AUTHORS: Mike O'Leary
"I have been a professional storyteller since 1995; this means I am more used to telling stories than writing them. For me, telling a story is more fundamental – the exchange between people, the swirl of patterns and motifs underlying the words, the effect of sounds and smells and light and dark as the story is being told, the questions and changes taking place that make each storytelling session different. I remember being told fragments of stories about hollow hills and sleeping warriors on a farm in Fife during the 1950s, when I was a small boy. It isn’t just the focus of the story I remember, but a warm breeze, the smell of hay, and the Doppler effect sound of a jet aircraft as it flew into nearby Leuchars aerodrome. My writing, though, attempts to explore the telling. There may be a contradiction in that.
I worked as a greenkeeper and a gardener before taking a degree, mainly focused on geomorphology. Afterwards, in my forties, I became a primary school teacher. Becoming a storyteller seemed to be to adopt the only profession for which all those things could be considered an apprenticeship.
I have lived in Southampton since 1978 and remain there, possibly more out of inertia than anything else. We don’t always choose where we end up and where our roots go down – and when we try to we invariably kill the place we thought we loved. Southampton chunters along, it functions, and I feel the locality. I wander away from it frequently, though, and talk to people, and listen to them, and gather up fragments of stories, and wonder why we do it – why we string experiences together to create narrative.
My job, being a storyteller, involves words and music – and told stories are not separate from, not contained in a different box than, a song; there are repetitions, choruses, rhythms."
Mike can be found on www.michaelolearystoryteller.com and on Facebook: @MikeOLearystoryteller.
"The undisputed king of Mythogeography is Phil Smith" - Jane Samuels
All Phil Smith's books with Triarchy Press:
A Sardine Street Box of Tricks ~ Anywhere ~ Counter-Tourism: Handbook
Counter-Tourism: Pocketbook ~ Enchanted Things ~ Mythogeography ~ On Walking
Rethinking Mythogeography ~ The Architect-Walker ~ The Footbook of Zombie Walking
The MK Myth ~ Walking Stumbling Limping Falling ~ Walking's New Movement ~ Ways to Wander