I actually enjoy making multi-media presentations and giving speeches. Some say it’s too nerve-wracking, but my attitude and expectations have changed over time. I don’t strive to make a living as a speaker. I’m no longer worried about being evaluated or judged. When I’m hired to make a presentation, I don’t charge a fortune. I simply like connecting with people to share stories, experiences and information. It makes me feel better when I exchange stories, so I assume many others feel the same way. A few years ago, I took a leap and completed several storytelling courses to learn how to shape memories and ideas into stories through the art of storytelling. It was truly life-changing.
It often seems our essential life messages remain buried or hidden until someone feels compelled or obligated to write a eulogy. People will then take time from their busy schedule to share memories about the events of our lives. We fail to realize that our adult children and grandchildren want to hear our stories and they want us to record them.
I experience great pleasure when people open up to share their experiences and ideas. As much as I like telling my stories, I love listening to others – just as much or maybe more. I think we’ve created a space in our art studio so people can share their ideas and feelings. Overtime they become more confident and expressive. When they go into the “zone” they feel safe and more inclined to share their thought/creative processes. Memories and family stories become prompts for poetry or paintings or both.
This summer, I’m challenging people to take an art journal challenge with me during the month of July. We’ll record ideas, open up to memories and develop creative expressions – storytelling through creative writing, spoken word, art or collage. We’ll be using my Creative Arts Adventures page on Facebook to prompt and inspire and we’ll have time in the studio as well.
Kathy Smith was named to the Mayor’s Honour Roll for the Arts in London Ontario. In 2015, she was recognized by the London Council for Adult Education for her work with older adults. In 2016, she received an Ontario Achievement Award for community leadership rom the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.