The first time I stepped on stage it ended in tears.
|From musicals to church productions, I have constantly immersed myself in storytelling across my whole life. I loved to watch people sing on stage and how musical theatre compelled people in their imagination and creativity.
The opening night of my first show was one filled with so much excitement and emotion. I was in year one at school and my favourite doll accompanied me everywhere I went. As the curtain raised and music floated out into the audience, my little heart was beating so fast. I slipped away from my Mum backstage and found the hallowed ground. I can hear the chorus chanting as I remember this memory from over 35 years ago.
The makeup table called me and the mirror, surrounded by lights shined brighter than a Christmas tree, (enter the angelic choir) without anyone noticing I fixed up my makeup, with blue eye shadow on my forehead and red lipstick on my cheeks, I drew all over my face with eyeliner and then slipped back into my position, running onstage to do my part.
I could hear snickers and laughs throughout the audience but I loved it. I was hooked; there I was made up like a clown, a little blue-eyed show pony and my heart raced the conversation between the audience and the creative on stage. This story ended very badly and it is a narrative that as an adult I have had to re-write over and over. I will take you to the end of this story at the end of this email.
In the months of August this year, I am so excited to be training business owners, community leaders and churches in the art of storytelling. 2.1 billion people spend more than three hours a day online. What a profound space to be finding ways to tell your story. Someone once said, “Those who tell stories rule the world”. I’m not sure I want to rule the world (gah the responsibility) but I totally want to find a way to dig deep into my own narratives and find ways to help people.
How about you?
Whether it is stories to create memories for my children and a legacy for the coming generations. Or a deeper and more meaningful way to use social media. To write to heal and find space in my own internal dialogues. Writing is powerful and your story matters. Creating more content, however, does not mean you will get more engagement. To channel your inner storyteller I have found five of my favourite quotes about the power of a compelling story.
“I’m writing my story so that others might see fragments of themselves.”
Lena Waithe, screenwriter for Bones and Master of None
“You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built-in the human plan. We come with it.”
Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale
“Think about the word destroy. Do you know what it is? De-story. Destroy. De-story. You see. And restore. That’s re-story. Do you know that only two things have been proven to help survivors of the Holocaust? Massage is one. Telling their story is another. Being touched and touching. Telling your story is touching. It sets you free.”
Francesca Lia Block, author
“Whether you know it or not, your desire to write comes from the urge to not just be “creative,” it’s a need (one every human being on earth has) to help others. A well-told Story is a gift to the reader/listener/viewer because it teaches them how to confront their own discomforts.”
Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid
“The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”
Zadie Smith, author
Storytelling events coming up:
9- 10 August NEWCASTLE, NSW: WORKSHOP SERIES
NEW NORCIAMonday 26th- Wednesday 28th August: New Norcia Writers Retreat
STORYTELLING THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA (FREE)29- Social Media Workshop free from the Small Business Development Corporation. Bassendean. BOOK HERE 9.30-12pm
BALI RETREAT (ONE PLACE LEFT ONLY)
28 Sept – 1 October- Bali Escape Retreat Boardroom Retreat
WRITING YOUR STORY TOOLS:
Write Hard Online Workshop: (only 2 write hard jumpers left, free access to the course given for free for the last two orders)
RESET: press reset on your year (6 short videos and a booklet)
New Norcia Retreats August and November
Somebody Needs Your Story Resource PDFSome shut up and write events coming soon to Perth as well.
BACK TO MY STORY:
The letter we write to ourselves about the stories from our past, those words that speak to our future. They are penned from the emotions that hold us from those encounters and they become the stories that we tell ourselves. Pain, betrayal, rejection and bitterness can leave significant marks upon our story and stop us from speaking the truth into our future selves.
You see although the first time I went onstage was fun, I had the best night ever; there is another part of that story which impacted me deeply.
As a vulnerable little girl, late at night after the show had finished and the audience had left behind an empty theatre, rubbish is thrown across the floor, we waited for the show notes. The director came up to me and belittled me in front of the cast. She yelled and screamed telling me I was a bad little girl. Scolding me with the direction that I should never touch the makeup table and that every person in that theatre was laughing at the fool I made of myself that night.
This formed a letter to my creative self. One that I have had to rewrite over and over so that I could surrender to the beauty of what was destined for my future self.
It is just a story but I still recreate today in my mind as a forty-something-year-old writer.
Watch out for this coming November for the release of DEAR CREATIVE SELF: the letter of our life.
My latest book, which is now sitting with my editor all 40,000 words of it. And breathe. It is the sequel to my best selling book DEAR SINGLE SELF.
