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.

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