Throughout human history, storytellers have been a very important part of most cultures. Before the written word, they were our only link to our ancestry, our current events, and our life lessons. They provided a sense of continuity and connection. These stories allowed people to expand their worldview, even in times when it was much harder to travel. They caused communities to gather together and encouraged communication. To this day (perhaps all the more so because it’s less frequent), when people gather around the campfire and tell stories, it’s a special and exciting experience.
Nowadays we tend to separate ourselves from each other by plunging into the vastness of cyberspace. Yes, we can get information that way, but something is missing. It takes a storyteller to add humanity to the tale. Body language and facial expression and tone add so much to the narrative. And audience reaction does a great deal to bolster the accounting.
As more of us feel the lack of that storytelling experience, more and more local groups are being formed so that we may come together and share our stories with one another. I am a part of one such group, