Once there was a girl who followed her dreams. She had learnt that they were the only thing that could be relied upon, after many years of doing what she had been told was good, and finding only unhappiness.
She followed her dreams right out of the land of her birth, and into warmer climes, yet still the dreams sent her further. On a sunlit morn she embarked upon a small sail boat … bound for Brazil.
She offered all she had to offer; to cook for the small crew. It was a voyage of a lifetime. Through shimmering waters, strewn with stars by night, and filled with dolphins, flying fish and whales by day, the graceful 12m yacht headed first south and then West with the Night.
Of romance beneath velvety midnight skies and exquisite deserted beaches, of tuna the size of the small pivoted oven, and magical exotic encounters with African street food, Portuguese colonial architecture, and daring yacht dwelling adventurers, does this chapter tell, but the telling of that is for another time.
Two moons passed and all too soon skyscrapers pierced the sky and the little boat came to land in the old Portuguese sea port of Recife . A little to the north a green hill saved eyes bathed by the delights of wild free ocean from certain despair; Olinda, the beautiful one, perched atop its hillside, beckoned, enticingly.
T’was the beginning of a love affair, and those who know Love will understand that the beloved never leaves our hearts.
Brazil; land of treasure too abundant to hold; my heart aches with the memory of golden sand, lush exuberant life in all its forms; plants and animals and people - larger than life for an English girl all battened down. Colours to bedazzle, eyes to connect, pure life force surging through all it touches.
Music, mayhem and magic. When Brazilian singer songwriter Gilberto Gil enticed us to Vamos Fugir(Let’s Run Away) he can surely only have meant back to roots, back to nature, back to ourselves, and to the naïve English girl Brazil gave all of that.
Married a Paulista, built a house by the beach from the back of an old envelope, planted an orchard, learnt Portuguese from Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho, over a year-long determination to read Diario de um Mago/The Pilgrimage, and Sanskrit from Portuguese through the yoga of Mestre de Rose. O Alquemista/The Alchemist came next, and then the desire to share with others the journey she lived.
Walked the coastline of Alagoas, explored the yet untamed interior of Bahia and coastline of the north east, flip flop clad, the soft sands lending strength to ankles, the warm balmy air soothing the soul of the Lancashire lass, calor humano awakening her vitality, emotion by emotion. It is Ok to be alive, vibrant, in the fullness of you, she learnt.
Brazil had loved her into life.
A final parting at an airport, as painful as any lover’s leave taking, I turned to the departure gate and wept, returned to the doors that led back to the hot basking land of my heart, tears flowing, yet back to the departure gate, heart wrenching, tightening, gasping sobs, and again to the doors that led to my raw, vibrant and yet dangerous lover. Life on the edge in a land alien to my birth, or return to a new life in the land of my birth, to live that edge here instead.
With Brazil ever in my heart I started anew in a town that is not too big and not too small, with a river running through it, and a steep steep high street with a castle on the top; called there by a picture, of a school, in a gatehouse straddling an ancient way.
And there came one day a man with a tale to tell, t’was a tale not many understood at first, but little by little Rob of the Great Renown founded the great story telling web of all story telling webs with help from Ben the White Raven, and so it was that Transition came to the town that was not too big and not too small, and WynnAlice, a storyteller became.
For on the eve of Sawain in the middle of the night came the dream to tell of what came next.
Upon telling of the dream to Rob of the Great Renown, that Namer of the Age was heard to say that;
Ideas that come in the middle of the night are always the best.
And so it was that WynnAlice set out on the first day of spring and her pilgrimage was begun, though she was not the one to name it so.
Six moons later, still clad in the pair of faithful red flip flops that had carried her over the Brazilian sands, did she return to the town that is not too big and not too small, with a storyteller’s heart full of tales to be shared.
From villages, towns, cities, universities, schools, and forests came the tales of a people in transition; The Tales of Our Times. The dream she did a-follow and bound them all up in 13 locally made volumes with paintings of a whimsical storyteller and a cover of felt, hand dyed from the woolly backed mammals of Dartmoor.
But WynnAlice could see that the dream was not yet fully answered, for where was the book that would spread the tales far and wide across the land and across the oceans too?
It soon came through the place of living dreams, the intuition that every storyteller needs must follow, that by the year 2050 the Utopia we all know is possible would be flourishing, and so it was she knew how it would be that she would share her tales, for since tales are told to inspire, this vision was the only one that would suffice.
It would be a fairytale indeed to tell thus far and say all was well and so it was, but as every journey man and woman well doth know, every story has its challenges, and WynnAlice had now to face the great god of the times; Money.
It was well known, and yet not, in those times, that it was only with Money’s help that anything could be achieved, and for a storyteller who had taken every penny made from the building of the house and the planting of the orchard in the far away Land of Music, Mayhem and Magic, and given it in love to the writing of the Tales of Our Times, and found in the doing the true cost of locally sourced, locally made products, this was an encounter with the reality of the story that folk lived by in those times.
