Thoughts along the path . . .
Do you like hearing or reading a good story? Almost everyone will answer this question with “yes.” So my next question to you is: Do you know how to tell a good story? Hmmm…that’s maybe not a “yes.”
Even as we admit how difficult storytelling can be, somehow we know that stories are significant. Famed Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho went so far as to say: “If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories.”
Anthropologists tell us that warriors weren’t the only ones honoured for their storytelling. Cave drawings indicate that storytellers were given the seat closest to the fire, as others gathered around them to hear. The situation was pretty much the same with troubadours of Europe centuries ago; and in our own times we can see the similarity with folk singers and even rappers.
The reason seems to be that stories do more than entertain—they also educate and offer warnings. That being the case, the human brain gradually evolved to be “hard-wired” for stories. So we see that through stories people connect intellectually as well as emotionally.
Like most people, I am drawn to a well-told story, whether through film, stage, lyrics, books, or even a joke. Curious to learn more about this, I have studied storytelling from the standpoint of literature, neuroscience, anthropology, education, and other angles. And because it’s fun to share what I’ve been learning, I will be offering here in Ayr a 30 min. presentation about how to connect with others through storytelling.
The venue for this will be the next Unity Café hosted by the Baha’is of North Dumfries. This will be the third in the on-going series devoted to “connecting mind, body, and spirit.” I hope that some of you will join us that evening for hands-on practice with storytelling, refreshments, and plenty of time for relaxing and uplifting conversation.
I can’t promise that by the end of the evening any of us will be ready to “change the world.” On the other hand, you just might. And if anyone reading this is a storyteller (or writer), please join us and share your own practical advice. In the words of Flannery O’Connor, one of the great writers of the 20th century, “I find that most people know what a story is until they sit down to write one.” So we will learn together.
Submitted to Ayr News by Jaellayna Palmer January 2019
© Jaellayna Palmer, 2019