The Wild Philosophy
We are all Natural Storytellers
Have you ever seen a drunk hold forth in a pub and tell a riveting tale of their escapades?
Have you ever recounted a story to your best friend and found it just slipped off the tongue fully formed? There’s a reason we know how to tell stories. They are a fundamental way though which our bodies and minds process emotional experience, discharge energy from the nervous system, gain perspective, communicate and connect. They are not just some added extra to spice up our lives and give us a break from reality. Creating narrative is vital to our well-being, our sense of safety, our enjoyment of life, even our survival.
We each have a storyteller at the core of our being.
Fiction writing exists for these purposes as much as autobiographical writing and spoken-word poetry. As human beings, we are fundamentally metaphorical creatures. We construct symbolic systems at various levels of abstraction, to meet our biological needs. When we write a story we won’t always understand the source of our need for expression. That’s fine. All that is important is that we learn to trust our natural ability to tell stories, that we trust the wild in us.
So remember, storytelling saves lives. You're doing war work!
What gets in the way?
If it’s true that we are natural storytellers, how is it that when we sit down in front of the blank page, or stand up on stage, it can seem that this natural flow evaporates away, dries up or hardens to rock?
Most of the blocks that get in the way of our creativity involve cyclical, repetitive patterns of thinking- looping expectations, hopes and doubts. This is usually accompanied by a physical freeze.
Dropping down out of our heads, to function from an embodied, instinctual animal place, is the starting point for disabling the blocks to vivid, powerful use of words. After that, we can learn to use our thinking minds in a more productive way.
‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’
‘Writing starts with living.’
The Role of the Body
It’s clear that in order to tell an effective story about something, we have to have experienced it. Not just specific events, places and characters (these we can invent from scratch) but also how it is to exist in a human body, with its plethora of sensations. How is it to receive sensory impressions, and then to feel the visceral and emotional reactions to those stimuli in the body? The reader or listener will never feel that they walk in the shoes of the performer, narrator, or lead character, unless we, as the creator, know how it is to experience it ourselves, first.
As well as this, contact with our bodily experience can play an even more profound role. The route to true creativity is through utilising the knowledge held in our bodies as well as in our rational minds. There are so many answers held in our holistic felt sense, but we have to drop down out of our heads to know them. As wordsmiths we talk about block and flow but we only know what we mean by those terms because of our bodily experience of those states. The body is the access point for moving from creative block to creative flow.
How We Work
At Wild Words we make use of the power of storytelling and metaphor. We describe the path to freeing up your words in terms of the skills an animal tracker needs to cultivate, and the trail they need to follow, to discover the wild animal. As you’ll find out, writing and tracking skills are strikingly similar.
Wild Words course help you to learn specific skills for re-finding the instinctual writer-storyteller, tracking down your wild words and harnessing them on the lips, or the page. All these skills have a sound scientific and psychotherapeutic theoretical basis.
When we practice speaking or writing Wild Words we are trying a new way of functioning. What comes out may fit the stereotype of wild. It may roar out big, brash and loud. However, it’s equally likely that it will flutter, creep or scuttle in, whispering in our ear. Wild Words are nothing if not individual. They find the form that is most appropriate for what needs to be said, for the story we need to tell.
‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’
‘Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher’
The Role of Nature
We use the functioning of animals in nature as a model and inspiration for our work. When we talk about going out into the wilds, we mean metaphorically.
Having said that, some of the course exercises will give you the option to go outside for real. Going out into nature can help to revitalise the hero in us, the explorer that, cosseted by modern life, has dozed off.
Surrounded by nature we begin to appreciate how the outer landscape reflects our inner landscape and vice versa. We see how we are drawn to the qualities of wild that appeal to us, that we would like to bring into our life and word-craft. For example: the power of the sea, or the playfulness of the otter.
As well as this, we are confronted with our terror of the wilds. We can be shocked to discover how we project the more instinctual aspects of ourselves on to our environment and disown them in ourselves. The dangerous animals all reside out there. They are never in here.
Nature can also resource us in the task of facing these fears. There is no better place to feel nourished in our quest to speak and write wild words than in nature- by the sun on our face, by the cool water, or by the beauty of the sunset.
Your contact with nature may involve literally breaking out of the office, or be purely using the Wild Words metaphors. Whichever is the case for you, Wild Words is here to help you to reconnect with the wild in you, in order to know what the story is that you need to tell, and to imbue your words with those same qualities of wild.