Restorying the Earth
There is nothing like a good story to get you engaged. They can change your mood, inspire you, scare you, introduce new ideas, remind you of old ones, as well as of course entertain and bring you together with the narrator and your fellow listeners. I am specifically talking about spoken stories here, stories shared in company, not those read alone in your own imagination. Although of course these are also very valuable, you only have to look through the archives of this blog to realise that.
I went to a wonderful talk on Tuesday night by David Abram, story teller, magician and author of several books including The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. He put into words (and actions!) many thoughts I have been formulating over the last few years. Not least of which is the power of stories. One of my favourite parts of Transition Norwich was the Transition Circles where we got together once a month, ate a delicious shared meal and then essentially shared stories of what we were up to. This sharing of stories brought us together and created a space where we could change our lives to what we wanted. I miss this up in Glasgow, but the shared meal before the talk had the same atmosphere, it held the same story rich potential for change.
During his talk David pointed out that most indigenous oral cultures (without writing) do not have a word for or even understand our concept of art. Why would you create something that isn't beautiful and in tune with the earth? Forgetting to put craftsmanship and beauty into everything we do has left our society much poorer and uglier. Creativity nourishes you on a completely different, more emotional, level than our typically head orientated world. An important part of Transition is reskilling and putting the creativity and beauty back into everything that we do. There are lots of examples of this emerging around Glasgow, most not officially under the umbrella of Transition, but very much in the spirit of it. There are the Southside Stitch Ups that happen once a month in the delicious Tapa organic cafe, to upcycle lots of exciting creations and have a chat. Urban roots also have lots of upcycling sessions and the number of craft fairs seems to be growing exponentially.
The Glasgow Harvest events that happened this summer had creativity woven through them, as they were organised by NVA who are an environmental arts organisation. There was an awesome puppet show where 'Fesco' the giant was defeated, creative containers - from TVs to teapots, origami seed packet making, grasshead making and much more.
Games, disguised as processes, are an important part of Transition. In our society adults don't have permission to play many 'fun' games unless they are with children, but they are such an important part of creativity. Luci Ransome, who works as Transition Support Scotland in Glasgow, is one of the people developing a new Transition Game called the Quest - skilling people to work with cooperative and collaborative approaches for an uncertain future. I hope that games for their own sake can become a more accepted part of our society.
I want to finish with a story, but I'm afraid that the day has been too long and the gale force winds have pure blown all my stories away. Hopefully leaving a clean slate for all of the stories that will come tomorrow! So instead I will finish with a request for short stories from wherever you are. Let's restory the Earth.
Photos: cover of the spell of the sensuous, the Transition Earlham South Circle this spring, the stitch up logo and a creative coffee pot container
** Credit for the title of this blog goes to David Abram, I just couldn't resist it!!