Standing on the shoulders of giants. How we learn from others and become creative ourselves.

Creativity grows out of a tradition. Most creative people have immersed themselves in an area: music, writing, business, science, the arts. Then they are able to create something new. Something that is their own.

I have been in love with stories all my life. As a boy I would sit in Church utterly fascinated by the Bible stories. Especially the Old Testament. My favourite, was Joseph and his brothers. When Joseph was thrown into the well and abandoned by those he loved, my heart burnt with injustice. Following Joseph on his triumphant journey from rags to riches filled me with excitement. The tensions, dramas and resolutions in this story are masterful and magnificent.

This story was also turned into the musical, 'Joseph and his technicolor dream coat.' I'm sure this added to the stories' weight and importance in my young mind. 'The Lord of The Rings', was my other great childhood love. I was 9 when I finished that huge book. I felt incredibly sad when I reached the end. Maybe I sensed that my childhood was over, and that never again would I get so easily lost in a story.

University Tales

At Edinburgh University I spent 4 years reading English Literature and Religious Studies. This was my introduction to world literature. I fell in love with Indian stories. I was fascinated by the Indian Goddess Kali, the dark Goddess of destruction, and I wrote my dissertation on her. I was drawn to the exotic and mysterious.

The Goddess Kali.

I greedily read everything I could get my hands on about Indian gods and goddesses. I'd loved the Greek stories as a boy. I only ever won two prizes at school. One was a fishing trophy. I'd caught 5 little trout in the river. The other was a 'Tried the hardest prize.' It was an illustrated collection of Greek stories of gods and goddesses. As a young adult I was shocked to discover so many similarities in the Indian stories. It felt as if somebody had been keeping a secret from me. I lapped up all the great stories from the Indian tradition, like Krishna lapping up butter milk. In this story, the playful boy-god Krishna steals butter milk from his Mother's pot. When asked to open his mouth, to prove his guilt, Krishna reveals the whole universe in his mouth.

He's got the whole world in his mouth.

School teacher

I was 22 when my daughter Finley was born. In my second year of University. This was when I became interested in education. Finley was born in the living room of our tiny flat in the center of Edinburgh. Witnessing the birth was like nothing I'd ever seen. It was like being wrenched into the real world. The labour pain. The blood. A human being popping into existence. It was shocking. I was determined to protect and nurture this new life. That's what lead me to Steiner Education.

New life. New stories.

Steiner Stories

After finishing my masters degree I spent 3 years studying to be a Steiner Teacher. Again I fell in with stories. In Steiner Schools great value is placed upon the spoken word. Teachers tell stories by heart, everyday. They must learn: Grimm's fairy tales, nature stories, Native American stories, African stories, fables, saint stories, legends, old testament stories. Norse myths, Greek Stories, Egyptian tales, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Indian stories. A mind boggling collection of world stories! This was was richer than anything I'd encountered before. All the stories of the world. And over 5 years I learnt them by heart. What an amazing training! I feel that I have been thoroughly dipped in the world of stories.

Whenever we immerse ourselves in a field. Be it music, art, science, business, or sports. We are in a sense coloured by that very field.

A wandering musician.

I left teaching 4 years ago, and have been a full time musician/storyteller/author since. I love stories. Now after a long journey, and many years of dipping myself in the 'story pot'. I am creating my own books, and adding to the tradition of storytelling in my own way.

Unique contribution.

Being creative and making a unique contribution is part of a journey. The journey begins with immersing yourself in an area that you love. It must become thoroughly part of your life. You are a writer, painter, or dancer. Entrepreneur, photographer, scientist. Whoever you are. You do it because you love it, not because of money or fame. The activity itself brings joy. If you do this, and remain curious then you will be creative. Life will come knocking at your door.

What is the story of your passion, your joy? Can you remember loving something in childhood? Have you been able to follow it through your life?


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