Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Young Street Mission

Storytelling at YSM over the months, to a great group of seniors has brought many storytellers to the fore. I began during the winter regaling the seniors with stories and songs and of course the drum, all the time with the aim of getting their memories awakened and their tongues telling. From an uncertain beginning after lunch on Tuesdays or Thursdays, we began to explore personal stories of all kinds, folktales and humourous short stories and jokes. I often began by singing, and followed up by telling folktales. Most of the seniors from the Caribbean recognized Anansi stories. Then I began to work in the personal stories and if anyone was counting they'd be amazed at the stories we shared. I learned three songs from the seniors and I taught them about five songs. We even danced to our songs and also to the drum.

Today the children from the homework club were invited to share stories, song and dance with the seniors. The many who had never heard a story from a grandparent did so, as well as a poem, two dances, a chant and a rhythmic song. Such a blast. It was pleasant to hear a good story from one of our young guests today. It was a story she had heard from her grandfather. I will be putting the stories together for the seniors soon. I am grateful to them for allowing me to observe the workings of story in their midst!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Late Great October

My 'funlight' this month has been storytelling for seniors at Young Street Mission. There I recounted a personal bike accident story as well as a song story I had learned in elementary school. My teacher Miss Quao had a particular affinity for what I might call English blues and it was with much fun that I sang "I Married a Wife, O then," to a rousing chorus from my senior audience. I have been telling stories to the seniors for months and now some of them tell their own stories, mainly personal stories which make for much laughter and nostalgia. We also sing together remembering Caribbean songs, Linstead Market and "There's a Coloured Girl in the Ring." To this we add African call and response songs and sing about peace and food, as we tell of Anansi and Ijapa and other rascally story characters.

I am getting stories ready for the recording of my next project Song of Wagadu, Song of Africa and looking to show this performance in other venues. I have been thinking about beauty, destiny and the beauty of destiny. I like to think that I am like ancient Wagadu. Whenever the guilt of men causes her to be lost, she gains a new beauty which makes the splendour of her next appearance even more glorious. With this in mind, I enter into greater freedom as my birrthday approaches. I have chosen the beauty of the flamboyant tree of Ghana to represent my soul aflame with passion and liberty. Hooo Dierra, Agada, Gana, Silla, Hooo Adwoa!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Great October

Interactive storytelling at it's greatest 'get down and do it.'

Two competing energies in October: I'm still in the grip of the writers' itch and have indeed sent off one manuscript and close to sending two more, perhaps next week. It's been a very creative fall so far, story plots for oral telling and for writing are falling into place in my mind and on paper. My stories are written down for the February show. I'm thinking of calling it, 'Song of Wagadu, Song of Africa! I keep changing the title and who knows what I'll end up with?

In the end, I did not complete my transitions and I'm living within a complex system of tides, rising and falling, shifting me this way and that. I've been dancing, but it was hard getting back into it. Thankfully our end performance for the Guelph Go-Go Grandmothers was very well appreciated. It seems we needed the energy of performance to bring it all together. We got our edge back and I was pleased to perform Spirit Alive as a solo piece.

I met the writer Gail Nyoka, lovely lady, and purchased her book: Mella and the NĂ¡nga. Abeeku came to visit after a couple of years. My eyes are opening more to see the wonders hidden inside our ordinary lives. Wynne came to visit for Thanksgiving, which this year ended up exclusively family. He came and left and I didn't fall apart, although I experienced emotional fragility. I waited alone until the bus left with all the blessings I could call for. The season's established with cold winds and rainfall and the leaves in bright reds and orange littering the grass and the side walk.

My thoughts remain circular: I want to write more. How do I get better? How do I solve the problem of marketing and distribution. I have to think more business. I want to stay creative. At least I'm writing. At least I'm happy and I celebrated my anniversary!