Friday the 13th April 2012, the Eve of the Centenary of that greatest of all sea stories, the sinking of the RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage. Master Storyteller, Tom Ware, held an audience of 154 spellbound for a good forty-five minutes as he related the story of that ship's short history.
The guests attending made the most of it, many dressing up for the part in 1912 outfits. Yes, there was a Captain Edward J Smith along. And it became quite difficult to figure out just who was who among the First Class passengers. Very few,it seemed, decided to come along as poor emigrants. Well, that's make believe for you.
Welcome to Storytelling Heart to Heart (by Master Storyteller, Tom Ware)
What does it take to become a Master Storyteller? Is it life experience? Is it travel? Vocation? Jobs he or she has held? Or maybe hobbies? Perhaps it stems from personal relationships, lovers, wives, husbands –family. Is it in the genes? Or does it come from some peculiar sensitivity?
Certainly experience comes into it. But what sorts of experiences? We know that a storyteller is required to have a good imagination. Does this mean that the stories are all made up – or even for the most part - made up? Surely not, for most riveting stories are based on real life events.
We know, of course, that even real life events can become distorted; exaggerated, compromised to the extent they don’t tell what actually happened at all. Take for example the stories that emanated from the New York Press in 1912 after the foundering of the RMS Titanic. Those reports are still being corrected. A friend gave me a book titled, ‘101 Things You Thought You Knew About the Titanic But Never Did.’
Storytelling Heart to Heart
Now, as a man who’s seen three Titanic films, read a good half-dozen books on the subject, I thought I knew the situation pretty well. But I didn’t. I’ve been telling this story orally to audiences for years and now find that quite a few of what I thought were factual events did not occur that way at all. But back to stories on real life events.
Did you know that before the advent of literature, before of the printing press and written history, just about the most important person in any tribe or clan other than the chief himself was the Official Storyteller. Yes, the man who told the stories. Why? Because it was he who carried the knowledge of the tribe or clan down. He was relied upon to carry it on for posterity. With no printed words, no records other than drawings or finger-painting, the spoken word relayed on to others was the only way a tribe’s history could be passed down.
I remember once being introduced to a particular story teller. He was a Scot. He appeared at our guild meeting in full Scottish regalia: kilt, cloak and sporum et cetera. This man told us that in his clan, the man who told the stories about the tribe was regarded as the ‘third top’ clansman. Such a person was expected to know at least 300 different yarns about the clan.
Storytelling Heart to Heart
It is only natural that many of those stories were embellished a little – and often a lot – so that by the time a few generations had passed the actual truth of what had happened had long ago been left far behind.
So what makes for a masterful storyteller? There has to be knowledge and a lot of it. It needs to be broad, wide-ranging. This comes from a number of sources: wide subject reading, listening, watching, looking at film and television. Such a man or woman has generally had access to good teachers, mentors, who have filled their imagination with pictures of adventure and daring do. These teachers have inspired their progenies, motivated them to the point where they now want to tell of how they feel about things.
What else is required? What else goes into the crucible of the master storyteller?
The gift for reading often becomes a desire to write. The desire to write is augmented by a desire to tell tales, to tell stories orally. A lot of reading and writing has probably developed the master storyteller’s vocabulary. He or she has at their disposal an array of colorful words and expressions. Such tend to keep away from the humdrum, commonplace, hackneyed expressions used by the many. Alliteration falls readily to them. Often they’ve been both short story and poetry readers – and writers!
Storytelling Heart to Heart
Another aspect of the man or woman who can tell a great story is showmanship. They have mastered the pregnant pause. They know how to use their voice. They have not only vocal variety but, often as not, know how to place themselves and to move around in front of their audience. They may have never been on a stage in their life as an actor, yet people will say to them, “Have you ever done any acting?” Just as often as not such are able to imitate various speaking types: the Scot, the Irishman, the Cockney. But these are all embellishments. They are not the main quality.
The greatest and most important of all the qualities a Master of Story possesses is understanding: self understanding. For when a person understands his or herself to a fairly deep degree, then they understand others. The storyteller becomes a teacher. There is a lot of emotion and empathy towards the world at large and to people in particular. These types of storytellers speak from the heart; they are heart to heart people. Listeners do not respond to homilies and slogans so much as to stories which catch at their heartstrings.
