Saturday, April 26, 2014

Prawn Tales ~ Storytelling Festival IS TODAY!

There is a fantastic buzz in the house this morning as we prepare to put on 
Prawn Tales Storytelling Festival.
It will be one whole day of Stories with something for everyone!

Sea Speak Junior Storytelling Club for Kids is doing
Shrimps at 2-3pm at The Little Shop of Books on Harbour Road, Howth

Join us in Fishing for Stories from 4ish-5ish
all around the Pier, where the fish are you'll find the Storytellers 
Try to catch a Story!

Sea Speak Storytelling is dishing up
King Prawns from 7:30-9:30pm up at Kruger's Pub, Main St.
(across from the Church) Howth

Butterflies stirred and fluttered last week when I opened up the 
Official Dublin Bay Prawn Festival Brochure 
only to find our contribution with full listings for 
The Sea Speak Projects Prawn Tales Storytelling Festival!!!
A broad smile came over my face that was impossible to erase!

Even our little Lorcan the Lamb is on board.......

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Prawn Tales Storytelling Festival ~ 26th April

It's The Sea Speak Storytelling's First Storytelling Festival!
We're over the moon and full of excitement.

Saturday 26th April we'll be serving up some "Prawn Tales" alongside the very popular Dublin Bay Prawn Festival with 3 sessions in 3 locations and yarns being spun by our Sea Speak Storytellers:
Daria Marie Walsh
Paul H. Tubb
Brendan Nolan
Joe Govan

Dishing up starts at 2pm with 'Shrimps'
Sea Speak Junior at The Little Shop of Books, Harbour Road, Howth

Then we go 'Fishing for Stories' from 4ish-5ish
 Pierside, wherever you find the fish you'll find the Stories, 
or at least the Storytellers ~ Go Fishing for Stories! 
Find one of our Storytellers and try to catch a Story.

Next we're up the hill to Kruger's Pub, home of Sea Speak Storytelling,
 for 'King Prawns' 7:30-9:30pm


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"It started in Ringsend"

I have a treasure box. One in which I keep some of my most precious tokens and special things. As an Artist, working as a Storyteller, Writer and Photographer my view of what is and isn't precious may be a bit different to that of others. You'll find no diamonds or pearls, no sapphires, rubies or emeralds in my treasure box. You'll not find any money, nor silver or gold. You will, however, find things that I believe to be far more precious. You will find gifts, tokens, notes from people I have worked with, people who have viewed or purchased my Photographs, people who have listened to my Stories, people I have taught and talked to, people who have seen the beauty in the things I have created and gave something in return, something from the heart.

It all started in Ringsend. Prior to that I kept these treasures amongst other things. However the happenings one sunny Autumn day in Ringsend Library would forever change the way I preserved these treasures. I was Storytelling as part of the Childrens Books Ireland Festival in Ringsend Library, Dublin. It was a spectacular Autumn day. Brightest of blue skies, fresh crisp autumn air, even a few fallen leaves to crunch under foot. This is the day which I stood before a large class of girls and told the Tales of Lorcan the Lamb and Saoirse the Fairy.

Storytelling is a special art. If done correctly it creates a symbiotic resonance between The Teller and The Listener(s). This was such a special occasion. I remember having a sense of something 'other worldly' in the large room, specifically to my right up near the windows. Perhaps I too was about to be swept away in the Story. Just having finished the part in the Story where Saoirse creates the rainbow for Lorcan, two small girls in the front row and to my left began quietly murmuring to each other and looking carefully at each others hands. "Miss", they said, "I think Saoirse the Fairy is here." I will never forget this moment. They both stuck out their hands, holding them up high and stretching out their fingers as they slowly stood and walked up towards me. "Look. It came from under there. Under our chairs." "What is it"? I said "Look all this glitter. It must be Saoirse the Fairy." I looked at their tiny hands to see that they were, in fact, covered with glitter. Suddenly, the girls started to gather around to confirm whether or not glitter had magically appeared underneath the chairs. They were every convinced by the evidence. The Teachers stepped in to usher them all back to their seats. Many hands went up with questions about Saoirse. I answered all their questions. Quietly, one of the 'glitter girls' rose and came to me. Holding out her hand she said, "Can I give you  this? Please, it's for Saoirse." It was a small piece of blue wool yarn and a few specks of glitter. "Yes, of course you can." She smiled saying "Tell Saoirse Thank You for coming" as she gave me the wool and glitter, which I promptly placed into the Saoirse's pink bag. When I looked up the girls had smoothly formed into a long que waiting their turns to make offerings and give gifts to Saoirse. I received many strings of blue and other colour wool that day, some glitter, some felt and other little bits and a few small bits of broken crayon for "making colours", the little girls said shyly. At the end of it all I had one pink bag filled with little offerings.

