Like many people with a love of story, it was just there, from my earliest awareness. It began with the fairy and folk tales, then came the books.
As a teenager it was the ‘story’ songs I liked the most (and yes, that did mean country and western).
Years as a Community Lawyer
When I began studying law, it was the stories that held my interest, not the law.
And it was in a small window-less duty lawyer’s office at the Sunshine Magistrates Court that I saw first hand the self awareness and understanding that occurs, when people tell the story of their actions, try to make sense of their life and someone bears witness.
Mother of All Stories
When I became a mother I desperately wanted to leave the printed page, to tell my kids stories, to look at them and play with them using story.
So I collected a bunch of folk tales, and... well, that was it. I read them to my kids.
The Gifts of Crisis
After nearly twenty years I reached a crisis of confidence in the law and I left.
Then when my personal life became a mess, I began a journey of self-discovery and change. And in this process it was the stories that shone, stories of those who went before me and stories that showed me new ways of thinking and re-storying my life.
Surrounded By Stories
I went on to study ways people collaborate and found, to my surprise, that personal storytelling is at the heart of group connection and collaboration.
I worked in community development and disaster and found story in the centre.
I studied life coaching and found storying, and re-storying, inherent in coaching.
The Path of the Storyteller
And so I began the work of becoming a storyteller. There was no clear path but there were helpers along the way.
I learned to tell folktales and for a five years I told and taught kids in schools. This was wonderful but I didn’t see stories as just ‘kids business’.
Slowly the waters cleared. I had so often seen the impact, on both teller and listener, of sharing personal stories, and so I set out to learn, tell and teach the art of crafting and telling our own stories.
The Happy Ending?
I still freeze with a blank mind if anyone asks me to tell them a story. You see, I am looking in my mind for a fully formed story, complete with a little label ‘Story’ so I can find it.
But stories are not like that, stories are created, piece by piece, image by image, skill by skill, stitched together into a fully formed, proper thing we call a 'Story'.
Some folk are natural raconteurs and I love listening to them, but that is not at the heart of what draws me to story. For me it is always about understanding, self awareness and connection.
And this is what I want to share with you - a world, accessible to all of us, of consciously making stories from life; epic, gripping, funny, moving and meaningful stories.
Stories that deepen our understanding of who we are and what we stand for; stories that touch our hearts, as well as our listeners.