The Glimpse of Story

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,

Puck, Midsummer night’s dream.

 

Once a month since I have arrived in Victoria I have been making my way into Melbourne each month for a special treat, nine amazingly ordinary people tell a story each that lasts for up to 10 minutes, the stories have to be true and they have to belong to the story teller.

The evening is indescribably magical, the room is filled with people yet there is space to be alone with one’s thoughts.  There is food to nibble on, beverages to sip. The lighting is low enough to relax in and yet bright enough to enjoy the company of those around.

The storytellers are warmly invited to buckmuligansbeautiful anachronistic microphone of plated silver where they open a window into their existence for all present. My experience of the stories is that they are real, authentic, vulnerable, and gracious and as they are told they draw these qualities from the audience.

When I am in this space I feel that I can both be myself and escape myself at the same time. Like a holiday of the soul, I slip into a new temporal plane and drift among the souls gathered in the solidarity of human experience.

For the past few months, we have not been able to gather, the stories have remained untold and unheard. Missing the experience so much I offered the team the possibility to curate such a space in an online space. I was unsure if the experience would translate, I feared that it might be compromised by the shift in form. Undaunted though I set up the space and experimented with vision, light and sound.

The night was wonderful with a full list of tellers and an eager grid of listeners in Zoom. We were not  in our normal space but it was clear with in moments of the audience arrival and the sight of familiar faces we felt ready for the narratives to begin.

The storytellers are warmly invited to beautiful backdrop each now with own microphone and zoom square where they open a window into their existence for all present. My experience of the stories was that they are real, authentic, vulnerable, and gracious and as they are told they draw these qualities from the audience. I was captivated by the faces of each listener and the expression in the voice and posture of each teller. I found the moment magical in its own new way both familiar and alien.

I recorded the experience thinking that perhaps there might be value in capturing such moments, on rewatching the next morning felt that the magic and colours of the moments had faded. Does capturing a thing change it somehow? Are such moments meant to be experienced in real time where one is immersed in the reality of the narrative?

I found my self pondering about the fragility of the elements that make such and experience of Tenx9 so delightful, authentic, vulnerable, and gracious. The great risk that captivity can be to these when fear, judgement and offense surround.

dancing light
“Dancing Light – III” by Sebastian Anthony is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

 

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,

Puck, Midsummer night’s dream.

 

 

Shadows, visions, dreams all conjured from the incorporeal, fleetingly glimpsed but not held, life fairies in the garden. In a world of measuring , reporting and capture it is a true delight to dwell a moment or two in story.

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