We got back to the Stories. As the girls left I had many "thank you's", as did Saoirse, many hugs, as did Lorcan and many wonderful comments from the pleased Teachers. Most amazing to me was my discussion with the Librarian following the Storytelling in which she divulged the following information:
She did not know where the glitter had come from, as there had been no arts & crafts there in well over a week, after which the had been taken down and rearranged and thoroughly cleaned at least three times for the other engagements. Additionally, the girls had nothing with them from which they might 'place' the glitter.

Perhaps a mystery, perhaps not. I do believe in magic and I do believe that Storytelling can create a magical atmosphere. And, YES, I do believe that Saoirse the Fairy was there that day with us.

Later that night I left all these things, the pink bag and all it's contents, out on the front room table. There was blank card paper there, as I had been making cards. When I awoke the next morning I found this on the table:

This now sits safely in my Treasure Box. Knowing the Story, I'm sure you will agree it truly is a Treasure.
It lives in my Treasure box with other special things. Among the more recent additions are: a beautiful diamond-like ball given to me by Allanah to help me when I get writers block (Allanah was in my Creative Writing Class and the School Completion Program Writers Group at St. Louise's Primary School), two delicate flowers one very thoughtful boy, from St. Louise's Primary School, picked for Lorcan the Lamb and a very bright and colourful bracelet one girl gave to me to give to Saoirse the Fairy after my Storytelling at Ballyfermot Library on International Children's Book Day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Exchanging champagne for coffee and tea in a pink limousine"

If I go missing after next Thursday, you might begin your search by looking in pink stretch limousines.

The Girls from my Writer's Group, in protest at the news this week that our Writer's Group will be coming to an end for this school year, have notified me that they will be kidnapping me in order to continue Writer's Group; so wonderful has been their experience. Am I alarmed? Absolutely NOT. In fact, this is not the first mention of a kidnapping. The scheme was first hatched at the ending of our first six weeks together. Luckily, my contract was renewed and our Writer's Group extended. The kidnapping scheme have evolved from it's first, near miss of a necessity. It began with a simple car filled with cozy blankets and pillows, evolving with each threat of an end to Writer's Group. Next I was upgraded to a caravan.

After being with my Girls since October of 2013, they have graciously upgraded me to fantastic captivity, in extra Girly Writers Style. I have been promised a "very non-scary capture", followed by luxury captivity in an extra long, pink, stretch limousine, with sparkles on the sides. Towards the back a cozy sleeping area with lots of blankets and pillows, with one girl even offering her One Direction blanket; which any of you will surely know is a treasured and extra warm commodity. One wall will house a multitude of books and all the notebooks/journals and pencils and pens in all colours (including sparkly ones) that I could ever need. I will have at my disposal, I am informed, any food I want. I was told I would have a grand supply of champagne as well. However, after I thanked the girls for the offer of champagne, I did have to ask if I could please make an exchange of the champagne for a supply of coffee and teas - as champagne can make you "a bit loopy and so not really the best for writing". The girls agree saying, "ah, yes, good point"! I am informed that my Husband can come and stay with me, because the girls "don't want me to be sad for missing him."

As I prepare myself for the last meeting of The Writer's Group this school year I would be lying if I did not mention how truly sad I am at the ending of this project. But, as I told the girls last week when the bad news was revealed, "don't be sad because it's over, be happy because we had the chance to do all of this." I am sad, but I am far more happy. Happy that I was given this opportunity. It's not every Writer that gets to do this. Happy that I had the chance to work at such an incredible school and with such dedicated and talented Staff. Happy that I made new friends. Happy that I learned so very, very much during this experience. Happy that I had the opportunity to work with such AMAZING GIRLS!! Happy that I was invited into the classrooms to Teach. Just face-breaking-smile HAPPY! Because, when good things happen, you have to embrace them and cherish them and be happy while they last.

Exciting new things are already in the pipeline and will no doubt keep my mind occupied and hands busy. Only two weeks after finishing up Writer's Group I will be Launching Sea Speak Storytelling's first ever Storytelling Festival. It will be one, wonderful day full of Stories for all ages! Other projects are inked into my Diary for the next few months, including (as a teaser) my return to The Irish Redhead Convention 2014 in August.

So, it's a busy spring/summer I've ahead of me. It's only a good thing that I'll be writing and planning out of the comforts of my, soon to be, captivity in that sparkly stretch pink limousine......sipping coffee, of course!