The Storyteller

14-04-2014 Monday

So, this morning I woke up, got ready for school, only to find out holiday had started. I guess last night’s events really messed up my brains. When I got downstairs, Mum was sitting there wondering why I was dressed for school. I was wondering why she hadn’t made any breakfast. I quickly changed, Mum made me some breakfast, we walked the dog together and afterwards Mum took me to Oxford Street to buy some new clothes for me as ‘summer is just round the corner’. Maybe she should tell that to mother nature, because obviously she hasn’t got a clue which season it is at this moment.
Today is not about going shopping with Mum. Today is about me and not about my ‘adventures’. Well, maybe it’s not even about me, but more about the people behind me. I’ve been getting some great responses to my writing skills and I feel it’s not really fair to take all the credit. Some of us are really gifted at playing the guitar (I’ve been trying for some time now, but I feel that it’s going to take years before I’ve really mastered this skill), some are good at playing football, and others are really great at painting. I guess I am talented at writing (just don’t expect to see me at Britain’s Got Talent or anything). I’d like to take this opportunity to thank some of my teachers as I feel that they deserve a lot of the credit that has been given to me.
Mind you, I’m not really talking about the teachers at school even though they taught me how to hold a pen and write letters, words and sentences and I am thankful for that, too. We’ve all had teachers at school we liked or disliked. School is not the only place of learning. Actually, I find school the dullest place on earth to learn much of anything, if any real learning takes place there at all. There are some great teachers out there for those who are willing to see, for those who are brave enough to listen and for those who are keen on learning. I talk of great books that deserve reading (and mostly between the lines), films that need to be seen, songs to be heard and great people you should take a liking to.
‘The best place by the fire was kept for the storyteller.’ In this case it was Mum reading me bedtime stories. My first love was for fairy tales, but not the Disney ones, mind you. I read Grimm’s fairy tales for they are truly sublime. Most often they’re not only wonderful tales you’re reading, they’re valuable life lessons. The same goes for stories by Roald Dahl, A.A. Milne, Lewis Caroll, Sue Townsend, Frank Baum, Douglas Adams, and George Orwell. I know that a lot of my fellow pupils at school have read some of their books (just some), but I wonder if they have really read them or read them just for the sake of reading. There’s a difference, you know, and if you don’t, I guess that just proves me right.
The opening of the paragraph above was a quote, but not just any quote. I am a big fan of Jim Henson’s. This quote came from one of his less popular TV-series called ‘The Storyteller’. Jim is also behind some great films, like ‘Labyrinth’ (not to be mistaken for ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, also a great film, but not quite the same). I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen that one and I still can’t get enough of it. Each time I see something new and I try to memorize more of the lines. Sometimes I quote the film at school just to see who’s also seen it (nobody so far). There’s also something about old black and white films and TV-series like ‘The Addams Family’, ‘Laurel and Hardy’ ‘Charlie Chaplin’ and one of my favourite old films ‘The Odd Couple’.
‘It’s time to play the music’. I don’t know whether I should feel blessed or cursed for having parents who listen to eighties and nineties music. I guess it’s a blessing, at least in those days songs actually had lyrics. I happen to like to sing along to songs (even though I can’t sing). Lyrics (as well as poems) have really shown me the power of words and they have taught me how less can really be more. My love for lyrics grew even more when my Dutch friend let me listen to things like Primus, Tom Waits, Tori Amos and a not very well-known musician called Geoff Berner. If only my classmates would stop listening to all that electronic disco and start listening to songs with great lyrics, their English might just improve a little (I’m not going to go into what I feel rap-music has done to my peers’ language).
So, ‘hats off to all the ones who stood before me and taught a fool to rhyme’ – Les Claypool

See me tomorrow.

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7 thoughts on “The Storyteller

  1. ‘- You remind me of the babe.
    – What babe?
    – The babe with the power.
    – What power?
    – The power of voodoo.
    – Who do?
    – You do.
    – Do what?
    – Remind me of the babe.’
    And you’re so right: you CANNOT beat a Grimm’s fairytale. I felt properly ripped off that Ariel didn’t die at the end of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The Little Match Girl was my favourite though. Beyond sad.
    You have great taste, Arthur.

    • I was four years old and my mother put Hans Christian Anderson records (storytelling) on for me while she cared for my younger brother. I cannot tell you how many times I curled up on the couch alone and cried and cried with the Little Match Girl!! But I would always listen to it again, even though I knew what would happen. Same with the The Little Tin Soldier. Remember that tearjerker??

      • Oh, too sad. And Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince: when the statue says to take his sapphire eyes, even he’ll be blind and then the swallow dies. Oh my God!
        I still get sad-backs (is that a term? It should be: sad flashbacks) when I think about Goodnight Mr Tom too. For older children, but beyond sad.

      • I do remember the Little Match Girl. My Dutch friend told me they have a theme park in the Netherlands where they have a Fairy Tale Forest which sounded pretty awesome. I remember the Tin Soldier vaguely, but I’ll look it up on the World’s Watching Web.

  2. Hi Arthur – – so I have in common with your parents….my musical taste! Oldies but goodies! And it’s funny because when I was your age, (in the early 80’s) I liked what my own parents still liked, which back then was Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand! You are so right to turn to classic literature and music and movies – – they will serve you well in your own writing. And I suspect already have! Nice informational post.

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