Storying and Gateways into an Enchanted Library
Presently, I have been preparing and recording stories for Stratford Community Radio
for North Cotswold Community Radio
Here is a story to be going on with:
There was once an emperor of China invited an artist, famous in all of China for his magical paintings, to decorate one huge wall of his favourite retiring room.
The old man came, with his assistant, and his brushes, and his paints.
The emperor specifically asked for dragons in his mural. Dragons were the symbol of his dynasty.
Four dragons were painted, one blue, one green, one silver and one gold. Taking up the whole of the wall, each twisted in and out of the other’s dance on a hillside landscape. Their scales, their whiskers, their tails glistening in the sun and the lamplight.
All who beheld them were captivated by their allure.
“But”, said the emperor, when he saw them finished for the first time,” where are their eyes?”
Humbly, the painter shook his head. “No eyes.”
“I command you to paint in their eyes!” retorted the emperor.
“I dare not,” replied the painter, further humbled by his master’s wrath. “Please do not ask me to. Something terrible may happen.”
“Paint-in-the-eyes! Finish my mural!”
Sorrowfully, that evening, the painter painted in the eyes of each dragon, then, before morning light, he returned home, with his assistant, and his brushes, and his paints.
The emperor rose at dawn to view his finished mural, but alas and alack, all that remained upon his wall were the landscape in which the dragons had resided, and their empty shapes.
The dragons had flown away.
There is more here than meets the eye.....if we focus on the details, we miss out on a whole lot more....and i wonder sometimes about this tale, and whether it foretold of the fall of a dynasty?
Brief Inroads into Storytelling - The Enchanted Library
I like to teach partly through story - folk tales, short stories, riddles, poems.....it is a wonderful way to build up trust, to expose that innate imagination and knowledge of metaphor in all of us, slowing the process down and bringing this knowledge into awareness so we can dip into that state of metaphorical being for problem solving and new approaches in group situations.
Poster for The Enchanted Library
Charles Blackman's White Rabbit illustration from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
(A private moment in the life of the loyal and professional herald, reading and choosing through a red mask from his picket fence of a book collection.)
Poster for January 2009's Telling
photo (detail of image above)
(One tale came from the Inuits where reality and imagination, the tangible and the intangible, are in equal parts, in their everyday life in the snowy wastes.)
Father Christmas, from November's Telling
Textile Fragments and Impressions
Broadway Tower fragments: the set of 4:
Broadway Tower 3: 360 degree views
Emphasising the wonderful situation of Broadway Tower, its distances, its undulating hilltop perch, its hint of the mediaeval, and the fiery creativity which exudes from its walls
Broadway Tower 4: Printing, Books, and Sir Thomas Phillips
The connections between Broadway Tower 3 and 4 was serendipitous, for when I began researching Sir Thomas Phillips more, I found the books he printed in his tenancy at the Tower were on Topography!
Discovering Phillips' connections with Richard Dadd, the Victorian Fantasy painter, were a breath taking ride too.
Phillips and Dadd travelled in the Middle East, hence Dadd's watercolour of Phillips in Eastern dress, but they parted after Phillips was attacked by Dadd, in one of Dadd's Manic Depressive phases. Poor Richard Dadd ended his days in an assylum in England, where he painted one of his most famous paintings:
The Fairy Feller
Here is a reminder of the first two Broadway Tower fragments:
Broadway Tower 1: Jane Morris as Iseult
This and the next fragment are
inspired by the presence of
Broadway Tower 2: The Ghostly Sentry