From lost thumbs to Star Wars: myth and magic with Suzy Kelly – 6 March 2019

Well, it was another fascinating workshop at the club last night when our own Suzy captured and enthralled with her wealth of knowledge of writing myths and magic. Suzy’s power-point presentation was brimming with wonderful facts.

‘Realistic fiction can always do with a bit of magic and vice versa.’

Suzy gave us an overview of Legend, Folk Tale, Fairy Tale, Fable, Myth, and the importance of Magic and Defining Magic. We heard that fairy tales were a sub genre of folk tale,  told orally then written. We heard about Little Suck-a-Thumb’, a favourite fable from Suzy’s childhood.

Mother tells little Conrad not to suck his thumb while she is away, warning him that ‘the great tall tailor always comes to little boys who suck their thumbs’. She goes on to tell that the tailor cuts off their thumbs. She had scarcely gone when the thumb went in. The red-legged scissor man came and snip, snipped both thumbs off. When mother comes home what does she say?

‘I knew he’d come to naughty Suck-a-Thumb! Caring mother, scary tale I say. ‘Delighted fear,’ says Suzy.

The Myth Cauldron was handed round the room and everyone took a slip of paper with a different myth. The one I had was about Spider Woman, a Navaho Goddess. She taught humans how to weave and farm. When monsters threatened humans had them destroyed. In one tale she dropped a silk cord to save a Navaho boy from a rival tribe.

Ancient story structures are timeless, Star Wars for example:

Hero – Luke Skywalker, Mentor – Obi Wan Kenobi, Goddess – Princess Leia, Villain – Darth Vader, Rogue – Han solo, Jesters – C3Po and R2D2.

We split into pairs and were given a Story Circle sheet to try to create our own stories. Basically there was: Character / Need / Go / Search / Find / Take / Return / Change / Character etc.

Suzy is putting all information required on the Googlegroup.

Here’s a snapshot of results:

Barefooted women who, if seen, meant bad luck. Poor Peggy forgets this to her peril. Message – keep your slippers on!

Dandy the Devil Dog. Lost backpacker Amber finds a powerful stone whilst rescuing a dog. This stone enables her to converse with the dog who takes her home. She has the power.

Bullied boy rescued by crones who enslave and beat him. He gradually gains confidence and is able to escape home. Twinges of beatings return if he feels fearful or overpowering.

Unsuccessful writer on retreat experiences plots happening. She tries to take these ideas home but if she manages to get home she will lose every word she has written.

A disillusioned Aldi cashier notices changes in her elderly customers’ purchasing habits and ends up amongst pensioners who would not die!

Girl, Thirteen by name, doesn’t fit in and sets off to find friends. She finds some who want her to stay with them but she decides to go home realising no one fits in.

Disgraced ex-soldier discovers sinister happenings in government whilst helping a journalist. She is killed, he takes revenge on her behalf.

Student who connects with ghosts via an old telephone. In doing so she is able to solve her friend’s death.

Thank you, Suzy, for an inspiring night.

Greta Yorke

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