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.