We walk in the storytelling footsteps of our ancestors.
We’ve listened to stories under starry canopies and stared into crackling flames and embers since our history began. Storytelling is a way we’ve passed on culture and wisdom, conveyed experience, expressed feelings and generated understanding.
Stories often grow a heartbeat of their own. Their birthing process is mysterious. Magic.
Often one sentence talks to me and I start pushing it around. Like new friendship, it might unfold quickly or have a slower rhythm. Perhaps it fizzles out and doesn’t take shape at all.
We’ve all known stories that stay with us long after the campfire dies or we close a book. The most powerful stories are both unique and universal. The challenges faced and overcome by characters often speak to and inform us about our own.
Alchemy – the power to transform for the better.
Since campfires began, storytelling has offered the possibility of alchemy.
It is said alchemists of old distilled base metals into gold. Heroes in stories do, too. The alchemy is the distillation of challenges from which characters learn, heal and grow.
And in our own everyday lives there is alchemy. Flickering moments where difficulty and struggle start to turn around, perhaps in unexpected or even magical ways.
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Care in storytelling.
Stories can also generate fear, hopelessness, despair and anxiety. I’ve read flash fictions that left me stuck in the emotional violence of the piece. Suffering, trauma and shocking the reader seemed to be the major focus and as I see it, this isn’t healthy or helpful.
I am not suggesting that we don’t write about traumatic events. I’m suggesting that we don’t reinforce trauma by focusing on it disproportionately.
I’m an advocate for transformative storytelling.
Storytelling that supports understanding, resolution, and connection.