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Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

No Repro Fee: Seanchai Batt Burns brushing up on a story with his grand daughters Aisling and Laoise Burns ahead of the Sneem International Storytelling & Folklore festival which will take place in Sneem, Co. Kerry from 8th-10th November. Details on http://www.sneemstorytellingfestival.com. Credit: Dominick Walsh Photography

 

 

An article that came to me by way of Lora O’Brien, an Irish lass, author, mentor and personal guide for the green island of Ireland.  Napkinwriter corresponds with her occasionally and is inspired by her lifestyle of living according to her artistic roots in the home she loves well and wants to share with others.  O’Brien writes of the depth of Irish history, mystery, lore and mysticism of ancient pagan tales of the land.

You can see a wee glimpse of this on her website:   www.loraobrien.net 

Below is guest blog about Irish storytelling, by writer Sophie Gorman.

Photo caption:  Once upon a time… Storyteller Batt Burns reads to his granddaughters Aisling and Laoise. Dominick Walsh

Celebrating the Irish tradition of storytelling

By Sophie Gorman, Arts Editor, The Irish Independent

November 9 2013 1:00 AM

‘I don’t think you need to have been born into storytelling or need to be a natural actor. I think most people can learn how to tell a good story,” so says Batt Burns, eminent seanchai and chairman of the Sneem Storytelling Festival, which takes place in the south Kerry town this weekend.

Sneem has a rich storytelling heritage. For much of his childhood, Batt Burns lived a few miles outside Sneem with his grandfather in a “rambling house where every Sunday night local musicians, yarnspinners, singers and dancers would be invited to come along for an evening of fun and entertainment”.

“My grandfather was a traditional farmer, but he had the gift of storytelling. He was a product of the old seanchai tradition of the Iveragh peninsula here in Kerry, and growing up with him sparked an interest in it myself.”

“There was quite the community of storytellers when I was growing up. The art was alive, more so in the pubs, short humorous tales told over a pint. My dad was the village butcher and he had a man who would come in to help him out with work who was one of the best story tellers that I had ever known, even better than my grandfather. The gift that he had was that he wasn’t regurgitating old stories, he was able to compose on the spot, a tremendous gift for a man who wasn’t able to read or write.”

Batt’s own storytelling happened almost by accident. In his teens, he would go to parties but didn’t sing or dance or play the spoons. So he began telling traditional stories. And Batt has a softly lilting Kerry brogue that seems made for stories.

“I remember a piece by Brendan Kennelly comparing storytelling to a blackbird singing his song in springtime. He, the blackbird, puts so much effort into his song that he ends up becoming the song, and the storyteller puts everything into the story that they and the whole room disappear into the story.”

An Irish celebration was enjoyed here in Lexington Kentucky with Irish food, games, festivities and a company of high performance Irish dance teams.

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West Ireland

 

I am posting  Suzanne Murray’s blog here as I love to further any notes on the value of “freewriting” and here is a great note with some scientific backup to boot.

I had hoped to travel to Ireland with Suzanne a couple years back, but it didn’t come about. I have an intuition we may meet up someday, either “here” or “there.” We are truly friends that just haven’t happened to meet yet. Well, once I did on Skype and it was a fantastic meeting.

This is from: http://creativitygoeswild.com/west-of-ireland/

 

I think the best way to perform is when your unconscious is fully available to you, but you’re still a little conscious too. – Yo-Yo Ma

Creativity Goes Wild  by Suzanne Murray

LETTING GO TO ACCESS YOUR CREATIVITY

I have taught the creative writing process for more than twenty years working in part with a technique known as “freewriting” where I encourage participants to “just let it rip”. We don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, grammar or whether it is good. We suspend the censor and let our first thoughts spill out onto the page. People new to the class are always nervous about this kind of letting go. Since I write and share my own raw writing with the group I was rather nervous when I first started teaching the classes but found that by maintaining an safe and sacred atmosphere of unconditional acceptance for whatever wanted to come forth it really calmed the fear for everyone.

We learn quite early to fear making mistakes. We all have a well developed censor that confines us within the limiting parameters of being socially acceptable. Neuroscientists have identified a part of the brain, the dorso lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) that is closely associated with impulse control. It keeps us from embarrassing ourselves or saying the wrong thing to our boss or spouse.

Young children create so naturally because their censors don’t yet exist. The DLPFC is the last part of the brain to fully develop. Around 4th grade it engages and children lose interest in making art in the classroom. If we are worried about making a mistake, saying the wrong thing or doing something poorly we often end up doing nothing at all. The censor has us holding back our latent talent.

In a study by a neuroscientist looking at brain activity in jazz musicians engaged in improvisation, research subjects showed increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with self expression, while at the same time the DLPFC appeared to deactivate. At this point there is a surge of raw material coming forth but rather than being random or chaotic it is organized or structured by the rules of the form. In the case of jazz musicians they naturally improvised in the right key and tempo. I noticed this tendency in my freewriting workshops. Students bypass the censor yet they also naturally wrote in the form that seemed to most call or appeal to them. Individuals drawn to poetry and who read a lot of poetry had the raw writing take on a poetic quality. The same was true with fiction, memoir or non-fiction. It’s why I always tell people that reading the kind of writing you want to do is one of the best things you can do to improve your work because when you let go and let the creativity flow, your brain then has a sense of how to organize it. When we let go we have access to the vast storehouse of the unconscious mind.