Such is the master storyteller. They were once the many. Now they are so few. Maybe it is about time that others rose to the challenge for, with the infinite burgeoning of impersonal technology, this great art might die out and, along with it something very important to our humanity - Creative Imagination.
The Raconteur is a ‘teach yourself’ book. It describes how one can
become an oral storyteller or ‘raconteur.’ Closely akin to public
speaking, it is something which almost anyone can develop as a skill,
providing they are willing to put in the time.
In the world of professional speaking there is a great deal of
emphasis placed on ‘telling stories’ to make one’s point. However,
there is very little literature on how to go about this. In The Raconteur
the author describes how to find material, how to put it together, and how to
The Raconteur has been written by a Toastmaster for Storytellers.
It is the writer’s sincere wish that by familiarising yourself with storytelling
knowledge and techniques, your presentations will become even more interesting,
moving, and effective.
Meet the StorytellerIf the essence of a masterful storyteller is to have plenty of life experiences from which to draw stories, then Tom Ware fits the bill. He has led a colourful and adventurous life and, since his first involvement in speaking to audiences in 1972, has told his stories to appreciative audiences numbering well over 38,000 people.
Born in London in 1936, Tom lived through the horrors of Hitler's 'Blitzkreig.' He travelled to Australia in 1951, one of the millions of ten-pound Stirling migrants, and began work the day after his fifteenth birthday as a telegram messenger boy.
At eighteen Tom enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy, serving on the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney, as well as on a white-painted survey frigate, HMAS Barcoo and two small boom defence vessels, the Kookaburra and the Kimbla.
In 1960 he joined the Department of Civil Aviation as an air-ground radio operator (akin to air-traffic control) and served at Sydney, and Dubbo Airports, and later at Madang and Port Moresby in Papua-New Guinea. Now married eleven years, in 1971 Tom migrated with his wife and three small children to New Zealand. It was in this country that Tom joined his first public speaking organizaiton, the Takapuna Toastmasters Club. This proved to be a momentous step.
In late 1973 Tom and his family returned to Australia where began a tumultuous but experientially-rich period of many jobs These included truck driver, foundry labourer, clerk, laboratory assistant and radio operator with the NSW Police Department. However, in 1976-77 Tom was able to fulfill a life-long dream as he took up a position with the Australian Department of Science as an Antarctic expeditioner. Originally allocated to Mawson Base, he was offered an earlier posting to MacQuarie. He sailed on the Nella Dan to spend a year on remote MacQuarie Island.
At the age of almost forty-two, Tom says he realized that it was time to settle down. Two short term jobs, the first with the Australian Post Office, the latter with the Overseas Telegraph Office, he finally took a job with the Australian Taxation Office and, he avers, managed to avoid actually doing any straight income tax work for the next seventeen years! It was during this time that he began to hone his skills as a writer and speaker.
In 1967-68 he wrote his first novel, Searchtime Expired, and since then he's written two other novels, half-a-dozen works of non-fiction, scores of short stories, hundreds of essays and heaps of poems- even some song lyrics. Additionally, he's written his autobiography and three film scripts.*
Tom has been a member of ten different speaking clubs including Toastmasters International, Rostrum Clubs of NSW, the National Speakers Association of Australia, and the Australian Storytellers Guild
Tom has been married for over fifty years, has three grown up children and four grandchildren.
He knows that all people love a good story. With a life full of experiences behind him, and most of his 'emotional debts' worked through, Tom uses his increasing sense of inner peace and harmony to tell stories which truly touch the listener.
*A list of some of his works can be seen under Tom's Books.
Tom and Dr. YKK met in 2008 whilst attending a Toastmaster meeting in Sydney, Australia. They discovered that they shared many common interests: spirituality, creative writing, public speaking and - happiness. A mutually shared philosophy of 'spreading happiness' appealed to them both, hence the idea for this book speedily taking root. Both of them were already acccomplished writers and speakers so 'Who Stole Your Happiness?" is a natural progression.
This book was written in 2009.
The Sealers is a work of fiction I wrote in the early 1980s. Historical events and persons are mentioned, but these are of minor significance to the story and are used only to lend authenticity. Certainly the island of MacQuarie was discovered - as far as modern Australia is concerned - during the governorship of the man after whom it is named. Certainly the sealers slaughtered the island's wildlife. Just as certainly, sealing gangs contributed heavily towards the extermination of Tasmania's Aboriginals. But the MacCullochs, Stark, Moodie, and their ships, their families, and their employees are all figments of the author's imagination.
