutual nurture of individuals within it, and of the whole. one both gives and receives, simultaneously, joyously, generously.

so I gave of m…

new poem : A lonely fragment