Before my book, ‘it’… , was published, I sent a copy of the manuscript to the hospice where my husband died. It seemed the polite thing to do as they feature in the book.
Within a few days I was invited to come to the hospice to tell my story to a room full of counsellors, staff, and volunteers.
I wasn’t sure if I could do this – but, I am an actor and not afraid of public speaking, so there was no reason not to try.
I prepared well, with headings and notes on numbered index cards, and went back to that hospice that held so many memories.
The room was packed – I started to speak…
Before long most of my audience were quietly wiping away tears – and I was having a wonderful time! I realised that, if I had a story to tell, I could tell it well.
But I didn’t know I was a storyteller – I did not know there were modern storytellers. I thought they belonged in the Middle Ages.
I joined an online support group to help me move forward from my grief. One day someone called Barra the Bard posted a message to say that a famous storyteller in America had just died.
A storyteller? There were storytellers in America? I instantly wrote to Barra and asked her about storytelling – and she invited me to join an online group of about 1000 storytellers worldwide. I eavesdropped on their conversation and realised I had found my true home.
But how could I learn to become a storyteller?
I approached a local hotel and asked if I could try telling stories in the bar. They agreed.
I found I already knew about 20 folktales, and, for some of them I had some suitable props which I put in a basket. When I was sure I knew those stories well, I went to the hotel, entered the bar and went up to table…
‘Would you like to hear a story?’ I asked… and they said Yes. So I sat down with them and invited someone to choose a story from my basket of props. The story went quite well. I moved to another table – and then another – for a couple of hours. Some people refused to have a story, but most said Yes.
I did this once a week for a month – my confidence growing, and more stories added to the basket. By that point the stories were so popular that I had to move the sessions into the Palm Court and we would all sit round the fire and I would be telling stories for 3 hours before everyone was happy to go up to bed.
Once a week for 3 years! Now I knew I was a storyteller.