Sunday, February 05, 2012

Riverview Stories and the Aboriginal Frog

Enjoying my participation in the Riverview School Artist in Residence project. I'm helping students enjoy the experience of telling stories and creating them.

There's a great photo and article about the project  on the Queensland Times newspaper website.

It was great to have Aunty Ruth Moffat drop in to listen to some of her grandchildren taking part. She told us some of her stories of working as a Teacher's Aid at Riverview (among other places). One of the little anecdotes she shared was of a young girl telling her that she had 'seen an Aboriginal frog' at her place. When Aunty Ruth asked her why it was an Aboriginal frog, the girl said, "That's because it's covered in dots."

The students loved the story of course so we added it to the story we created about a visit by the Riverview School Christmas Choir visit to Riverview Gardens Retirement Village.

I love this sort of working, being able to share stories and retell them in completely different  settings.

Mind you, you have to be quite flexible working in a school. We were recording our story as we created it and I had 4 students singing Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer as if they were performing at the retirement village. It sounded great. We advanced the story and got in the frog and I turned to our 'choir' to record them singing again but I had found that 3 of the 4 had left to catch buses. Our remaining choir member rose to the occasion however and sang our improvised song quite brilliantly.

Another quite wonderful adaption was finding out that one of the original choir members 'wasn't really in the choir' and that, despite a disability, had won the school comedy competition last year. I asked her if we could record her pretending to tell a joke at Riverview Gardens. She did so swimmingly:

'Why did the fish cross the sea?"


"To get to the other tide."

I'm hoping Aunty Ruth will come back and tell us some of her stolen generation story. The multipurpose hall at Riverview is named after her husband Uncle Jack who sadly passed away in 2008.

You can read some of her story on the Goodna State School website at:

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Riverview, Storytelling Guild and National Gathering

Great day at Riverview Primary today. The school has a  good feel about it. I've been enjoying pushing my technology boundaries with the new iPad, well enjoying in the sense of great when it works and frustrating when something goes wrong. Mind you what went wrong was my forgetting about setting the recording length to 'automatic'. I guess it must default to 8 bars. Good for musos not so good for story'os.

I just love it deeply storytelling works with people. It's great seeing those special moments.

I've started a special blog for the project at

Queensland Storytelling Guild AGM and storycircle on Sunday at Bettina Nissens house at D'bay. So, if you're a member, or, if you're thinking of getting involved now is a good time. We're a great bunch of warm, creative people who love stories and storytelling. We've got some more home tellings planned and likely a fundraising concert. Here's the Guild blog page link

There is a Sydney Storytelling Festival coming up on the first weekend on June. There will be tellers from around Australia and visitors from overseas as well. Should  be a buzz.

Watched a great story about Shannon Noll the country singer from Condobolin on the ABC tonight. They made really good use of video and his family and their old photos. It was a bit Australian Stories like.

Was tempted to watch the next show about The Straits by the same people who did The Slap but enough TV for one night. So in compensation here's a story about a slap. It's not any story it's a Hodja Story. I've pinched it from a very nice collection of Hodja Stories on  Thanks Lale. They're really worth a read. Here's one:

One day Nasreddin Hodja was walking on the street, when a total stranger came up to him and slapped him on the back of his neck. The Hodja demanded some kind of rectification. But the man was unapologetic. He had thought the Hodja was a good friend of his, whom he was accustomed to greeting with such gesture.
`It is not an incidence of great significance, Effendi,' he said to the Hodja, `I thought you were my friend, I shouldn't be paying for such a small mistake.' 

Nasreddin Hodja was not convinced. He was wronged and he had to receive the damages. Since the discussion was going nowhere, they decided to consult the kadi. However, unbeknownst to the Hodja, the man and the kadi were friends.
The kadi listened to them both, and although it looked like the Hodja was right, he was still determined to get his friend out of this without having to pay a penalty.
`Hodja Effendi is right,' the kadi said, winking to his friend, `you have to pay him a gold coin.' The friend, reassured with kadi's wink, said that he didn't have a gold coin on him but if they waited a few minutes, he would go and get it. Kadi allowed him to go fetch the money and Nasreddin Hodja started to wait. After waiting quite a while, and recalling the familiarity between the kadi and the man, the Hodja figured out that he was tricked and that the man was never going to come back. He approached the kadi and startled him with a forceful slap on the back of his neck.
`Hodja Effendi, what did you do that for?' the kadi said in pain.
`Kadi Effendi, I am a little late for my errands, I can't wait any longer. When the man comes back, you take the gold coin!'