Spontaneous Story Telling

By Ole Brekke

In this two hour session everyone learned to be a spontaneous story teller making up stories to serve their needs. Though the excitement of the experience cannot be recreated in this literary description, this is offered as a simple outline of the process.

We began with everyone walking around the room taking notice of exceptional things, spots on the floor or walls, chips of paint, strange holes, those things which normally are passed by without notice. Then choosing one of those spots or knots in the wood, one would examine it closer to find something deeper, perhaps another world or a door to another dimension. Then as we went around the room again one spot would catch our attention. Upon close examination of that spot, we found a history revealed by the spot, a history that had something to do with immorality. How did that spot get there? When? By Whom? Everyone shared their history with someone else close by.

At this point, everyone was already creating stories without their awareness of it. We then continued in this line of creativity by having one person on their hands and knees while another was sitting on them. The person down would tell the other what it was like to be a chair, what the good qualities were of being a chair, and what it was like to have that particular person sitting on them. In this exercise the inanimate object took on a life, a voice, and an opinion. Of course everyone had the chance to have someone sitting on them.

Then in groups of 3 we had one person play a light pole, another light from the pole, and the third the paving stones or another object under the light. All three discussed the life of the light pole and their relation to one another. This exercise becomes a little more complicated than the last, but with the same purpose to give life to inanimate objects.

In the course of the workshop, we started by being imaginative and creative alone, then with one other, then in groups of three. Everyone was involved all the time physically and gradually getting into the play. So there was, so far, no pressure of performance. The next exercise had two people telling a story to the entire group. On the clap of my hands the teller would change to the other person. Wonderful stories emerged still without the pressure of performing because the story tellers had to be totally focused on what the other just said; they couldn’t be giving any attention to their being on stage.

Having reached the point of having everyone in a creative and spontaneous state, the final exercise was given to groups of three. One person at a time would tell a story to the other two as described in the objective of the workshop.

Everyone in the workshop reached the stated objective. As a group we discussed the effectiveness of stories and how “special” they felt when the story was about someone with their name. Story telling is an effective tool to teach values, and instil desirable behaviour in children as well as adults.

Enjoying Nature at the NHE Summit in Sweden