Tag Archives: Creative Nonfiction

Call for Submissions: May Stories at the Storey

No matter how you live, one thing is certain: one day it will come to an end. Hope, money, destruction: What will you leave behind?

As Stories at the Storey celebrates another month of awesome stories, we are looking to the future, mainly ours, to reflect: how are we making the world a better place? When we’re gone, how will we be remembered?

For true stories of memories, regrets, bucket lists, choices and anything (and everything) in between, this month’s theme is legacy.

Do you have a 3-5 minute true story to share on the theme “legacy” (loosely interpreted)? If so, we would love to hear it. Sign up for your 3-5 minute slot for May’s Stories at the Storey: May 25, 7-8 PM at The Storey in Lancaster.

You can’t take it with you, why not talk about it now?

Stories at the Storey Call for True Stories, Lies and Fiction

Believe it or not, it’s nearly time for this month’s Stories at the Storey. This month’s theme is true or false!
Do you have a 3-5 minute true (or false) story that will make us laugh, think, remember, connect, cry or anything in between? If so, we would love to hear it. To sign up to share your true or false story, get in touch. Message, tweet, comment. We’re looking forward to hearing your true story, even if it isn’t true.

This month’s Stories at the Storey:

When: Thursday, April 27th
Time: 7 PM
Where: The Storey

As always, entry is free and so are the refreshments.

The Macguffin will be on hand to record your story:
Are you a writer, poet or spoken word performer who wants your work to reach a wider audience? Why not try out MacGuffin, a self-publishing platform (website and app) by Comma Press, which allows you to upload text and audio of your written work. It’s free to use, and all you need to record your audio is a smartphone! Plus it works as an editing tool for writers thanks to analytics you can view through your desktop. For more info visit macguffin.io.

Please keep in mind you are under no obligation to have your story recorded. If you want to share your story and not have it recorded, let us know.

February’s Stories at the Storey, by Gemma Rayner

February’s Stories at the Storey’s open mic night was thriving with tales of the way food carries us through life. Each individual had a different story to tell – from the comedically clichéd advice given to overeaters everywhere, to the starvation that comes with travelling in remote and isolated landscapes, we felt the highlights and the struggles of each speaker’s tale. Food has a uniquely uniting force as an irrepressible human function, something that was apparent in the audience’s response to each story. To hear the struggles of your lifetime of attempted dieting expressed in such a poignant and humourous way was something that brought the entire audience to chuckles of familiarity and sympathy, and hearing the plight of a lonely hitchhiker cross the globe looking for opportunities to eat, was something that felt recognisable when expressed in such a detailed and eloquent way.

As a newcomer to Stories at the Storey, I was introduced to a buzzing community based on a raw sincerity of story-telling. The atmosphere was palpable with the light-hearted integrity that arises from sharing tales with such a level of openness, and it was lovely to see the community that put no barriers between speakers and listeners. The event presented such a welcoming environment which allowed conversation and interaction, but where the virtue of the shared tales was preserved within the room. Being part of such a pleasant and engaging group of people, who are willing to pour out their stories and the plethora of concurrent emotions, is a privilege; one that is fulfilled in the intimate setting of Stories at the Storey.

Whilst There is Breath There is Hope

We asked writers, artists, readers and anyone with a story to share to share their interpretation of the theme: “hope.”

Contributed by an anonymous writer, this moving essay is the first response to the call.

