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Anne Smythe and Mummers

Anne Smythe 1951- 1998

A friend is gone. A bright light in the starry sky of Canadian storytelling has dimmed and we are the richer for having shared some time together. Anne Smythe passed away in November and we miss

I moved to Toronto from Montreal ten years ago coming down that that long stretch of 401 for a number of reasons, one of them being that I knew there was a unique community of storytellers here. "Storytellers, for heaven's sake! Can you imagine that," I thought. I sought out the 1,001 Friday Nights as soon as I could and began meeting many of the wonderful people who have become my close friends and valued colleagues. Anne Smythe was one of the first people I met. I think we immediately recognized that we shared an interest in the powerful patterns that move through the belyingly simple folktales as well as the powerful myths that we each told.

Anne often asked my opinion of a certain motif, pattern or name in a story. She knew how much I loved research and that I shared an affmity for the types of stories that she was exploring. I recall a few }'ears ago when she told me of her plan to organize and promote a course/workshop for women and storytelling called "Women on the Verge of Storytelling". She was nervous and excited all at once. I encouraged Anne to "go for it" and I know that she was pleasantly surprised at her success.

Many years ago I saw a marvelous film by Peter Brook called Meetings Wjth Remarkable Men about the life of the mystic and scholar Gurdjieff. As the years of my life have unfolded I have come to notice that my life has been and continues to be populated with "remarkable women" and I've sometimes felt that I could write a book called "Meetings with Remarkable Women"; unfortunately someone beat me to it (there is such a book about Buddhist women). Nonetheless my life is populated with remarkable women. Anne was one such.

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Chris Cavanagh

Appleseed Quarterly Spring 1999 Vol 9:1