It’s National Tell a Story day and though that may feel like an artificial construct does that really matter? Isn’t every day a great day to tell or hear a story? Stories are the magical fairy dust in our lives, they’re a mystical golden chain that threads through who we are, everything we’ve done and the adventures that we’ve been on. They capture our imagination and our hearts and that’s why they’re so powerful.
Storytelling is a fundamental human activity. We create and share stories with each other every day. We carry our own story inside us and can reach in and share an excerpt at any time. The story we carry with us shapes the decisions we make, or don’t make and the path that we choose.
Stories provide a shared narrative for us too, as a community, whatever that community might be. The common folklore that describes and defines our culture and identity.
The art of a good story is that it reaches us emotionally, it makes us think and then take action. The measure is that it’s one that people want to be part of, even if that’s only to share it. The art of oral history might not be as formalised or revered as it once was but our natural human instinct to share will always prevail. We’re all creators. And increasingly we’re all curators. Whether deliberately or instinctively, we read, watch, see and absorb content and we pass it on. We retweet, we share, we copy links into email and text messages. We find things that will touch the hearts of our friends, we see photos that will make our family smile, we see photos that remind us of the people we love and we hit send.
Many times I’ve heard people bemoan social media as being the death of communication, toxic to conversation, a dark, deadly negative place. It doesn’t have to be. It can be a place for our stories to spread their wings and fly.