I believe in the way storytelling can invite us to imagine lives beyond our own and to question the narratives that have become most familiar to us—to find in that rupture a more complicated truth. (Read more about Leslie Jamison’s work here.)
As storytellers we get the opportunity to step into another person’s shoes and see what they see, feel how they feel, experience things we’d never have access to. We get to learn about all the fascinating things going on right under our noses that we never knew were there. And then we get to bring others along on the adventure and, when done right, inspire them to start exploring for themselves. (Read about Wendy’s journey to illustration here)
We are the stories we tell, as Joyce Carol Oates once wrote. More importantly, we need to tell stories to understand the world. To witness it and make sense of it and to participate in it. Storytelling is news, it is cosmology, it is making form of chaos and asserting our fundamental human instinct to engage with the world — to pay tribute and make it ours by saying, this happened. (Find out more about Freeman’s journey to the living rooms of the most famous authors in the world)
Ever since I realized that my grandmother had a curative story for every illness of the mind and of the body, I have been a believer in the power of storytelling to heal all sorts of things. And as many stories have been coming round and round again, I believe that the same story can mean different things at different times in our lives.
Good storytelling is the only tool that is capable of transcending us into other people’s lives and evoke feelings of empathy in a way that a story can become a live and mind changing experience for us.
I’ve always loved stories—hearing them, telling them—but I’m not sure I could really articulate why. A good story is more than simple entertainment to me. It’s a way to learn something, to feel something, to connect with strangers. The best stories introduce me to a person or a universe that makes me hopeful. I believe that a great story can change how you look at the world and maybe even the world itself. They’re the way we deliver and are delivered.
A story is a world. I am telling worlds with drawings.
Stories are like the best of home. They give numbers and data and pixels and info-bits and random happenings and confusing moments a place to come together, settle in, find their place together, sort out relationships and create communities of meaning. They are where I turn for refuge, understanding, support and, when needed, a good kick in the ass. They are what I count on to be baldly honest without being unkind. Mostly, they help me make sense of things that otherwise wouldn’t make much sense.
Book your place to the 5th edition of The Power of Storytelling to find out more about why stories matter.