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 multilayered, and 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 where the rain comes from.
Thankfully, filmmakers, songwriters, and poets never lost sight of the value of a good story. Interestingly, and notably in the case of popular films, 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.
- And that some archetypal story in J.K. Rowling’s hands got a generation reading again! Harry Potter’s adventures don’t require interpretation, but it too is a “hero’s journey”.
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 recognize 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 allow our stories to be transformative. We can choose the journey. It begins with us.
If you are intrigued, these links may be of further interest:
The developer of the Matrix, Christopher Vogler, describes it in his words:
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
Those archives are available to the public, and many on-line thanks to University College Dublin: http://www.ucd.ie/folklore/en/