There’s something about sitting around a fire especially a campfire. Sometimes talking, sometimes staring into the flames.
It was a campfire that provided one of my most memorable storytelling gigs last year and the reason that I was so interested to read a blog by the centre for biographical storytelling entitled ‘The Power of the Flame’ The blog tells of how people of all cultures become more reflective in the presence of firelight. It’s well worth a read.
I was telling fireside tales at a family bushcraft camp. We had had some stories whilst the food was being prepared – over a fire of course. Now we had moved to another fire circle in a nearby clearing in the woods. It was getting dark and smiling faces were illuminated by the firelight. The laughter was loud and long, the silences profound and the attention of the audience unsurpassed. After the story set, I stayed and chatted, I had already pitched a tent so that I could remain at the fireside for the evening.
I play guitar but am still rather conscious about ‘performing’ so simply collected it from the tent and started playing quietly whilst everyone chatted. A ripple of applause greeted the end of one song even though it felt as though I was just playing for myself. I am sure that the fire made a difference, a group of hunter gatherers could have had a very similar evening. Perhaps not the beer and definitely not the guitar but there was a lovely feeling of continuity down the ages about the session.
Lost in thought, I started playing once more, playing and speaking almost to myself but loud enough to be overheard by those in my segment of the circle. I enjoy playing Dougie Maclean’s Caledonia, interspersed with the story of ‘Luty and the Mermaid’. Although immersed in what I was doing I became aware of people moving closer to listen. At the end of the story / song there was no applause, just a thoughtful nodding of heads and a quietly murmured ‘marvellous’.
Thank you for that ‘marvellous’ it meant so very much.
My daughter Alana knows me so well. I always get a bespoke hand made birhday card – this was last years. It arrived a few days after the story gig in this blog post – talk about good timing!
If you are interested in booking a storyteller and your venue is within an hour or so drive from Much Wenlock in Shropshire please send a message from the contact page.