I spent my childhood obsessed with stories, learning fierce lessons from Tolstoy and the Neverending Story alike. They forced me to grapple with questions about human nature: how are we similar? Why are we different? Why do we suffer and also find such delight in the world?
Taking this path led to the science of psychology and memory. I studied how folk songs can carry and mutate meaning, and wrote a PhD about how we organise reality around mental landmarks, especially those found in our own personal narratives.
When I was done, I was done with research for quite a while, so I joined a consultancy to put my psychological training to work in real-world situations. Some clients looked to me to help them understand and express what their organisations are about. Others were looking to understand their own stories, in the hope of having a bigger role in how they turned out.
Meanwhile, that joy of made-up stuff had never left me, and I decided to try out improvisational theatre: making stuff up live on stage. Soon I had made this a large part of my life; with the stage and the rehearsal room are a second home.
That's my history. Currently I am making a turn towards mental health care, working within the NHS in a therapeutic capacity. But I still see things in terms of these two perspectives.
One is mythical, where characters, stories and moments are conjured from seemingly nowhere.
One is logical, where awareness and appraisal help us find better descriptions of how things are.
I can testify to the benefit of this ancient Greek approach, where mythos and logos are two parts of an inseparable whole. When I honour both, I come alive. My best work comes through a union of playful instincts and an analytical eye.
And that balanced way of seeing is often the biggest gift I can give, before we even get to the story. Because, it turns out, when we're fully seeing things… we find the story was there, all along.