Cheryl Beer

Cheryl Beer
Award Winning Creative Director making social change through the mediums of sound, story & mantra

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Voice of the Navajo Stones : Is there such a thing as random?

In my last blog I showed you how I made a set of Native American Story Stones. This evening I have been pulling the stones randomly from the little bag and writing whatever story comes. 

I think there is such a beauty to the simple nature of the story but I am intrigued to know if this process truly is 'random'. 

What if there were some deeply spiritual connection to me, as the maker, the ancient rock from whence they came, the rolling seas that smoothed them, the mystique history of the symbols themselves. What if  within these little stories, lay ancient paths? What an exciting thought.

Tomorrow, I will look up the spiritual significance of these symbols to the Native American peoples.

For now, it is time to dream of new adventures and sleep in the knowledge of loving kindness from the Earth. 

Native American Story Stones : Unleashing the Story Telling Child Within

As the Creative Digital Developer at Stories for Change / the Storytelling for Health International Conference, I have found myself completely reconnected with Storytelling but I spend most of my time on the project indoors, sat at my computer, online designing the website, managing the Group page on Facebook and devising creative evaluation techniques.

So, when the sun came out today, I decided that I wanted to do something storytelling based outside and completely hands on.

I looked up some Native American symbols as a basis for a storytelling prompt. I thought I might like to make a little bag of stones decorated with Native American symbols and pull them out of the little bag randomly, to see what stories the stones tell on their own.

We were very lucky because the sun was shining and even more lucky because we live half an hour from New  Quay, West Wales.

Jeff sat on the rocks living dangerously, eating his chips while I went onto the beautiful beach to find potential pebbles.

It was such good fun choosing & then washing the sand off in the sea, whilst chanting to the waves. It really felt as if I were unleashing the storytelling child within.

There was plenty of evidence on the beach that other child-like souls had been dancing on the sand here today.

I wrapped up my precious treasure and when we got home, I couldn't wait to draw the symbols onto the stones. I'm not very good at art but it was such fun drawing them all from the chart and then pulling out stones from the bag and listening to them.

I then took photo's of the stones and on the computer put the story words with the image to create an illustration.

This activity is such a lovely thing to do as a grown up but I couldn't help but think how wonderfully educational it would be for a group of children and/ or young people. 

  • Multi Cultural Symbols and Language
  • Storytelling Oracy
  • Literacy Skills
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Information Technology
  • Artistic Expression

But most of all, great fun. So much fun they may never even notice the skills being taught.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Should she tend to the frightened child?

'Hissing and seething, the past hauled itself up from the basement and stood before her. Now facing each other eye to eye as equals, her mind froze. Should she tend to the frightened child that scurried to the centre of her soul for protection, or step into the woman she was bound by destiny to become? Should she turn heels and run to the hills or stand her ground and gift herself the truth? She closed her eyes and called upon her angels.'

I had a real sense today that the book I am writing is the wrong one. A calling from so deep within me, it almost ached. A thin voice calling, longing to be nurtured. My pen is unpicking stitches from war wounds that never healed. An old story, yearning to be told. 

But the question is, how do I know that I am strong enough to tell it?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Creative Business Advice

Tomorrow is my first full day of bookings for my new Creative Business Advice Consultancy: Small Talk Your Big Ideas. 

It has been a huge part of my career to help others within the creative industry to reach their full potential and I was worried that my health would mean that I could no longer do that. 

I opened a Group Page on facebook and offered 3 days based at my home as a trial to see if folk would make bookings ... and guess what ... they did!

My first client of the day is coming for advice with Self Publishing.  

2nd client for advice with Music Management 

... and my 3rd client is coming for a Song Writing Class. 

I am so chuffed to have been able to find a way that I can still help people to realise their dreams even though my health has me home based. 

Sacred Shed

Another wonderful day of writing in my shed. I think the reason why it feels so utterly beautiful is the ceremony I build before even opening my laptop. 

Off course, first I have to clear all the boxes that are stacked up in there, re-arrange the garden table and chair, then I cleanse the space with palo and incense. 

I light sacred candles from special places, offer dried flowers that I have saved from gifts or temple visits. 

I bring the Earth, Air, Fire and Water in with me but there is another element that I think changes everything. It is what Aristotle called The Fifth Element. Quintessence: an energy that flows through us as heavenly bodies. 

