Playing Footsie in Kilkenny Library Service

Kilkenny County Library

Susie Minto, storyteller and creative writing facilitator, paid a visit to Castlecomer Library

Susie Minto, professional storyteller and creative writing facilitator, paid a visit to Castlecomer library recently. The theme for the afternoon workshop was shoes under the title ”Sole to Soul”.

All the participants brought a pair of shoes and told the group why they choose to bring these particular ones. Shoes on hand were from 20 year old walking shoes to purple flowered stilettoes with 5 inch heels, to tartan covered loafers bought in Scotland.

Stories ranged over wearing open toes from March to October, line dancing, missing a wedding due to the Ash Cloud and a first visit to a future mother-in-law which faltered on the comment “wear a pair of sensible shoes or she will think you do not know how to do anything” A new term was coined “aspirational shoes” ie elegance with comfort. I wonder is it possible?

The workshop lasted for 2 hours and sharing the stories was followed by Susie providing the group with an imaginative scenario and the participants writing a short piece triggered by this. It was referred to as “new born writing” and was shared with the group in this way – only positive comments on the “new born”.

Susie was also in Graiguenamanagh with the same workshop. Stories here ranged from the funny to the poignant. One young woman regretted that she could no longer wear high heels due to an accident. One woman wore a particular pair of shoes at milestones in her life – her mother’s funeral, her retirement from work.

From the shoes came a great story from long ago about fraochans.(bilberries). The boy picked the fraochans and presented them to the girl of his dreams as an invitation to “walk out with him”. If the girl accepted she baked him a cake containing the fraochans.

References to large size men’s shoes as “canal barges” were very apt for this region. There were stories of going to school barefooted, of dance hall days in Borris and memories of foreign holidays in the “holiday” shoes.

Before the morning was over, one man wanted to test the dancing qualities of one participant’s shoes and the library manager obliged, dancing a waltz around the library. There’s no end to the services provided by Kilkenny Library Service!

Susie Minto is an excellent facilitator. She created a comfortable relaxed atmosphere in which people were willing to share their stories.   Sad stories were respected and funny stories were enjoyed, each story originated   from a pair shoes. This event was part of the Bealtaine Festival in KLS.

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