However bad things get, you’ll ALWAYS have this


It’s a bit of a wonder I survived.


Last Friday evening, I sat in the cavernous hallway of a room that had been built in 1933, underneath a giant gold mosaic, and cried.

I had my three year old nephew on my knee. I kissed him on his head, before shaking mine slowly, not believing what I was hearing. In front me, a lady in her late 70s was cooing and purring into a microphone, the sounds echoing around the great hall. It was so strange. And so moving.

Katy Payne has been listening to whales for 35 years. As part of the Toronto Storytelling Festival, she was sharing some of their songs. Then, she taught them to us.

As we oooooh’d and purrrrred along with her, I whipped my ipod out and took a tiny video. You can see it here – the pigeon sound is my little nephew, slightly behind everyone else. As you can hear at the end of that clip, she stopped singing and started speaking.

In a voice that is still so full of wonder, she explained, “We did that before! What’s happened? The whale is circling around! And he will not stop, for twenty-four hours, he will go round and round!”

The feeling I was having – I’ve had this before.

It’s like I’m solid in the ground and floating, all at the same time.

And – more importantly – it feels like:

If this exists – everything is going to be alright. Whatever else is happening to me or in the world, without need for any resources, we have ways of making each other feel like this. Just with our voices.

This is how I feel when I hear stories being told live.

After spending a week at the storytelling festival, my heart feels like it’s grown about five sizes and almost burst. This was nowhere more apparent than at the special festival version of my live show, True Stories Toronto.

Our two out-of-town guests both knocked me sideways. And the first, Charlotte Blake Alston, told a story about exactly this – how what we think of as our best riches, our best gifts – objects, food – are nothing compared to the things we can give each other with our bodies and our voices:

Closing the show, our other festival guest, Karima Amin, started the show with a fable – a version of the Ant and the Grasshopper, that has a MUCH better ending than the original, and is told in a way that makes you feel amazing from the get-go:

What would I like you to do? I mean, as well as listen to those three above?

TELL STORIES. They don’t have to be epic tales. Just as long as they include detail – what did it look like? How did you feel? – then they’re a little gift for whomever you tell them to.

Thank you so much, both for reading, and for being part of the Yes Yes Family, If you lead me in some mammal’s song, I promise I’d join right in.

Thanks for reading. If you know anyone else – fans of whales, fans of stories that knock you sideways, or of Aesop – it would be lovely if you could share this blog with them, using one of the little round buttons below.

And if you would like help with your stories – that’s literally my favourite thing to do. Yep, even more than singing whale songs. Click here to find out more: or HERE to book a free, no-obligation 15 minute chat with me, so we can see if I have what you need right now.

You rule!

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

PS want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:

Photo credit: Thomas Kelley via 


  • Patty

    Reply Reply April 12, 2017

    I love to tell stories but even if I’m telling it to only a few people suddenly I’ll forget someone’s name or a place that is crucial for the drama! Something I need to work on. I appreciate your comment about your heart growing til it feels like it will burst! Me Too! Thanks for the whale experience.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Thanks, Patty!

      For the forgetting, I prescribe practising stories sometimes, even if that’s muttered under your breath in the car, or out loud to a room at home. I think people often think that you either ‘are’ a natural storyteller or you’re not. Not true! So many great storytellers put time and effort into practising stories, whether consciously or unconsciously.

      Thanks for the lovely words!


  • Carrie Ott

    Reply Reply July 19, 2017

    After my teenage son graduated from high school, he was home sick for months. (He was soon to be diagnosed with Crohns disease.) Our family was sad and stressed and just plain wore out. My son and I were spending a quiet day home, no doctor apppointments. He was working on a project from the twin mattress we’d hauled into the living room so he could be “in bed” without being alone in his room. I had files and bills spread out all over the floor, trying to eek out some semblance of order in the chaos of illness and grief. We got to talking about whales (I have NO idea how we got THERE) and I thought, I bet iTunes has albums! Sure enough. In no time we had whale songs blaring through the stereo. And wow, did it do BOTH our hearts a world of good. It felt as if the whales were expressing the depth of sadness and longing in our hearts. A few hours later, (the whale songs are still playing, mind you) my daughter comes home from work, walks through the front door and stops dead in her tracks. We can see her trying to make sense of what is before her. She looks at me. Then at her brother. Then back at me. “What the HECK is going on in here?!?!” she asks, loud enough to be heard over the whales. My son and I DISSOLVED into laughter. So this post and Katy Payne singing and your little nephew’s voice…it just made my heart really, really glad!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)


      What a BEAUTIFUL story!! Thank you so much for sharing it! This makes my heart SWELL!


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