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Culture

What Makes Me: Lynn Ferguson

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Lynn Ferguson

Writer, comedian, actor and story coach (and self-declared professional show-off) Lynn Ferguson may be best known as ‘the Scottish chicken’, Mac, from Chicken Run, but her varied and award-winning career has seen her go from London’s comedy clubs, to a leading role at the Royal National Theatre.

Her voice is familiar to BBC Radio 4 listeners for, amongst others, the much-loved sit-com Millport. After moving to LA she became a regular storyteller and host for The Moth and also wrote for The Late Late Show as well as being script consultant on the Oscar-winning Pixar film, Brave. This summer she has been at the Fringe in Edinburgh, followed by a tour across Scotland with Storyland (“A joyously funny and thought-provoking show that’s all about realising our own story through those of others”, Sunday Times.)

What Makes Lynn

Happy

Quite simple things. Watching things grow, and I like to see other people and things happy. I think anyone who’s truly unhappy might want to rescue a dog. Rescue a dog and you’ll be alright.

Sad

Injustice. And suffering. I’ve done a lot of narrative work and it’s sad when you see someone stuck in a narrative they can’t get out of. People get an idea about themselves, usually when they’re quite young, like I’m an unlucky person or I’m an angry person but life is a process of change, that’s how we know we’re alive. When I see people stuck in a narrative that makes me sad.

Angry

I guess I do my best not to be angry. Anger burns on me – I’m the one with the indigestion, I’m the one that stops seeing things as good. I feel we live with a lot of fear, and anger is really fear with a crazy hat on. We are being fed a diet of things to be angry and afraid about, so I prefer not to be angry. If something makes me angry I resolve to change my reaction

Reflective

Pretty much everything. If I feel I might want to be angry I’ll be reflective.

Fearful

I say in Storyland that people have three stories that they run in their head in the middle of the night: the things they shouldn’t say; the things they wish they had said; and the story they repeat again and again looking for a different ending. I feel I’ve also got a story where I pick something up and go, oh but what if that happens? Or that happens? I think the more in the present you are, the better. When you go too far into the past it brings sorrow or melancholy and if you go too far into the future it brings fear. So, what brings me fear? Pretty much anything if I decide to let it.

Confident

I don’t know whether what I feel is contentment or confidence. I suppose the only way to get any sense of security in life is to hand over to the idea that you’re not in control of everything. I don’t feel confident that there is a journey that we can all take through life and things will be fine, but I know how to be contented now in a way I never knew before

A Storyteller

Story is all about the truth, or its meant to be. If I tell you what the world looks like from my perspective you can understand where I have been without having to have experienced it yourself. I’m committed to the truth, so I have no choice but to be committed to story. I had a conversation with Heston Blumenthal about this, he believed the beginning of civilisation was when we learned how to cook, and I believe it was when we were able to tell someone we knew how to cook.

Notes From the Valley is Lynn’s weekly newsletter/blog of ‘notes and ramblings’. Subscribe by signing up at lynnfergy.com. On 20 November, a years’ worth of Lynn’s stories will be available to buy in both audio and in print formats. Further, the eagerly anticipated sequel, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget will be out on 15 December.

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