The Importance of Storytelling

Of all the things that humanity has created, I honestly think that storytelling is the most important.  Everything has grown out of storytelling or has integrated itself into storytelling.  From the beginning of time, before the concept of a written language, stories were told.  Mythologies were formed.  Humanity needed to understand what life was, so they told stories.

Out of their stories grew religion, and eventually science – the seeds were planted many thousands of years ago when someone decided to explain why.

I think I owe a lot of my academic success to storytelling.  All throughout elementary, middle, and high school, I had a great knack for remembering what I heard.  I was trained very early on to pay attention to what people told me.  As far back as I can remember, after dinner would be the time when I was taken on my grandfather’s knee and dazzled.  I couldn’t get enough – I could hear the same story over and over again.  And I did.

Books – an extension of the oral tradition – have always been sacred objects in my vicinity (though mine have certainly been through all kinds of hell; they’re well-loved!).  I used to memorize stories that my mother would read to me because I wanted to learn so badly how to read for myself.

And after reading, the next, natural step was wanting to be able to write.  I had so many ideas, so much imagination – I wanted to tell stories.  When I first got to college, I fully intended to go into creative writing and become a novelist.  While studying creative writing didn’t actually end up happening, I’ve never stopped writing for myself – journaling, blogging, occasionally writing some fiction.

My Div III is an extension, then, of my desire to tell stories.  I want to touch people, inspire them, give them food for thought.  I realize that those are often lofty goals, especially for one’s first attempt at a project.  But growing up reading and listening and creating has instilled in me a desire to follow in the footsteps of the people I respect – family, friends, and those more famous.

I owe a lot to my childhood experiences.  Family life wasn’t always perfect in some regards, but God was I lucky.  I was trained – somewhat unintentionally, I think – to love creation and everything it facilitates.  I was enamored with the human condition before I knew what that even was – and it obsesses me.  Mankind is extraordinary in so many ways, not least of which being the tools it creates, both physical and figurative, in order to make sense of what it’s going through.

All this world – and it all comes down to some stories.


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