Renita Boyle (an almost Autumn Voice) is best known to young fans as a Tale-Telling, Tongue-Twisting Troubadour, Picture Book author and Poetry Pixie. Her appeal spans the generations. She is a previous winner of the Wigtown Poetry Prize in Scots, and Resident Storyteller for the Wigtown Festival Company for whom she hosts Book at Bedtime and Cosy as a Hug for YA/Adult audiences. She is Lead Reader for Open Book, facilitating shared reading and creative writing groups for over 60s. She regularly offers wellbeing workshops which combine storytelling, poetry and art, and mentors those interested in writing memoir and legacy letters.
Renita is a committee member for the Scottish Storytelling Forum and for LAPIDUS, is former Patron of Reading at SJP in Renfrew, and Scottish Book Trust Reader-in-Residence for DG Libraries. She is a proud ‘WisconiScot’, having grown up in the wilds of Wisconsin and now living under the wild wide skies of Wigtown. You can discover more here:
Renita has kindly offered us some of her bedtime stories to help us nod off to sleep this month. She normally reads them to young children, but we think bedtime stories are for everyone, so either share this with someone to help them fall asleep or keep it all to yourself!
As a preface to each week’s bedtime story (link below), Renita shares her thoughts and experiences of stories and storytelling:
Renita’s Bedtime Story
Thank you for your welcome to Autumn Voices.
This morning I saw the first tinges of the changing season float down from the tree above me. As I held the crimson edged leaf between my fingers, I thought about the tinges of autumn appearing in my own life: a shift in the air, creaking limbs, pained joints, escaped names, a longing for and greater understanding of the beloved elders long gone from my life. And, of course, there is the increasing emergence of an Autumn Voice – nuanced with vulnerability, reflection, memories and legacy, purpose and meaning and deep desire for connection.
As a storyteller (fifty years now!) my Autumn Voice is also rooted in story . . . and I suspect yours is too.
Storytelling is innate within us all – primal, communal. Everyone, including the teller, belongs in the space in which a story is shared and benefits from that shared experience. Although there is a performance aspect present, true storytelling is about the relationship that is created and the myriad connections it facilitates.
Stories help us to laugh and cry; express joy and give voice to grief. They bring healing and clarity, understanding and decisiveness. They can help us to honour the past, have courage in the present, and move us forward. Stories ask as many questions as they answer. They can influence as well as entertain; turn wisecracks into wisdom, help us discern how to love, live and forgive.
Storytelling connects us to those who have journeyed long before us. It connects us to our shared experiences, to ourselves and to each other.
That’s what I love most about storytelling: those moments of transcendence beyond the telling and the tale. The undeniable and indescribable privilege of creating a sigh the spirit can inhabit.
Throughout August, I will share my emerging Autumn Voice with you: introducing you to memories of the Autumn Voiced elders in my own life and, of course, a few stories that you can watch or listen to. The experience will be all the more enjoyable if you share it with those younger and older in your lives.
So, settle down and cosy in.
Now our story can begin.
This week’s story is Hare the Moon and Me by Renita Boyle: