Thursday, December 15, 2011

Time to listen in 2012

This morning I put some suggestions into a project plan for a school Artist In Residence project happening in Riverview first term. It's all about encouraging students to listen to, tell, collect and share stories orally. Planning out the timing of valuable projects like this takes time. The session we had on Tuesday was a two coffee, 5 hour job. It will be worth it though when the stories start flowing.

As I sent my email reply off, I glanced at my incoming emails and it only took one response to a request to sign a petition about whaling and I was into Facebook. Facebook takes time but it is usually worth it. I found a link from shared by US storyteller Robert Bela Wilhelm to a New York Times article about taking time to listen to stories in Africa by Swedish author Henning Mankel called 'The Art of Listening'.

He's lived in Mozambique for twenty odd years and learned a thing or two about listening. I love his anecdote about overhearing two men talking about a friend who had died before he could tell the rest of an important story.  What I like about it is not the sadness that he didn't get to finish the story but that the friend had originally agreed to come back the next day to hear the rest of the story. True friend.

So my friends, what do I wish for you all in 2012?

Well time of course. Time enough to listen well to lots of stories.

I'm looking forward to my Riverview collaboration with Narelle Oliver, Lee FullARTon and all the teachers, students and parents at Riverview. It's called the Art of Story but maybe it should have been called The Art of Listen