I took this picture from the end of a 17,5 hour train journey to get to Skellefteå for the first ever Storytelling conference in Sweden followed by a marathon. Was it worth it?

The conference was fantastic, loved sharing my stories with such a lively listening audience.

Then you look at the marathon programme from 12 to 21 with hardly room for breath and are suspicious it may suffocate you.
Christina Claesson starts. She has reworked her story since yesterday and decided to tell only in nouns.

What? Can it work? Especially for me can i fathom a story told only in Swedish nouns? She tells the story on 3 levels. She is quite hot, her eyes wide. She is giving a lot. Nouns are pictures and beneath the gallows tree I see Yggdrasil. Wow, it works, I follow all three levels.

When Ida Junker tells you a story you hardly notice she is doing it. Before you know what has happened she has picked you up and taken you on a journey. You are safe. Its a really enjoyable trip, she points out all the interesting details and you got a gift to take home. Because the story is so clearly told you will remember when you retell.

Abbi Patrix was a joy to hear, Roi Gal Or was so moving, but among all the excellent one storyteller stands out for me that day. Jorgen Stenberg. He seems not a storyteller but a man. A pretty large Sami man. Young. He starts by telling of the men who are his sources. They speak like this he says…………………..

He stands there quite silent staring at us intensely. Sometimes after this kind of speaking the old men say to him – “Well? Answer for hells sake!”

He tells an incredible story of his meeting with a bear. How the bear came nearer and nearer so he could reach out and touch it, so he finally decided to follow the old men’s advice. He warns us this is rude. Then he bends down and holds it in the crutch. It works, the bear stops attacking.

He talks about the Swedish language. It’s a crow language and he squawks in Swedish to demonstrate. We look at one another. Can it be this nice good man hates the Swedish language? He goes on, “Yes, you should be like me,” he says, “speak my language it sounds so much nicer, so much better than yours.”
“That’s what they told my grandparents.”
Oh right yes, thats actually what the Samis were told. For so long. Both in Norway and in Sweden. Your language is ugly, stop talking it. We get it.

Then he tells us how he feels sometimes out on the Vidda. Knowing that climate change, mining, our ignorance and trashing of nature means the life with reindeer, in his family for so long, is drawing to a close. He says he feels so bad he can’t say. He has made a joik. To express the unexpressable.

What a day! Thanks to Rose-Marie, Jonas and all who made such a warm and wonderful festival. The train journey was 21 hours but fantastic trees and breakfast at the Grand Hotel, here is the toilet: