An ‘in story’ experience that helpes me with storyteller’s block

By Limor Shiponi

I have this ‘big’ story, or signature story as we call it. I’ve been around and into it for nine years now and although audience members and the people around me are very excited about my performance – I’m not satisfied and therefore refrain from telling it all over the place as ‘expected’. The truth is that with this story I’m suffering a storyteller’s block. Something that feels like Alladin’s cave-dore sliding between myself and the story while I tell. A form of disengagement. The audience can’t tell but I can and I don’t like this double-track feeling.

It’s not that I don’t like the story – I love it – and that’s why this block has been bothering me for a long time. I wouldn’t tell a story I don’t like in any case so love is not the problem here. It’s not that I don’t know it well enough either – I practically ‘live’ in that story very often and the amount of research I’ve invested in the narrative is no less than phenomenal. No need to be too humble here – I really did a crazy job concerning this specific piece and enjoyed every minute of the hard work. I even won a scholarship for it – in a place where practically no scholarships for storytelling exsist.

Three weeks ago I was chatting with my youngest after dinner; the young women mentioned here in the past. I told here about the block, that I had an idea and needed her advice: “I want to go back ‘in story’ and measure it with my feet, walk along the narrow roads and see what happens. I need a companion for this imaginary voyage, a character. Someone that can walk with me, listen, speak, stay, disappear, help, shutup – the right character. Who do you think that character might be?”

She thought for a couple of seconds and from the look on her face I reckoned she was doing some sort of complex match-making-search-feeling thing and then she said “I know” and described a character. I took her advice as-is without questioning anything about it and invited the character for an ‘in story’ experience. The outcome amazes me. One by one story-scenes surface from my subconcious in full detail and rich fabric. These scenes do not exist anywhere in the narrative although after they appear they seem obvious and ‘right’; way better than what I’ve been doing so far, much more about the deep story.

Somehow, it’s not only about the character and the voyage in that specific narrative. As we proceed, other stories present themselves, arriving to enhance the search, making me realize all kinds of patterns I need to look at. This is a deep learning experience. If you ever bump into storyteller’s block and even if you don’t – it’s worth going through. Just pick any legend, tale, myth or whatever and walk in with a companion someone else you know well invited for you, see what you meet.

7 thoughts on “An ‘in story’ experience that helpes me with storyteller’s block”

  1. Limor, in doing that, it sounds like you activated your intuitive self, and gave himher a persona. Its clear to me that when we do that we receive all the guidance we need to move forward. It is the way I have dealt with many difficult emotional situations over previous years, simply by allowing my intuitive teller to speak, and write my stories. Our higher self is surely the wiser one, so true.

    many warm wishes

    1. Yes Steph, as you wrote – our higher self is wise.

      What I like about this especially is the fact that the character was given to me by a middle-person, not selected by me. In a way I think this eliminated the possibility of choosing an inner character that would not necessarily function as the best companion.

      Thank you.

  2. Limor, your humility always astounds me. You know how much I admire your work, and so when you speak with such honesty, I am overwhelmed, flattened, silenced — well, almost silenced as I am writing you this. Companions in spirit are a remarkable gift in this life. Thanks for reminding me of that. –Madelyn

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  4. Limor, your experiment reminds me of how Mike Leigh, the famous film director, works to develop his cast. 90% of his story is improvised by the characters as part of the audition process. It is through their interaction that authentic moments are discovered and come to life. It emerges naturally by putting pairs of characters together and seeing what they experience together. By the time the cast is chosen, they already have a detailed and real history together. His methods of improvised interaction famously produce the most natural and convincing acting and films in cinema.

    1. Hi Tim, that’s very interesting and coming to think about it – also very natural to the process. Interaction, conversation, debate, being together in silence for a while and then interacting again – these are all communication devices that produce ‘togetherness’ and vibrant stories. The story I’m referring to in the post has a huge narrative and working on it almost alone for such a long time might have been what led to that disengaged feeling. The parts I did feel connected to are those who were created when other people took part as companions in the voyage. Well… by now I’m smiling – thanks for helping me see that.

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