Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Find your Voice week 1 x

As you know, I am taking part in Kristin's new class ''Find your Voice'' as a class participant but also as one of Kristin's collaborative team. So class began on Monday and as this is all about storytelling in whatever form that takes, I was eager to get started. Now Kristin obviously take her work very seriously because this first prompt is very detailed in class structure and we had a big worksheet to complete.

I am a coloured pen girl and so I chose pink and blue to write on the worksheet and answer the questions.

The questions this week include:
What is storytelling to you?
Who are you?
What is your style?
What are your goals?

And as a part of the worksheet we had to embellish on 2-3 of those. I thought I would share some of my notes with you here so you can get a flavour of the class and me.

1. What is storytelling to you? What stories do you want to tell?

Storytelling to me is about sharing something with someone or several someones something that matters to you. It may be a small something like a joke or a big something like what you want to achieve in your life and why. Whatever the story it is something of importance to me. It might be an event I enjoyed, a song that makes me smile or cry or both at the same time, something which touches me deeply, a book I have read or a sight I've seen. Something worth sharing somehow be that through the written word, craft or pictures.

I want to be able to share my personal stories, my life with Bipolar and now a personality disorder, my crafting activities, the story of my family so that one day my ancestors can look back at family photographs and say Yes that's Jo doing.................... not like me now who has no idea what some of the past members of my family did or even who they were. I don't want my story to be lost in the ether. I just want to be able to share.

4. What are your favourite stories ( think books, movies, music etc)? What do those stories have in common?

My favourite stories seem to be by female authors for example my favourite books are:

  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen

All these books were written by women who were very much writing in a time when men were the predominant authors. They wrote passionately about love, nature, loss, grief, war and humanity. They used their voices to share their experiences of the world and to make the world more enlightened. They fought against what society expected of them and made a difference to other people.

One of my favourite films is ''The Shawshank Redemption''. I love the story, the music and the actors. Again it is a story of human suffering and fighting against what has happened to you. It is a story of friendship and love, a story of how one man changed the lives of many prisoners through his determination and knowledge and eventually becomes a free man.

I adore poetry and my favourite poets include E E Cummings, Pablo Neruda, Christina Rossetti and many of the WW1 poets. Again the words of these poets mean more to me than I can explain. They all write about love, loss and life. To chose just one or two would be impossible and wouldn't dare try. As with music, the words and the melody are what evoke something deep within me. Sometimes it will be one little phrse or a whole song. One of my favourite bands ''The Feeling'' have a song titled ''Join with us'' and the key lyrics for me are.................

''I've never known somebody live with so much pain,
 if you open your heart, 
come with us and we'll take you away!''

Everytime I hear those words, it makes me think of myself and they certainly know how take me out of myself and into another place. As a young nurse I loved listening to Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini to go to sleep to and I love that to this day.

6. Which storytellers do you admire? How can you pull from their style to enhance your own?

I thought quite hard about this and I came up with this list:

  • Ali Edwards
  • Shimelle Laine
  • Sian Fair
  • Julie Kirk
  • Abi Beach.

I love Ali's sense of family in her writing, Shimelle's simplicity and candour, I admire Abi's ability to evoke so much from her photography and have such an ''old'' head on such youthful shoulders, I admire Sian's sense of style, her ability to use words sparingly but with such positive effect and her ability to evoke a sense of place and finally I admire Julie's humour and journalistic style. These are some of the traits I want to add to my writing.

So I hope this has given a little insight into what we are doing and I will be back with more class news in the coming days and weeks.


  1. I had a hard time thinking of which storytellers I admire, but of course! Scrapbookers! For some reason I was thinking about authors and filmmakers. Good list!

  2. beautifully written. i love Jane Austen too and Persuasion is my favorite book of hers.

  3. loved your post.. very inspirational!!

  4. It's a privilege to be mentioned in the same breath as some of my own favourite storytellers :) Thank you! I'm including you in my own list..I always always look forward to your contributions to Storytelling Sunday.

    Testament of Youth is a favourite book here and Shawshank a favourite film. But I bet you guessed that already..

    Oh, and I have a new film recommendation for you. I'm raving about Moonrise Kingdom at the minute

  5. Great answers. While I had added bloggers to my list, reading this post as made me realise that I forgot to add singers/songwriters! I am seriously going to run out of room lol

  6. I never thought to list bloggers as some of my favorite authors...Of course they are!

    I also like your take on what a story is. A joke? It's an expression of who you are and what's important to you. Thanks for that reminder!

  7. Thank you for adding me as someone who inspires you! I feel so honoured Jo. It looks like a fun class! x

  8. oh...well done, well done!

  9. Love the blue and pink pens.Waving hi from the hills of North Carolina ( fellow FYV ) ♥

  10. I struggled with #4. Still thinking about which stories are my favorite. But I know I want to tell some child hood stories and stories that currently reside in my heart space. I may also try to be brave and tell a couple of difficult stories. We'll see . . .

  11. I really enjoyed reading your responses to this week's prompts.. so very insightful. I'm adding you to my bloglines roll and look forward to reading more of your thoughts as we go through the summer! (oh, and I'm a colored pen person too!) .. Hello from a fellow FYVer in Florida! :)

  12. Fantastic! Looking forward to thinking about these prompts in the next few days! xx

  13. Gosh, you are putting such a lot of thought and work into this, and sparking our interest and enthusiasm for contemplating what each of these mean to us. I very much enjoyed your paragraph about women writers: cogent and beautifully expressed.

  14. Your list of books is inspirational Jo, no wonder you are such a good storyteller.

  15. That's a fab list of storytellers Jo, my faves are in there too! :)


Hello and thank you so much for stopping by. It is always a pleasure to read the comments I receive and to meet new friends. I try and reply to comments on friend's blogs as much as possible. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and look forward to seeing you here again soon. Love Jo xxx