For to pay the printer, a vast sum, for her, was to be found by the Solstice, and all creative writing stopped as WynnAlice learnt, painstakingly, the language of Money. For two moons did she strive, and all the while her heart tightened and wrenched and tears flowed, for to speak this language tore her heart from her soul and deadened her every breath, for it didn’t make sense to her.
Called upon to produce a Love Letter filled with promises of future pounds and pence took WynnAlice far from the present, far from the Utopia she knew was already being born, far from her friends old and new who would buy her book, if only they knew.
The day loomed when the Love Letter was to be presented to the servants of Money down at the bank, and WynnAlice’s faithful old laptop, 7 years in service, did close down its screen and that was that. The servants of Money down at the bank were kind and listened, but said they could not help without a Love Letter complete with the most fulsome of promises of the quantities Money would reap through lending a little of himself to gain yet more.
With desperate eyes and desolate slump to meet She of Humility and Belief in the New Story did WynnAlice go, for the two had spoken of Sacred Economics and our storyteller wished to see this tract for herself. When told of the news of the money to be found by the Solstice She of Vision and Insight said simply:
I’ll lend you the money.
And so it was that gratitude welled up in WynnAlice’s heart and off she went to complete the love letter a little lighter of spirit, on the pre loved laptop Ben the White Raven had furnished for her use, the laptop that soon would write the story that everyone knows is coming.
Still the language came hard, and more tears were shed, till finally came the day to present the Love Letter to the servants of Money down at the bank.
The Gatekeeper did listen well to the promises of offerings to enter the coffers, and shook her head, sadly it seemed. For No was the answer to the Love Letter, your pledges of future offerings will not please the god Money enough. For these paltry offerings of only making exactly what you need do not interest him; t’is rent he wants, and plenty of it, for you to have his help.
Hand on her heart, the Gatekeeper told the storyteller she could not help; the servants who sat in counsel in service to the god Money would not accept such a supplicant. But if it were I, said she, I would believe in you and give you a chance.
She gave WynnAlice names of others, who out of charity might help, and WynnAlice left the bank, lighter of heart. For though rejected she was, she was also free. She had failed to turn a £5000 debt into a £7500 debt, and that was the real truth of the matter.
And all this while, friends old and new continued to show WynnAlice where she might seek support. At a merry gathering of those who would live the bright new future now, The multi talented Bard of Brighton did ask of her whose work did she feel most resonance with, who would most understand her work, and from out of the place where dreams do dwell came his name, why Paulo Coelho. That mage whose words, if truth be known, no doubt first awoke the storyteller from slumber to service. From the Well Spoken Harmony Gardener came the belief in her poetry in the form of a gift of money to enable her to share her gift of poetry with the world, and when she spoke of this out into the Place where People in Community can Speak the way to do this was shown to her by a certain friend of the Brazilian storyteller, He of Resourceful Ingenuity, and so it was that her lifelong Searching for Love was to find a way to be shared, and the dream to share of her journey with others began to feel possible.
Through the introduction to Leanpub WynnAlice settled into a world that felt familiar; here was a piece of that future vision, here a way to empower those that write, here a way for readers to engage with those that write, here a way for each and every person involved to have a voice and choose how to make Money their servant.
WynnAlice continued to explore the ones who in charity might rent her the money she needed to pay back her loan, but in her heart to rent money when she had none was too painful to accept and the process moved slowly and dulled her vitality and desire to write. Then She of Humility and Belief in the New Story came back to her and said;
I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but why should you rent money when you can simply repay the money I have lent you as the money comes in from the books you sell?
And so it was, with joy in each woman’s heart, that Money lost his hold on them, and a servant became. It is in this way, said they, in the Utopia of 2050, that money shall have its place; as a way of keeping the flow of creative action ever moving, and the times when Money was god shall be remembered as a time of great stagnation and hoarding of love, and loss of connection. It will be remembered too that it was Serendipity that led the way forward for those that cared to listen to her gentle voice.
If you are inspired by the Utopia that is coming ever more quickly into being with each action, thought and feeling that feeds it, maybe you would like to be part of the community of people crowdfunding and helping that story to be written by advance buying your copy of my next book Flip Flop.
If you would like to hear Tales of Our Times and excerpts from Flip Flop I am coming out on tour in June and would love to share stories with you. I am looking for venues and hosts. House Concerts, cafes, community halls…wherever you can feel the arrival of the new story, and if a local minstrel shall be so inspired it shall be my delight to weave WynnAlice’s tales with notes of a musical kind…
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read a review of Tales of Our Times http://transitionfreepress.org/preview-issue/ by Mike Grenville in issue 4 as well as articles by Steph Bradley in issues 1,2 and 4.
Sponsor my new book at http://www.sponsume.com/project/flip-flop-tale-our-times
Read about my transition pilgrimage http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2013-12/storyteller-steph-bradley-tales-our-times-red-flipflops-and-stuff
Listen to my tales at https://www.mixcloud.com/StephanieAWBradley/
Buy my book from http://storyweaving.co.uk/index.php/books/
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