Anita’s Attic

Sowbhagya arrived with Dosa for her breakfast. The dining table was converted to one of my four workstations but she managed to find space. She was trapped but I blame her. She did show interest. So I launched into the synopsis of Manjula and my story, written for Anita.

SB was immediately engaged and liked it. We both enthusiastically remembered Manjula: her character, her kindness, her fun. SB could see connections with her and other women’s experiences but also how she was especially adventurous, strong and independent in the face of so many challenges.

I’m encouraged.

Last Saturday was the first session of Anita’s Attic. A programme for writers — yes, that’s me, officially a writer, of sorts — over the next twelve weeks.

There’s ten of us in the online group: taught, facilitated and mentored by Anita Nair.

Anita is a famous writer of English novels, here in India. My own favourite is Ladies Coupe and I hope that our story will feature similar expansive characters to help us discover more of India and wonderful people I’ve been fortunate to meet.

One or two great books

In Manjula’s library on grieving…..

Adult books. My two top picks would be Didion and Grief and Grieving.
and children’s books, that this child loves. Memory Tree and Heart and the Bottle are fab but they’re all great.

Who’s a storyteller?

Here’s two things that maybe of interest to storytellers:

1 resources, links, information that maybe useful and entertaining

2 what it is and why it’s important.

But before I get to that I wish to declare: I’m a writer and storyteller. How do I know?

I have writer’s block so I must be a writer 🙃 😉

I have shared my writings (through our sites) for eight years with people from around the world (a handful in England, at least one in Canada, some in India, and a smattering in Australia, Europe, Europe and US.) I didn’t say there were many but at least one reader on every continent, except Antarctica. I now plan to give more attention to writing stories.

I’m also a storyteller, as I believe we all are. It’s only recently though that I’ve realised how much I have shared stories. The first training and puker presentations I gave we’re in my early twenties. I’ve done it lots but was it any good?. 🙃🙂😉 I’m not the judge.

I have a particular problem. The English will joke that as I’m from North England I don’t know proper English whether written or spoken.

Any way back to the two things:

1. Recently, I’ve joined a lovely group: the Mysore Storytelling Network (MSN) who organise events and are a great source of information and help. They are on Instagram. Great group, check them out.

An ex-president of a fanciful country far far away and his wife Michelle like stories.

I’ve also read stories for children during lockdown. They are on this site listed as storytime. Here’s a couple: wonky donkey and a different take on Snow White for others just search

A good friend Victoria sent details of storytelling near where she lives in London . A serious training school with some great descriptions about what it’s all about at the school of storytelling and Storytelling clubs, examples are the crick crack club and story circle

2. What is storytelling? We will, of course, have different views. Here’s a start.

Stories are for entertainment, they enliven, enrich, make us think, stop us in our tracks bring us together, help us manage conflict or disagreement and because it’s sharing and helping connect they create communities. They might be written or spoken and can reinforce, change, adapt people’s behaviour, stimulate interest and stir us to act, or maybe just reflect, learn and have fun.

They introduce and reinforce beliefs, that enable us to relate to each other, without that where would we be?

What do you think?

New things

My good friend Faizan introduced me to the Mysore Storytelling Network. A lovely group of people working to promote storytelling. I’ve joined a couple of their meetings to help where I can in creating the foundation. Here’s our last agenda.

I’ll try develop a reading and storytelling project as an example of MAnjula giving.

Here’s why the New Yorker think this is important:

“Storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment there is. From campfires and pictograms—the Lascaux cave paintings may be as much as twenty thousand years old— to tribal songs and epic ballads passed down from generation to generation, it is one of the most fundamental ways humans have of making sense of the world. No matter how much storytelling formats change, storytelling itself never gets old.

Stories bring us together. We can talk about them and bond over them. They are shared knowledge, shared legend, and shared history; often, they shape our shared future. Stories are so natural that we don’t notice how much they permeate our lives. And stories are on our side: they are meant to delight us, not deceive us—an ever-present form of entertainment.”

From New Yorker 6th July