In a time when there were no TV’s and when computers did not exist, the most common entertainment was to be found in … words. The Storytellers. Those who brought tears and laughter, sadness and joy. Those who knew that words could make and break. Those who created magic. Those who understood our deepest fears and who explored our inner world of emotions.
Nobody knows when the art of storytelling began. It is very likely that the origins of this irreplaceable and wonderful habit are very close to the moment language – as a form of human manifestation – was created. Storytelling happened publicly, in an opened space, usually the central market of a town or village – as it was the only place that could accommodate such a large audience. To this day, storytelling addresses the masses and it is accessible to them. Think about the all books and magazines that circulate freely and that are now readily available in all sorts of formats, from hard cover printed ones, to pdf and audio formats. Think about movies and plays. Better yet: think about YouTube, with its content creators from all corners of our Planet, each of them telling his or her own story to the world. Or bloggers. Yes, I am proud to say I am a storyteller. I hope to be a good one: each post I strive to get better in mastering the art of words.
There is however a significant difference between the ancient storytellers and the modern ones and it resides in latter’s proximity to its audience, in that nearness to the human being that told the story. In ancient times, people gathered around the storyteller and then the magic began. Nowadays, the storyteller might be thousands of miles away. Still, somehow, magic happens.
The stories are life. Life as it is, as we know it, with ordinary people and ordinary things. Life as it was – with princes, kings and queens, with battles for conquering distant lands, with animals the no longer exist and that, with passing of time, became mythical and began to embody our fears. With heroes that in the end save the day (and the world). They grew larger and stronger than they ever were. Life as it might be, life as an endless roundabout, which could stop at any moment. Life as transformation and life as possibility. Life as chance.
This need for stories, for information, for things to believe in is not new. It has always existed within us. It defined us and it made us who we are today. This need for information made the medieval man seek troubadours in the market places, and what made the troubadours go from town to town in search of different stories. It is from this need of explaining things, of understanding them, of taming them somehow that we grow. I am a mother and I know how powerful a good story is. Kids know it as well: that is why, given the chance, they will ask for a story each night before bad time. Look at their eyes when you read them. Look at their expressions when they are older and they read stories by their own. It is priceless!
The storytellers are not extinct and I hope and pray that they will never die. They know the fairies and monsters that lurk inside us. They still play the game. And we still need them to do their job.
Lots of sunshine to you all!
Near 40 Dana