Well, sitting in my shed writing to my heart's content certainly feels heavenly to me.

And it dawns on me right there and then, just as joy fills my entire being, that the purpose of being a human, is to be the human I am meant to be.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

We are apple trees

Part of my role as Creative Digital Developer at the Storytelling for Health International Conference is designing a new website for our project: Stories for Change.

Being part of the Stories for Change Resident Storytelling Team is amazing. We really are making a difference to people's lives through training New Storytellers in Health Settings.

One of the things that Storytelling Trainees said that they wanted to see on the new website is a Storytelling Library, so I have been busy making one.

The little video above is my contribution. The film footage is from my residency at an Artist's Retreat in Lower Normandy, France. It is one of my self penned stories from my new book to be published later this year. 

I recorded my story and everyone else's around the table at our team meeting. Hence, A Tableful of Storytellers.

When the website goes live, I can't wait to show you it. Meanwhile, here is a link to the Conference:

Beauty Revealed by Decay

The last few days, during our dog walks to the park, I have found myself very drawn to things that are in a state of decay and yet through this process, have found a new beauty. It inspires me to look through my own cracks and see what is emerging as a result.

When I came to share the photographs on facebook, I responded to them in poetic thought, right there in that moment. The words came very easily and I think this is because there is something about the image that has already spoken to me in its own poetic, during my photographic capture of it; it is why I was drawn to the image in the first place.

Tomorrow, if the weather stays as beautiful as it has been here in West Wales, I am going off to hunt for more 'Beauty revealed by decay' as an experiment with regard to my poetic responses in relation to changing self.

Here is today's ...

CUBES: One step at a time

Quite a big step forward for me today. I have been tending to avoid gatherings due to my hyperacusis. When a large group of people are talking at the same time, it is painful and I can physically feel myself withdraw like a hedgehog when it sees a human.

However, my Audiologist gave me a stern talking to this week and explained that my hyperacusis is due to my brain trying to make sense of my hearing loss. He said that if I keep retreating from sound, my intolerance will get worse and worse. He has seen people with my condition end up 'prisoners in their bedroom' as their sound intolerance gets wider and wider.

He advised the best way for me to re-train my brain is to place myself in the environments that I find hard, for short bursts to start with and then build up.

So, what better opportunity to test his theory then the first meeting of CUBES a new and exciting collective arts project being set up by visionary, Rachel Stelmach in Lampeter.

As an Arts collective, we are now working together with the owner to change a long term empty shop premises into a Shop/Gallery for local artists and crafts people.

I am going to rent a cube for my project Parlour Press Publishing, Books and CD's. Up until now Parlour Press has published community publications, where I have supported folk to write & publish but now I am shifting so that it also embraces my own work. This will sit well with having fully stepped into my life as a writer.

See how the Universe helps you out? 

I was just thinking how I could have a local point of contact and/or sales outlet for my work, and I receive the e-mailout from Rachel inviting me to the meeting.

 had replied that I couldn't come due to my hyperacusis but I thought if anyone is going to be understanding of my needs it will be Rachel, as she is the West Wales Disability Arts Cymru Officer. 

I am so pleased I plucked up the courage to go. She managed the group so well. One person at a time spoke, so I could just about manage to get the gist of what folk were saying. I got to meet lots of new people and friendly like souls, as well as see their work and listen to them enthuse about it.

What a great turn out for a first meeting. Can't wait to see where this journey leads.

Once the meeting had ended and everyone was talking at once, I made a sharp exit. One step at a time. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

When life throws you lemons ...

The other day, I was telling someone about how debilitating my hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis had been in the first 6 months of coming to terms with it. They shrugged and said with a smile, 'Oh well, when life you throws you lemons, make lemonade' 

I have found it a little frustrating, though well meaning, how some people's response to my adversity has been to look immediately on the bright side. It has been a real insight into how positivity can feel a bit empty without empathy.

Having caught life's lemons firmly in my grip, I have reflected upon them and put them in the blender whilst compiling a mental list of  whatever inspires my heart to sing. 

Anyone for lemonade out here in my writing shed where the sun is shining and sweet incense burns wax and wane with scented candle flame? Where I pootle with my pen in the hope of changing the world by the simple act of writing a book in a garden shed.