Let’s hang away from the internet together. Or in the pages of a real paperback book.
With Creative Love
Somebody Needs Your Story
We walked out the front door, and he turned to me in excitement. “Look, Mummy, our neighbour, has a new house” I looked out from the vista of where we stood on the porch, and I was puzzled as I couldn’t see what he was seeing.
“Not sure what you mean mate,” I replied with curiosity, and he replied with frustration. “Look, Mum, look, can’t you see it? our neighbour has a new house.”
Puzzled I got into the car, and he shook his head knowing that I couldn’t see what he saw.
The next day, as the sun rose, we stood and watched the cloud rise and the view on the horizon say hello to a new day. He stood by my side and repeated it.
“Mummy can you see the beautiful new blue house that our neighbours have built. It’s a double-decker one, and it is so beautiful.”
Ever since my little man could talk, he loved houses that have a second storey. He believes the higher the house, the greater the view. He likes to see the world at a distance.
I stood there perplexed as I could not get my eyes to see what he saw. I breathed in deep and begged my eyes to see.
Have you ever struggled to perceive something that everyone else is seeing?
It is like your sitting at a table, trying to talk to someone, both of you experiencing the same circumstances, yet each coming up with entirely different outcomes.
As we walk towards a horizon together, trying to find clarity can be difficult and confusing. Irritation can stop us from seeing opportunities right in front of our eyes. We need help sometimes to elucidate the horizon, so we can walk towards the new with courage.
The next morning as we walked towards the car, my little man pointed to the horizon again. “Mum can you see the new house our neighbours have built, it’s blue, it’s a double-decker house, and it’s so wonderful.”
And then in the midst of the very ordinary, I saw and perceived what he was trying to show me Through the cracks of houses across the horizon, in a space previous, now was the most beautiful brand spanking new, blue two-storey house.
A house has been built in front of our yard, straight across the road, albeit behind the house in front, but we had not seen its construction at all.
Every day, I look upon that vista. I walk outside, and I water the plants, I look longingly out to the horizon. I search for the sun setting. Waiting and watching, wondering if rain is going to fall. But I missed a whole house being built in the foreground because I was so focused on the horizon.
My little perceiver, however, danced with delight when he saw our new neighbours abode rise in the distance. He desperately wanted to help me see what he saw.
This story reminds me of how we get stuck in our everyday. We can easily miss what is happening right before our eyes because we are so concerned with the present or our eyes lost in the allure of the future.
Right in the middle, opportunities and houses are being built for occupation, right ahead of our very eyes.
Reflections about perceiving
- Often someone in your life can see more about what is happening on your horizon, but it takes humility to stop and listen, allowing them to help you to understand.
- Sometimes we can get stuck handling the affairs of the day, the chores and the mundane that we forget to look up and take the time to perceive.
- Also, we can be so lost looking out into the horizon, the greater tomorrow, our dreams and goals, that we don’t perceive or see the buildings that are happening in the foreground, inviting us into our next opportunity for tomorrow.
- And lastly, we need to take the time to listen, slow and hear what is being constructed right before our eyes, because it may just be the answer our eyes have been searching for.
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.”
Look upon the horizon my friend, there may be something surprising in the foreground, building and you just haven’t seen it yet.
“All ye writers and critics who prophesy with their pen. Keep your eyes wide as the time won’t come again”
I woke up with a dream of reading glasses being cleaned. A cold morning with a mist of opportunity awaiting the presentness of the day. An old soul picked up a pair of tiger rimmed glasses and breathed heavily on the lens.
A heave of air blurred the looking glass so that a mist of grey filled the glass. Then with ease of knowing the sleeve, soiled with a touch of breakfast, found a clean cloth from his clothing and rubbed the glass clean.
In that one moment, I saw a movement of clarity coming across the seekers on the earth. Moments of presence, opportunities captured and the writers, the critics, the seers and mystics they arose.
“All ye writers and critics who prophesy with their pen. Keep your eyes wide as the time won’t come again.” Bob Dylan
There is something special in this present moment in history. My dream bought such deep inspiration as I awoke from my slumber.
Clarity is coming, my creative friend. Vision to see what has been hidden. Moments of awakening that were designed for those who see. Those who are walking around lost in their thoughts. Moments of perfect synergy, where the words you have been hoping will come, will flood like a waterfall from another place. Another time.
“Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised [Jesus].”
An awakening of words and purpose.
A filling of direction and moments of courage that will never come again.
So gather the prophets, the writers and those who long to see again.
Clarity is coming, in fact, she is already here.