It was early in the morning. I had crept out of the house, not wanting to wake anyone during the school vacation and not wanting to be delayed by a ‘hey mom, can you just….’. So I tiptoed out and headed off to the high school where I was booked to do a storytelling session.
Now, I’ll be completely honest, I’d travel to the other side of the world to tell stories (and often do!!) but mostly I tell stories to adults. In this case, the 45 sixteen year olds waiting for me was (as they say in Dublin) putting the fear of god into me!
I mean, it’s such a difficult age, they’re so demanding right? So easily distracted, so connected to their mobile phones and their social networks; what chance in hell did I have of keeping their attention, never mind having them actually enjoying the session.
My demons were running wild as I drove the hour or so it took to reach the gorgeous village, way up north and to the school where the session was being held.
I walked in.
It was a traditional community, the children were dressed in modern and traditional clothes. Some girls had their heads covered. They all looked curious and interested (what a relief)
And I started telling stories. I began with my story of how, when I was 10 years old, my mother took me to see a witch. Their eyes widened and their hearts opened.
What followed was an amazing 90 minute session of laughter, some disbelief, images and words, beautiful voices and gorgeous souls playing in the freedom of storytelling.
It was astounding. And the shocking discovery?
That I doubted the power of story. That I thought they wouldn’t love to hear and tell stories. That even I, so steeped in the world story, can forget that storytelling is more beautiful, more compelling and more powerful than anything else.
And the shockingly powerful truth? That if you dare to tell stories, you will be completely converted to what they can achieve. You will prove to yourself and others, that stories connect, astound, thrill and make possible all that seems previously impossible.
Storytelling is healing, it is peacemaking, it is magic.