Thursday, February 03, 2011

When stories nestle in the body, the soul comes forth

Maggie, Gauri and I are all united by a passion for telling stories, and using creative storytelling to benefit our local communities. We strongly believe in the ability of stories to heal people, from the young to the elderly. We met last summer while participating in the course ‘The Storyteller at Play’ led by the International School of Storytelling in East Sussex. Since then a conversation filled with growing interest and passion, and an exchange of an idea with the prospect of creating positive change, grew from a small seed to lovely budding flower this week. We hope this flower will grow and multiply in the coming months.

This project involves running creative storytelling sessions with elderly people with dementia, an activity I had started with Alison in 2008. This week, we ran our first creative storytelling workshop together with elderly people with dementia in Eastbourne, using the TimeSlips method. Here are the two stories that were created by the group.

Horse with Long Necks

This is taking place in some country - it could be either Istanbul or Reading Wood. They are horses with long necks. They are giraffes, and they make ‘tchk, tchk, tchk, tchk’ noises. They are going horse racing, and are waiting to have lunch as they meet their mother. They are also waiting for their photos to be taken. They are growing so tall, they could jump high!

The man in the middle is not scared. He’s taking them for tea. They will be drinking tea out of the sea, they are that tall, but it is better they just have a cup of tea. ‘How lovely people are!’ they are saying. The one in the corner is saying ‘Roll on the horse racing! I’m Win, who are you?’

They are waiting for tea. If all the windows open up, they could put their heads inside, then they could find something to eat. One giraffe said, ‘Hello! Go spend a penny on a cup of tea!’. How does a giraffe spend a penny on a cup of tea?

Finally, after the cup of tea, they have another one and decide to have yet another one. They are waiting for the cup of tea but it never arrives. The man sits quietly, not bringing the cup of tea. They can’t get out of the picture.

Pretty Boy

He is called William Thomas. He is a very pretty boy. He doesn’t look much like my dad. He’s blowing a trumpet of some sort, but it’s too big for him. He’s got to shoot up and get bigger to be able to hold the trumpet well. He’s here at Milton Grange. It’s a living room of some sort. It is too much of a mess. The trumpet is making a ‘do, do, dooot’ noise, but it should be louder than that. It should be ‘DO, DO, DO, DO, DOOOT’. Louder!

His mum is thinking that he’s wetting his trousers and the neighbours are thinking the same thing. The neighbours wished he played something quieter and that he was less smelly!

He’s blowing so hard, the music papers are flying all over the place, or it must be a bit windy in that living room. It is the noise of the wind that makes the music. He’s not reading the music, he’s just playing the trumpet.

When he finishes playing, he will go and find some very pretty girls or he might be flat out and go to sleep. If pretty boy can play music, he can also find some very pretty girls!

We thank Ann, Barbara and Barbara, Bill, William, Mary, Sylvia, Winifred (Win), Maria, Angelica, and the support of Carol, Sheila and Grant, for their participation and creativity.

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