Today is World Poetry Day. Due to a fortuitous set of circumstances I found myself in St Pancras Station, London, at nine in the morning looking for a cup of coffee. Of course Hatchards Bookshop hollered out to me. Books and coffee in the same special place. What's not to love. I got chatting to Georgia Attlesey the Programme Manager for Poet in the City. She has an amazing set of events lined up for today.
The first just happened to be a Poetry Storyteller event. I was introduced to the delightful Alia, from Syria, who is a professional storyteller. What an outstanding job. She asked me to give her something that I might be blocked or stuck with and then told me a story which would help with this. I told her I was a bit stuck with my current WIP. She then told and amazing story about an intellectual who wanted to become a gardner. Her tale held a nugget of wisdom or advice which would help with my problem and it did. What a talent. If anyone comes across such storytellers today then please speak to them and get your own story. What an experience.
She also told me that there are still professional storytellers in Syria who sit in cafe's and tell stories just like she did with me. I would seriously love to sit in a cafe and listen to such storytellers, drinking coffee and forgetting the cares of the world.
As a writer I feel I am a part of this long history of storytelling which comes from an oral tradition. It was an honour to meet Alia and to be a part of her tradition and world, if only for a brief moment. Taking time out like this has made me relax and enjoy something different. Something new and exciting.
I was also given some limited edition cards with brief snatches of poetry. I took these away and have been looking at them off and on since. Each time I look I get something new from them. Isn't this what poetry and storytelling is all about? We each take something different from it depending on our circumstances and who we are. This is why it brings joy to so many people.
As I finish I leave you with this - if you come across one of these events, stop and take time out of your busy life. Savour the moment and be part of something bigger. Take time to reconnect with who you are. If you are reading this blog long after World Poetry Day then find a poem, sit down with a coffee and read it, and enjoy.