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  • Writer's picturecharlie kesem

#1 Storyteller as Shapeshifter

musings towards Storytelling as Medicine: 10 week Experiential Journey I wonder - if you could transform yourself into any character / object / image / being, what would you choose? (the more the merrier) (e.g. raven, wizard, my sister, blacksmith, the tree in my garden, yellow brick road…)

I started to awaken from a short sunset power nap (I’m excellent at 20 min naps), with the question: what is the essence of a storyteller? The answer that came to me - Storyteller is a Shapeshifter. We really can be anything we want to be when we tell a story. I must admit I deeply enjoy the magic of transporting people to other worlds through story (both as teller and listener). We travel with words. We journey with silence. We discover with our hearts. And a precious pause.

Some of my favourite beings that I enjoy shapeshifting to… Old wise women, raven, the Sun, monkey, jellyfish, a talking sweet roll (gingerbread man), a king, the Wind…

I return to my original question - I wonder, which characters might you like to transform into?

And together with all the shape-shifting frivolity... the character I must commit to, deeply and fiercely, with a healthy dose of vulnerability (thanks Brene Brown) above everything - is….. [drumroll].... Myself.

That’s one of the main differences between storytelling and theatre by the way. My authentic “me” is ultimately running the show (hopefully!). I must be me - and you must be you, in order to take listeners to the dungeons or celestial realms and back again.

Just like a child plays in wondrous beauty, fully committed to the worlds of their imagination - Storytellers create, conjure and embody worlds - from the mystical to the mundane - with utter conviction.

And if someone sneezes in the middle of your story or the dog barks, it’s polite to acknowledge them, by the way

Switching roles at a whim is fun. And useful. I mean we do it in the daily story of our lives anyway - friend, partner, mother, parent, jealous, monstrous, joyous, peaceful…

These characters, emotions and ways of being invite us deep into the forest of shadows and high up to the rainbows of hope, to excavate our soul and find the medicine that is most needed…. for you, for me, for all of us.

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