Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Nature of Faeries.

There has always been a strong affiliation between faeries and nature. Most of the images you see of faeries are in an outdoor setting, dressed in leaves and flowers and closely connected to animals. They made their homes in the trees and plants and use found objects in their homes. There are many tales depicting faeries as guardians of nature, or spirits that are derived from elements and things found in nature.

This information is beneficial when being a Faerie Godmother. Not only will it help to inspire you, but it will help to get a basis for many things creative. The organic world is full of mystery, secret wonders and tales waiting to be told.

When I have read or heard many of my favorite artists speak, when asked how they get their inspiration, they talk often and fondly of taking walks in the woods and re-communing with nature. I know myself I feel better and energized creatively when I am outdoors. It opens up your imagination and allows your mind to wander.

With Spring now here, the weather is warming up and things are coming back to life (at least for those of us in colder regions). This is a perfect time to get outside and watch how things grow. It is also a great time to take your faerie godchildren outside for walks and make stories together while exploring. Once I told my nephew that every time the wind blew it was the trees were talking to each other. It started a dialog of storytelling between the two of us about what they could they possibly talking about. 

Gardening is also a great way to be a Faerie Godmother in so many ways. It allows you to create gardening projects with your children and spend time playing in the dirt. Creating "Faerie Friendly Gardens" with plenty of colorful flowers (Pansies are always a favorite of mine) and trinkets, statues, baubles, found objects or any type of faerie attraction goodies you can think of. Your faerie garden would also be a great place to have tea..:). It is only limited to your imagination

With all of the talk of "going green" and environmentalism introducing children to nature is not only a great creative exercise, but it helps to teach them about the environment and get them in touch with nature at an early age. Watching seeds become flowers is slow but fun to watch. I know I still love watching something I started from seed bloom and become a full blown plant. A garden is a nice ongoing project to start and continue as the season progresses. If you are unable to get a plot of land to garden in, a few pots of flowers is always a good idea as well, and less time consuming. Besides.. what kid does not like to play in the dirt?

Go get outside!!! See you all next time, and in the meantime, keep wishing and keep dreaming!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The importance of storytelling.

Storytelling is as old as time itself. Before the written word there was the spoken word. Every culture in history have their legends, and passed those legends down through the generations via storytelling. Some people say it was the birth of religion.

Storytelling is not only the oldest form of art, but it is one of the most valuable. Telling stories to children helps not only to bond with kids, but it helps them to develop their imagination. It also helps to develop performance skills, verbal communication abilities and can improve vocabulary. It is said that some of the best writers are first and foremost storytellers. 
It is also a great way to learn about your heritage and regain a knowledge about your culture. As I mentioned before every culture in the world has a story to tell, and legends they have passed down. Taking a trip to your local library or taking a surf on the internet you will be able to find many tales of folklore from your cultural ancestors. I personally have ancestors from many countries, but primarily from Ireland with a smattering of Native American (Cherokee). Researching the legends of my ancestors not only helped me to gain a sense of understanding of the cultures itself but helped me to find a little piece of myself. 

Looking into the legends of the past also helps you to get a feel for your own storytelling. If you have no idea where to start when it comes to storytelling, this would be a great place to start, and a great way to bond with your children. 

So you want to get into storytelling but have no idea where to start? It is really consisting of 2 parts: Public Speaking/ Reading and Imagination. It can be difficult for people who aren't accustomed to telling a story in this fashion. But storytelling, like most creative things, is like a muscle; it needs to be worked and exercised. Your local library or book store may have storytelling time for children. If not, suggest one! There are also storytelling clubs in a lot of areas, and if you can't find one, again why not start one!

The hardest part of storytelling is losing the wall we all have to be proper and lose that performance inhibition. To be silly and childlike is socially frowned upon so we tend to avoid it. Public Speaking is one of the biggest fears we have, so getting over that is difficult.

A few things can help. The first is working with familiar children, and reading books and stories to them is a key and important way to familiarize yourself. I know with me personally I tend to allow myself to be silly when I am around kids. Talking nonsense back and forth and engaging with them is a good for unblocking my creative side. Reading your favorite books out loud to kid also helps. It allows you to get ideas, to set tone and work on speaking in public and learn to create different character voices. Not to mention, reading to children out loud gets them interested in books and improves literacy.

Another thing is recalling a story from your past and retell it. It could be anything from a vacation experience to a trip to the super market. This helps to develop the timing of a story, as well as Starts working the memory and the creative muscle. Throw in an embellishment here or there and see where it takes you. 

For me, keeping a notebook is one of the most important things I can do. I will say it over and over again. You never know when inspiration is going to hit, so having something to jot an idea or two down to revisit later is such a great tool.

Great websites for storytelling Resources can be found HERE and HERE. If you have tips, resources or storytelling ideas, please share them in the comments (either here or on the Facebook Page)

Many Thanks to my storytelling buddy Alastair for helping me out with some of the resources and inspiring this entry..:) 

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week and remember to always keep wishing and keep dreaming!