As a storyteller, I’ve searched for a way, not backwards, but towards: towards an appreciation of the old stories and myths of the land and its seasons; towards an understanding that those stories remain vital, in the sense of being alive and necessary.
I was fortunate, as a student at the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh, to be around at the beginning of the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Forum. I sat on the Forum’s committee and helped host the monthly Guid Crack Club. More than anything, I was grateful to spend time in the company of a generation of outstanding storytellers and tradition bearers, now passed: folk like Duncan Williamson, Willie and Bella MacPhee, Stanley Robertson and Sheila Stewart.
A world was opened to me, and I began to understand that I’d grown up in a culture that was thin gruel in comparison to the rich feast that once would have been my birthright. I felt a loss that was belly-deep. Slowly, twenty-years-slowly, I’ve tried to redress that loss.
I’ve told stories at various events and hearths in Scotland and beyond, from Wilderness Festival to Fire in the Mountain, Hackney’s Experimental Storytelling Bazaar to Artspace in Edinburgh with Lyra Theatre. In 2018 I will be hosting the Bardic Fire at ScapaFest in Argyll.