One of the central events of the year for any lover of stories in Edinburgh (or indeed from further afield) is the annual Scottish International Storytelling Festival put on by the Scottish Storytelling Centre. This year linked Scottish tellers with Mediterranean ones, with an emphasis on island stories. For me, the highlights of this festival were:
Hearing the story of Julia Butterfly Hill’s 2-years on the giant redwood Luna in California told by Enedina Sanna in Sardinian, followed by an English version by Linda Williamson. This inspiring true story, which has also been published in the young adult book “The Legacy of Luna”, formed part of my own PhD work into how people use story to tie themselves to place and to make ethical decisions in relation to the environment. Enedina emphasised that it is just as important to tell contemporary stories of heroism as it is to tell the myths of old gods. I take heart that there are lovers of trees all over the world telling their stories.
Hearing the entirety of Homer’s The Odyssey told by seventeen talented tellers from Scotland and the Mediterannean. I mean, how often do you get the chance to participate in a 3000 year old storytelling tradition? The Odyssey was told over two three hour sessions on Saturday, so it was quite the commitment of time and attention, but thoroughly worth it.
What I will take away from the festival are the words of Geoff Mead, paraphrased from his new book “Coming Home to Story: Storytelling Beyond Happy Ever After”: The role of a storyteller is to be of service to the story and to help that story be of service to the re-enchanting of this world.
The Scottish Storytelling Centre: www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk
Enedina Sanna at www.archividelsud.it
Julia Butterfly Hill at www.juliabutterflyhill.com
More about my research into stories and ethics can be found at www.restoryingtheearth.com
The Odyssey, by Homer at www.gutenberg.org
Geoff Mead and “Coming Home to Story”: www.valapublishers.coop