That’s what storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instil hope again and again….Walt Disney in Saving Mr Banks
I watched Saving Mr Banks again the other night. I just love the movie. Yes I’m sure it’s not a completely factual representation of how Walt Disney got PL Travers to sign over the Mary Poppins books to him, but I do know it’s based heavily on fact as the tapes made on her insistence during production meetings are still available and are a big part of what the movie was based on. And it means the world to me as Mary Poppins was the first book I ever read, albeit the read along with the record version.
As most of you will know, I am definitely a Disney tragic. I love all things Disney. I guess I instilled that same love into my children. Before she died, my daughter Aimee’s dream was to become an animator with the Disney corporation. Both my sons are as obsessed by Disney movies as I am and we often watch the classics over and over again. Most of my favourite quotes are straight from Disney’s mouth. And of course, like most kids born in the 50’s and 60’s, I longed to be adopted by Walt himself. Not that I didn’t love my own parents but he was Walt Disney and his whole persona screamed gentle to me.
I suppose it’s not a great surprise that I like to consider myself a storyteller, as was my Grandmother before me. Gargie would tell us stories of the old country and those stories made me feel that when I finally went to Ireland, I was coming home. There is something special about a storyteller. We all have it in us to tell the stories but some do more than tell the story, they add the romance and mystery that pulls us into it and makes us want to stay there.
Storytelling is as old as man himself. The cavemen drew their stories in picture form on the walls of caves. Each culture has passed it’s stories on to generation after generation to ensure it’s history is never forgotten. Fairytales are part of our psyche. Not every storyteller writes. They may tell their story with words or in song or dance. They may paint it or create it in some other form. They may even act it out. Storytelling is not just about writing a book. I love writing. I love creating. I love photographing. I love singing. I love acting. These are all part of my love of storytelling.
I like to think that my gift in life… that thing that makes me unique, is the way I tell stories both in words and in pictures. Others tell stories too. Wonderful inspiring stories, but they are different to mine. Not necessarily worse, not necessarily better, just different. Their experiences are different so of course their stories and the way they tell them will be different.
2017 is going to be very much a year of storytelling. New stories, old stories, real stories, imaginative stories. I have so many exciting things happening and I intend documenting all the new and exciting things as well as continuing to tell the stories of old. Bring it on I say.
To celebrate the new year, I’ve put together a bit of a presentation on what I believe storytelling to be and why it’s so important to us as a society. We all have a story to tell. What’s yours?