Sailorboy Blue was written during my year down on MacQuarie Island 1976-77. It is a work of fiction and deals with the amorous adventures of a young man who joinsthe Navy to 'see the girls.' Set in the 1950s, it parallels to some extent the author's own adventures at the time.
Sailorboy Blue is dedicated to the sailors of the Royal Australian Navy, and to those who have loved them and continue to love them.
Arthur Thomas (Tom) Ware got into Automatic Writing gradually. Unlike Neale Donald Walsch, he did not arrive full blown at the level where he could converse with the highest of spiritual entities - what Walsch calls God. Rather, he started with the mundane and gradually improved the quality of what he was to receive over a period of many years.
Tom commenced Ghost Guidance in 1972. In those days there was little acceptance of this sort of communication. Indeed, if one wasn't careful, one could find oneself placed in a mental institution. Even the universities, on the whole, were afraid to tackle this sort of para-psychology. However, Tom perservered for over forty years.
This book is remarkable for the multiplicity of contacting entities. In it, Tom has recorded messages from a psychiatrist, medical researcher, industrialist, a number of writers, an actor, even a mechanical engineer, as well as a number of philosophers to mention a few. All of these have been anxious to provide us with what they regard as knowledge not commonly known to us on our earth plane at the time of their writing (late 1960s to early 1970s)
“Searchtime Expired - an exposition
Searchtime Expired is a work of fiction set against a background of aviation in Papua-New Guinea in the 1960s. Its chief characters are McNab, a thirty-year-old air-traffic controller who is extremely dissatisfied with his lot and, Betty, the young innocent who is hopelessly in love with him. The subplot deals with the smuggling of prohibited exports and imports: Australian fauna (birds) and narcotics respectively. In the subplot I have used “dialogue only” both to advance the story and to reveal these secondary characters. It is a work which can equally be called an “adventure,” a “romance,” or as the late and famous Graeme Green used to refer to some of his stories: “an entertainment.”
It was written in 1968. I hope you like it.
An autobiography never tells the truth. The author can try. But the facts are that his memories are subjective. They are also coloured by time. A writer of his own biography remembers the events as seen through the bias, prejudice, the foolishness and wisdom of his ego at the time in which he writes. He does not write about the past as it was. He writes about it as he remembers it. He remembers with nostalgia. His aversions and cravings about how things once were depend upon the feelings which are in his make up at time of writing. If he were to have written his story earlier, or later in life, it could have been presented in a different way.
A biographer, that is, a “third person,” can get get closer to the objective truth- but only of external events; of the actual physical things which happened. But he is on the outside. He cannot know the thoughts and feelings which have gone on within the human being of whom he writes. He can only guess at them. So a book of this nature, whether written by the story’s central figure, or by another who is viewing that person’s story in “third person,” is always a compromise between what really was and how it is interpreted and recorded in print. This is the First Part of the inaccuracy which makes for misunderstanding.
The Second Part of misunderstanding is the usual semantic one. The words the author uses are never interpreted exactly by the reader as they were meant to be when encoded verbally by the writer. My “dog” might be a black-and-brown German Shepherd, one reader’s might be a grey Airedale, whilst a second reader’s might be a white Miniature Poodle. Words are not precise instruments. Unlike the tools of mathematics which are interpreted exactly the same way by everyone around the world, even the most mundane nouns are “envisualised” slightly differently in every human mind. I mention all of this in order to make it clear that no matter how hard any one tries to bring his truth to another, he cannot do so with one hundred-percent exactitude. Our truth is an individual experience. Moreover, it changes as we change. We can only do our best to make it as clear as possible to our reader by being as descriptive as possible.
As the biographer of my own life story I was hard pressed for a title. But I am a strong believer in a totally planned universe. I don’t believe in chance. As Albert Einstein said, “God does not play dice with the universe,” and I am convinced of this. Everything which happens, does so because it was meant to. This does not preclude free will. Free will is included within the greater scheme of things. But I won’t go further into this in this introduction. I called the work, “Tom’s Karma” for obvious reasons. But at time of writing it seems that most of the “bad” aspects of this karma are behind me. I believe I have served my life purpose to this point. That is, I have worked through most of those emotional debts. Today an increasing sense of inner peace and harmony prevails. But to see how I got to this point in my emotional and mental life the reader will need to read my story. I hope you find it interesting.