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Storytelling…What it Helps to Know

June 13, 2012

Kevin Kling came into his own as a storyteller when while in college he realised, “Saturday night was only as good as the story you could tell about it on Sunday”.

Stories are the way in which we share the full measure of our experience.

The onus is on the listener to ‘take what you like and leave the rest’. Carefully chosen words unconsciously deliver a full message. Just how full becomes apparent not only in the first telling, but when compared to subsequent retellings.

We in the West let go of the gift of storytelling in the last half of the twentieth century. Arguably, in large part because we devoted ourselves to science. Science, we believed, would reveal explanations for everything “unexplainable”. We no longer needed to spin yarns for children about things like what the noise of thunder was or from whence the rain comes.

Filmmakers, songwriters and poets never lost sight of the value of a good story. Interestingly, and most notably in the case of film, consciously or not, they kept retelling the old stories.

  • If I said that StarWars was the Jesus story redux, a few might agree, some would deem me blasphemous, others just dismiss me.
  • If I argued that the Matrix was like the Abraham story, perhaps the same result. It doesn’t really matter, the telling of a story is enough.
  • J.K. Rowling got a generation reading again!  Harry Potter’s adventures don’t require interpretation, but it too is a “hero’s journey”.

Monomyth is a term academics use to describe one story common to the mythology of all cultures– the Hero’s Journey. The visual says it all:

Our task is to further explore how this universal story can inform our own. How we can grasp the significance of it in order to recognise a call to action in our own lives. There are heroes among us.  You are invited to explore your own story.

We live in challenging times. We can choose to despair, or to allow your stories to be transformative. You can choose the journey. It begins with you.

 

 

If you are intrigued, these links may be of further interest:

The developer of the Matrix, Christopher Vogler, describes it in his words http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73c36lzbyNw

A lovely comparison of the myths of different cultures and life stages can be found at: http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00212/monomyth.html

Our own history on this island was well preserved by the efforts of the Irish Folklore Commission: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Folklore_Commission

The archives are available to the public, and many on-line thanks to University College Dublin: http://www.ucd.ie/folklore/en/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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