Stories Linger

The beauty of the stories we tell… they carry the hints of voices beyond our own. And maybe, just maybe, the story we craft might linger beyond our own retelling.

Harry Potter's Forgotten Predecessor: 25 years ago, Neil Gaiman introduced another bespectacled teen boy with a magical destiny.

An unassuming English kid with glasses obtains a pet owl, and takes up his preordained destiny to enter a secret world of magic hidden in plain sight—brought to you by one of the world's most successful fantasy authors. That thumbnail summary of course describes Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling's hit series first published in 1997, which is still a massive pop-culture phenomenon today. But the description also fits The Books of Magic, a DC Comics miniseries published 25 years ago this month by Neil Gaiman. Though largely forgotten, the series foretold much of pop-culture's current (and seemingly insatiable) appetite for the superhero and fantasy genres.

Andy Smithyman
Collaborative Creativity.

‘Creativity is a collaboration between artist and audience.’

A thought-provoking statement.

It teaches me not to become that ‘creative peacock’, strutting around as though what I have formed is a wonder to behold.

Anything created has within its creation the marks of the past, present and future; because what I see is not formed from just my eyes.

Paradox is a book with page 413 stating ‘the end.’

And yet, as this Paradox Sketches Tour continues, I am learning to appreciate the extra words forming beyond the cover.

But even then, it’s very easy to think of creation as a physical product. This journey is teaching me that this story is more than a book. And I’m not the one writing it.

Yes, creativity is a collaboration between artist and audience. But creativity also lets us into an ancient wisdom - it's often hard to distinguish between artist and audience. And rightly so.

Golden Rule in Storytelling

Golden rule in storytelling for organisations and communities? Possibly. I like to believe the hero's journey isn’t formulaic, but there are rules (aka Joseph Campbell & Aristotle) … laws to the game. One of them being that the identity of the ‘real hero’ may surprise you.

Andy Smithyman
Five reasons why I love this 7-minute video about a Wasabi farmer.
  • Reason One: a thought process about generations, not just the immediate.
  • Reason Two: the beauty of patience in a world that often demands speed.
  • Reason Three: the richness that comes from the pursuit of a craft.
  • Reason Four: a desire to find out more. For example, I didn’t know that 99% of the wasabi consumed in the world is not actually wasabi — it’s horseradish + green food colouring. Real wasabi is difficult to grow.
  • Reason Five: authenticity.
Andy Smithyman
Ipswich Calling


I’m doing the final prep’ for the next Paradox Sketches event. Ipswich is calling tonight.

Sketches is in its third month, and I'm still learning the ropes. Each event is different. On purpose. Trying new ‘lines.’ Adjusting each section; seeing what works or needs a little more attention.

But one thing has not altered.

This tour has been one of the most affirming spaces I’ve occupied. Not because of sales or reviews, but the awareness that this Dickensian narrative really does connect to the present.

For those who haven’t heard my ‘dulcet tones?’ Or dared venture into my ‘imagination on the page.’ My Paradox book (and tour) is suggesting that the Dickensian landscape of poverty and social injustice is still around today... just with a different language. At face value, you could think it’s a fully negative statement. But Dickens had a twist with his observations. His deliberate ‘pounding of the streets’ (where he placed himself in situations that forced him to observe what was happening around) turned his gaze to another side of that injustice.

The response.

And reimagination.

I’m not going to give away any more of that twist... I still want to sell the book and do the tour!


ps: if you want to host one of these events just let me know. Email me or connect through my website.

The Swirl Film Premiere Date


The date and location is set: May 18th in Brighton & Hove for the Swirl Day and Film Premiere.

There will be maker workshops from videographers and photographers on the beach and in the hills during the day, a veggie bowl dinner and the main event - the Swirl Film Premiere. 

Tickets for the premiere is now live - £10 for evening premiere or £20 for whole day including lunch and dinner!

In a totally, unapologetic biased opinion, George Holliday has done an awesome job on the film (search him out on Insta and YTube). Tom Copson gets to serenade you and Dave Erasmus is not looking too bad in the film as well. For added bonus, you occasionally get hear the dulcet tones of yours truly rambling on about ‘who knows what?’


Once upon a time these travelling dreamers somehow found themselves walking the same path. Over the next five, ten, fifteen and twenty years, they lent into the whispers of adventure, exploring landscapes beyond imagination. They laughed and cried, celebrated and mourned. Occasionally fell out. But they never stopped dreaming. And they never stopped watching each other’s back. 

But as with all tales, there is a time when stories need to end. This week marked the moment when this ragamuffin group said their goodbyes. 

Endings are important. 

How else can a sequel and spin-off occur?

Andy Smithyman
Dear Detroit

Dear Detroit, it’s been an adventure into a wonderland of imagination and creativity. A ‘curiouser and curiouser’ adventure of planting trees, hanging out with friends in derelict homes, and... visiting a tiger. Thank you for turning the page on a new chapter and revealing the magic of the unknown.


Andy Smithyman