Whilst There is Breath There is Hope
She had mothered me out of my traumatic teenage years and into adulthood. She had coaxed me back from my first dark night of despair with tenderly enforced trips to quiet cafes to drink tea and smoke cigarettes. She had tried to love me by plugging holes as my vitality leaked away.
On a hot Saturday afternoon she took a rope, tied it to a tree, fashioned a noose and hung herself. He told me later that when he’d found her her toes hovered an inch or two from the ground, the bough of the tree couldn’t quite reach to put her down.
She died and I didn’t
I took scissors, which had only been returned to the drawer along with all knives after her death, and cut late spring flowers from her lovingly tended garden. Her suicide note revealed she had planned to die there but ran to the woods when it was realised she had escaped from the house. Without knowing what else to do I took the flowers to the tree and placed these delicately pathetic offerings of aquilegia and poppies at the edge of the gaping abyss- where despair had run out, movement ceased, breath ran out. It was an offering of love, mine and hers, left to wither at the place where hope ran out.
My whole adult life I have ricocheted between the opposing poles of hope and despair, at one extreme the pull of suicidal thoughts, a desire to delete myself, and at the other the magnetic draw of hope; salvation by the blessing of external circumstances, or to put it another way, a feeble belief it’ll all work out in the end. Both poles are dangerous. When this kind of hope gets shattered time and again by life’s ordinary offerings of trauma and disappointment the downward spiral to the opposite pole becomes a well trodden path.
Arriving at despair, this time as a mother, prompted a different course of action. I feared for myself less than I feared that my children might become motherless so I asked for a new model of hope.
The NHS, unsure what to do with me, sent me on a meditation course. Every Friday afternoon, I sat with my comrades from the four corners of Despairesville and we learned to watch our thoughts. At first I ran at my despair with a war mongering cry, “Come on then you fucker, show yourself so I can annihilate you!” – not quite the mindset the teacher was looking for, and with a bemused kindly tone he encouraged a friendly, compassionate approach.
We practiced listening to sounds; silent sounds of the room, the faulty fire alarm that blipped, gurgling stomachs. Immersion in the sensory awareness of life was a welcome break from the analytical mode I usually inhabited. We watched our breathing, we watched our thinking, we felt the tingle of aliveness in our muscles. We dwelled in our bodies and in our pain; we did not run from it. Actually we did, constantly, but we tried to notice ourselves doing it and not tell ourselves off.
I didn’t like much of what I saw. But a tiny miracle occurred; with gentle attention I prised open a paper thin gap between being in ‘it’ and observing ‘it’. That gap sprouted a seedling of hope. I noticed that my immovable rock-face of pain, whether a plague of anxiety-rats scattering around my head, or the dampening thick white-out of depression, was not as solid and immovable as it appeared. Diminutive changes occurred as I breathed. The embodied sense of despair moved, in a geographical sense, across my body. Sometimes it moved like waves, sometimes like slow compacting earth. The important thing was that it moved. As long as there was breath there was movement. Movement meant change and change meant potential and with that came a crack in the rock-face just large enough for my seedling of hope to grow. Not the shiny and alluring hope-as-flimsy-optimism but an authentic hope grew out of the ground of despair.
With achingly dull repetition, meditating led to a fleeting, scarcely perceptible sense of one vast net of interconnectedness; the warp and weft of the present also had living threads that stretched far back into the past and far forward into the future. It was impossible to see it all, only my little corner of it, but I had the sense that whatever I did, even just breathing, it mattered.

Anniversaries, Stories and Hope: Stories at the Storey Call for True Stories

Stories at the Storey is 2 years old!

Join us as we celebrate our two-year anniversary with a two-month virtual True Story Open Mic Night.

The theme is “hope.” Hope and action, hope and love, hope and prayer, hope and…We can all use a little hope and we’re hoping you have some to spare. We would like to hear your stories loosely interpreting the theme “hope.”

How can you join us?

Between now and December 31, 2016, share your 300-750 word true story or your 3-5 minute video or recording telling your true story about hope.

What kind of story?

A true one, otherwise it’s up to you. We like stories that make us laugh, cry, reflect, wonder…We just like well told true stories.

What happens next?

Well-crafted written stories will feature on our blog. We’ll compile the videos and audio recordings into a short production and share it with the world.

As 2016 rolls into 2017, we can all use a little hope.

October 27, 2016: Stories at the Storey Call for Storytellers

All roads lead to…where? Whether you’re on the right path or the wrong one, are exactly where you want to be or on a detour, life is full of journeys. Stories at the Storey wants to hear yours. The theme for this month’s Stories at the Storey is Journey.

Do you have an engaging 3-5 minute true story to share? If so, Stories at the Storey would love to hear it at this month’s true story open mic night. To sign up for a storytelling slot, email us at storiesatthestorey@gmail.com.

What kind of stories are we looking for? At Stories at the Storey we like true stories told well. Stories that make us laugh, cry, think, wonder, imagine…it’s up to you. We are a warm, supportive crowd and the evening is a lot of fun. Stories at the Storey is a great place to get to know people, make new friends and be a part of the community. Stories at the Storey is open to the public (18 and over).

Date: October 27, 2016

Time: 7-8 PM

Location: The Storey, Lancaster

Sponsored by Grad College, Stories at the Storey is an award-winning community arts event and a BBC Get Creative Event.

Light refreshments will be served.