Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #12 The Skald

Storytelling is… #11 The Poem

Storytelling is… #10 The Links

Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle

Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques

Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic

Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me)

Storytelling is… #3 The Bio

Storytelling is… #2 The Show

Storytelling is… #1 Show intro

mary pic
Artwork by Mary Passeri

Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

This day.

The spirit of the past is alive in us.

Many thousands have been renowned.

Countless legions with a tale to tell go before us.

It is as if they all have come back alive.

As if the very essence of them is reverberating through.

What is it that they all see in you?

They see clearly the main benefit of you joining this intimate circle, this elite few; those, who have chosen to be here.

This is it. – You have chosen to be here.

Great things may come of this day.

Knowledge may be imparted which will affect generations.

None of the things you may learn will be as powerful as this one thing…

You chose to be here.

You chose to be here.

It has strengthened your heart, your resolve, your inner will.

All of those eons of them all are thundering words of worthiness together:

You have chosen.

Stronger and stronger I am sure they say you are, for,

You are a storyteller.


We all of us gather. Take your place by the fire. The metaphorical fire. The metaphysical fire. In this meta-moment we are universal.

When we choose to sit at this universal fireplace we are at one across space and time.

Across culture.

Across wisdom.

Sit down and share.

You are a storyteller at the universal fire.

We sit around that fire and feel the glorious warmth ahead of us; we benefit from the light surrounding us, this keeps us safe from the dark and wild of outside. Outside. Whether we have: bound skulls, blue skin, are chipping flint or making rag rugs.

Put aside your shabby-chic decoupage, put down your device, distance lock your transport with a clunk, put aside you fears and anxieties and leave your darkness behind to join us.

You are beside this universal fire.

Our kindred of the past, whose word you hear in your ear, upon your screen. They sit with you now. What the Hel have you got to say!

Whether Hel or Norn this fireside I give you is a gift to your heart. Take it away with you. It is more precious than anything.

Do you even need a lecture?

We could be anywhere.


There is a stillness and a hope.

A closeness.

More gladness to be at one than you have ever felt before: Than perhaps you ever will.

We are surviving the winter. We are the future spring. We are the aftermath of Autumn. We are the returning.

Let us count the treasures. They are, rich rich words.

Hold them close.

Some of them have been repeated for millennia.

Six thousand years ago along the Silk Road the Bamboo Babe was a tale of geology.

Jack and the Bean-stalk is from an ancient Sumerian stone tablet.

It might be a thousand years before Ragnar that someone donned fur and tar.

Sigurdr the warrior is nearly as old as Tyr the Sun-god.

Odin has always been here from just after all of those!

Go figure.

Go tell.

How old do you want to go?

The answer?


We are all one in the end over all those eons. There have always been two types of tellers though. The resident and the travelling. Whether this universal fire is in Siberia, Iceland or a Neolithic cave we shall find time for a story. One of us will be asked to tell the tale we always tell in the way we always tell it. Another will arrive, one who is welcomed because of their great narrative skills. They are not the same as the usual person. They are different or even wrong. Each influences the other until we are all the same.

Story is to stare at

Traditional told anew

Oral always, abandon all scripts

Reinvent eventually through practicing live

You should be the centre of attention yet forgotten altogether


The most important part of any story is the bits. Chop it into parts. There’s a challenge! You might try alone. You will in the workshop. The chunky part bitty bits are more important than the story.

Display and cards will show the fundamental parts of well-known stories. They will lead us away from leaden structured narrative and free our spirit.

Be it Gretel and her brother – May it be Loki’s love-children – Let it be the story you bring. They have vital parts.

Fix those vital parts in your mind – in the right order – the rest is to be woven in with words you find inside you as you go.

“I am keeping that bit in!” This is something you will find yourself saying as people laugh or gasp at an expression or expressive action you have just come up with.

You may well end up with a polished, hardly changing, performance piece which is much asked for. It didn’t come from a script though, it came from those bits.

For now let it be Story.

There may be future reworks between us, but for here, let S.T.O.R.Y. stand for…

Stare; story is to stare at.

We want them to be impressed. We want them to wonder. We want them to jump. To laugh. To respond. Most of all. Let them be four. Whatever age they are. Look for those moments. When the struggling parent juggling toddler and screamer is suddenly four herself and is lost in wonder at what you say. She is story.

You are telling for her.

Traditional told anew

Thank you to all the folklore hobbyists gone before, thank you to all those long gone who were intrigued by mythology, thank you to all who captured story. Thank you. You strangled it to death.

I thank you the glorious literary past, you saved so much for us, and now it is strapped to the searchable screen.

Anyone can go there and get the full lowdown.

As for us tellers.

We are free.

Oral always, abandon all scripts.

We have and will talk of knowing. We have talked of parts. When a Cheyenne woman leaps up and says to me ‘That is in our creation myth too,” you can be completely sure that elements of the old tale have survived. For even longer that the oldest records.

That is how they did it.

That is how they did it.

That is how they did it.

Th     Shall I say again for you???

Reinvent eventually through practicing live

The way to escape from script.

The way to incorporate the interruption.

Those sudden ideas you have.

The way a finger moved and they liked it.

The perfecting is never complete at all but the only way to tell a story is to hone the skill and tell it tell it tell it.

Tell it.

You should be the centre of attention yet forgotten altogether.

Yes that’s right.


story k 05 a
story k 05 b
story k 05 c
story k 05 d
story k 05 e
story k 05 f
story k 05 g
story k 05 h

I really did this. I came back though.

I won’t go into this in detail.

It is better that you have a think about it…











Now you know. Know.

(I make light here, but it is my most important thing.)

Perhaps the secret is to know which stories to start with. Which to love. To know to tell what suits you. Perhaps?

Get the idea in your head though.






I was thrilled when the above strip from my online series OldMan Comics was accepted for publication by Facts and Fiction – an international storytelling magazine (See Links).

There would be plenty who were laughing at it and acknowledging it who use and learn scripts though I guess.



12 thoughts on “Storytelling is… #5 The Spendlow Lectures Part 1 The Chosen

  1. Pingback: Storytelling is… #1 The Introduction – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  2. Pingback: Storytelling is… #2 The Show – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  3. Pingback: Storytelling is… #3 The Bio – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  4. Pingback: Storytelling is… #6 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Chanters Stool – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  5. Pingback: Storytelling is… #7 The Spendlow Lectures Part 2 Being Skaldic – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  6. Pingback: Storytelling is… #10 The Links – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  7. Pingback: Storytelling is… #11 The Poem – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  8. Pingback: Storytelling is… #4 An introduction to Adrian Spendlow (me) – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  9. Pingback: Storytelling is… #8 The Techniques – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  10. Pingback: Storytelling is… #9 In A Circle – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  11. Pingback: Storytelling is… #12 The Skald – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

  12. Pingback: The Chanters Stool – Part 2 of the Spendlow Lectures on How to be a Storyteller – Adrian Spendlow The Blog

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