Monday, April 10, 2023

Here I am talking to Madelyn Blair about stories

Hey everybody. Recently I had a wonderful conversation with Madelyn Blair, one of my role models in getting out there and doing things in the world. It was about stories and working with them, and it was part of an episode of her Unlocked TV show.

(Watch out, the music starts suddenly. Made me jump.)

For those who are new to story work, you might find our conversation informative. For those who know me and my spiel well, the conversation will probably be pretty familiar - it's the same stories I always tell. Though of course I keep polishing them, don't I, and that can be interesting in and of itself. 

That's one of the things I find most interesting about stories: they have stories. I try to remember this when somebody starts telling me a story I've already heard ten times. When I catch myself thinking, "Ugh, there they go again," I (try to) challenge myself to think, "Ah, it's that story. I remember it well. I wonder what it's been up to since I last heard it." I don't always succeed in meeting this challenge, but when I do, I always find out something new.

It's like being in the woods. Even though I have spent time in my particular bit of forest a thousand times, I find that if I can be quiet and pay attention to it for at least fifteen minutes, something new always happens. Sometimes it is something as dramatic as an owl teaching its baby how to fly, a squirrel rushing up and reading me the riot act, or a woodpecker poking its way up and down a tree. Sometimes it's something as simple as a conversation between birds, an operatically creaking tree, or a busy insect going about its workday next to my boot. And sometimes the thing that happens is in my own mind. I hear or see something, and it brings up something new and different. That's an event too. 

Things are always happening, fascinating things, even in the things I know very well. The trick, I find, is to stop not noticing them. I don't know if that's helpful to you - maybe it's just more sighing of my branches - but here I am writing it anyway, because I'm here, because you're here.

Thank you, Madelyn, for inviting me onto your program. I enjoyed the experience very much.



Sheila Wee said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your conversation with Madelyn Blair, Cynthia. I bought a hard copy of your Working with Stories book years ago but lent it to someone - I can't remember who - and never got it back. Thank you for providing the pdf free, I am now inspired to dip in again.


Sheila Wee

Cynthia Kurtz said...

Hooray, a non-spam comment! The blogging world is pretty quiet these days. I like it that way, but it's still nice to run into somebody once in a while. Thanks for writing, Sheila. So glad you enjoyed the conversation. I did too!