I really encourage creative play and practice free from the expectation that we have to produce something as a way to opening up to our creative gifts and talents.. Learning to let go and create an atmosphere of inner permission, acceptance and allowance can really help us open more fully to our creativity.

INDIVIDUAL & ONLINE>COACHING FOR LIFE, CREATIVITY OR WRITING

& Spring Retreats to Yosemite & Ireland

 

THE HEART & SOUL OF IRELANDJourney to the West of Ireland

Dublin, Galway, County Clare, The Aran Islands

May 9 to May 16, 2013

for more info go to http://creativitygoeswild.com/west-of-ireland/
or just email or call me if you have any questions

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Buzz Lightyear had it right in Toy Story, the original movie. With total enthusiasm for life, he shot forward into any challenge, shouting the phrase that became a catchword, “To Infinity and Beyond”. 

I don’t know if Irish writer and poet, John O’Donohue, would have seen that movie or not, but I had to chuckle when I read the blog of Suzanne Murray, creator, writer, creativity and inspiration coach, and EFT practitioner, and she revealed what she saw on his gravestone.  Check out her work and her writing on www.creativitygoeswild.com.

I have received personal help from her and always await her next blog topic. As well, I have come to love John O’Donohue’s writings and I’m only in his first book, “Anam Cara”. This is the Gaelic word for soul-friend. That is my current aspiration in life. To be among soul friends. Suzanne is one and O’Donohue’s words touch me as soul-friend.

Here are some sharings from www.creativitygoeswild.com

Irish Burren

“On a recent visit to Ireland, I was staying in Doolin, County Clare when I had the inspiration to catch a ride up to Fanore a village in the extraordinary limestone region known as the Burren where Irish poet, philosopher, former priest had been born and raised. John did much to awaken an modern interest in Celtic Spirituality and I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with him on the Celtic Imagination some years before.

I had seen on the website devoted to his work www.johnodonohue.com that John was buried in Creggagh graveyard, about two miles south of the village along the coast road, just beyond O’Donohue’s pub. I got out in front of the pub and walked down the road warmed by the rare February sunshine. Stepping into the graveyard I scanned the headstones and caught sight of a handmade wooden slab at the head of what looked like a small garden.

It was the only site like that in the cemetery and sensed it must be John’s. On the front of the wooden headstone was a small handmade stone cross and a picture frame with a photo of John and an inscription that read:

John O’Donohue 1954 to 2008. . .and beyond.

I burst out laughing because it so much caught the spirit of John and my sense that his big presence lives on still in his work and in the heart of all those who he touched…Others had obviously visited the leaving letters in plastic bags, rosaries and flowers that had been placed amid the bed of living plants including primroses and a small shrub of camillia I left my gratitude for all the ways John has influenced my life and then walked back to village where I was staying across the gray limestone of the Burren that John loved and worked so hard to preserve”.

Wisdom from Suzanne Murray – Writer, Creator, Creativity Coach, EFT Practitioner, InspirationalIrelandTravel Guide

From Suzanne’s blog at www.creativitygoeswild.com

Writing or Creating in the Middle of Things  – April 4

“In order to show up for our creativity or the work of our life I think it helps to lower our standards on what we can accomplish on a daily basis while still keeping our focus on what we ultimately desire or want to achieve. Develop the practice of showing up everyday and taking some action, however small, toward your goal. If you are a writer be happy that you have drafted a poem or a page. You can start by showing up for 15 minutes rather than thinking you have to find two hours of free time before you begin. If you are moving toward a new career or expanding your work be happy that you have made one phone call to connect with someone you might be able to help you. By taking one small step a day you can cover a lot of ground and it has the added advantage of allowing you to sneak in under the radar of the part of you that is resistant to change. Carve moments out of your day for doing what brings you heart and meaning or gives you a sense of momentum.”

Accessing Creative Inspiration  – May 7

“Matthew Fox, the former Catholic Priest who was censured for espousing the doctrine of original sin, has written a beautiful book titled, Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet, where he suggests that when we are creative we become co-creators with creation. I clearly remember the first time in my writing when I got on a roll and knew I was writing something good. I paused and looked around the room, wondering “where is this coming from” because I knew it wasn’t coming from “me”. After a while I began to understand that I was tapping into an expanded state that I could access on a regular basis when I stopped thinking and let what wanted to come through me flow into the work.”

Living Your Creative Potential  – September 4th, 2011    

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain
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What if your life where a blank piece of paper or a bare canvas? What new story would you write for yourself, what picture would you paint? What if each small step you take toward what you really desire is like a brush stroke on the canvas where you are creating that life? What life do you want to create for your self? What creation do you want to live into?”

Embracing Your Inner Weirdo – October 2nd, 2011    

“Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from. – Jody Foster

It is never too late to be who you might have been. – George Eliot

Being creative shakes up the norm. It adds spice, color and joy to the world. I’ve come to feel that that is the job of the artist or those who express their creativity in any way. If each of us is going to bring these unique gifts to the world, we have to be willing to be a little weird. We need to accept and embrace the ways we are different even as we know we are part of the whole. We need to claim our own callings that come as the still small voice within us that may suggest a course of action that our mind and the people around us will think is weird but our spirit knows is the right thing to do.

What if a willingness to be seen as little weird is what is required to be on your destined path. What if weird could be the new normal?”

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