Storytelling is for everyone. Always.

Everything around us, inside of us and between us does – according to science – exist of atoms. That’s one way to explain the world. I prefer it the other way. I think it exists of stories.

The Story Factor The Storytellers Way Hooked Storytime

We are constantly surrounded by stories. We don’t just read them and listen to them in the news and books, we also see them happening around us all the time. We tell stories everyday even without realising. Kids telling us what happened at school. Neighbours recounting stories about their pets. Partners talking about work. Mums repeating stories about their babies. Builders amusing each other with builder’s jokes. Customers narrating about their childhood. Buildings, parks, streets echoing the stories of the past and present. Toys, pictures, songs and our favourite objects evoking our memories. Birds, trees and mountains unfolding tales of the land and nature. Who will I encounter today and how long will you be a part of my story? Will our stories thread together? Is it going to be amusing? Is it going to be sad?

Stories have many aspects and powers. They cure, connect, entertain, support, educate, clarify, inform, enrich, amuse, impress even sell! They connect us with total strangers. Whether we are able to relate to a story or not, they offer us to slip into somebody else’s shoes and see how green the grass really is on the other side.

Therefore – stories are not just for kids. Stories are not something that rests on the bedside table  and are evoked once every now and then, to lull someone to sleep. Stories are very much alive among us. Living in a city, where everyone has a remarkable story to tell, is – at least for me – very precious. We should remind ourselves more often that these stories are our priceless taonga. We should encourage each other how to nurture and share them.

Here, at Christchurch City Libraries, we are super excited about stories. We feel very grateful to be able to host the world-class storyteller Regi Carpenter (USA), brought to Ōtautahi by Story Collective. Regi will be holding a koha based workshop on Storytelling for children today, 12th May (South Library, Sydenham room, 4-5.30pm).

If you are not yet ready to take your storytelling skills to the next level and just want to submerge yourself into an exquisite storytelling session, come and listen to her perform tomorrow, 13th May, 7.30-9pm, at the Orange Studios.

If you are totally whakama, like myself, and prefer to contemplate about storytelling out of your reading settee, than you may like to browse through our books on storytelling. You never know – you might become the scintillating part of somebody else’s story on your way to the library.

Telling tales @ The Pallet Pavilion Story Festival

Join The Story Collective for a weekend of storytelling. Enjoy a wide variety of performances, participatory events, and creative workshops. The Story Festival start on the evening of Friday 14 March and runs until Sunday 16 March at the Gap Filler Pallet Pavilion, corner of Kilmore and Durham Streets.

The busy programme includes:

  • Opening night Friday 14 March at 7pm “a rich show of all types of stories, spoken word and live music galore”
  • Saturday 15 March: Creative workshops including a Kakapo tale and making felt kakapo, and lassooing a star.
  • Writers’ Panel with Rachael King, Gavin Bishop, Deborah Rogers, and Anneleise Hall
  • Storytelling dance, and Open Mic;
  • Family chill-out day on Sunday 16 March including the Christchurch City Libraries’ outreach team doing bicultural story telling at 11am, and tales from Christchurch’s Word Witch.

Stories at Pallet Pavilion
StoryCollective

Remember, and share

1959900_221230958066863_701586199_nIt is three years today since the devastating 22 February 2011 earthquake. The Civic Memorial Service takes place on the Archery Lawn, Botanic Gardens at noon today. “Three years on we remember the community’s kindness and resilience in the time since the earthquake and we are proud to call Christchurch our home.”

However you do your remembering today it is good to share. Perhaps you will be with the friends, family and neighbours who have helped you or whom you have helped since the quakes.

One way many people cope is by recounting experiences. Here are some ways you can do that:

You can explore our resources:

Show us a story

CoverAnd Joe the Roundabout Tavern regular took his eyes half hopingly, half warily around his bar just in case he saw a mug or two he and his pals could beat up on, and just in case yesterday’s madman had returned to back up.  Then he clapped his hands together: So. So who else’s got a story to tell?

This is a paragraph from Alan Duff’s One night out stealing. It caught my eye when I was doing some booky housework along my fiction shelves here at Central Library Tuam, and started me thinking about stories, and bits of stories. We are launching ourselves into New Zealand Book Month here, and celebrating all things EnZed. And I thought to myself (because I have a mind like a mayfly), how much fun would it be to just dart around the shelves, picking up New Zealand books at random, and finding fabulous paragraphs that tell a story all their own.

Now obviously, it’s always nice to read a whole book, and get a complete story; but I reckon sometimes you can tell a story in just a paragraph or two. I’ll show you what I mean – here’s an extract from one of my favourite books here in the Aotearoa New Zealand Collection:

One night in the early 1850s, an odd event took place at a Christchurch ball. JT Peacock, a shipping man, had a partner for a quadrille, but they were without a pair to dance opposite to them. This caused a man named Joseph Longden to stand and stare contemptuously, and after the ball Peacock pulled his nose. Longden was a partner in Canterbury’s first stock and station agency, and could not ignore the affront to his dignity. He brought an action against Peacock, who was fined 2 pounds, but said that he thought the money well spent.

See? Worlds and layers of story, history and back-story, all in just a few sentences.  How cool is that?

So here’s my NZ Book Month challenge to you – either pick your fave Kiwi read, or make like a mayfly and cruise the shelves. Find a story that tells itself in just a few lines, and post it here. And let’s see how many New Zealand stories we can tell …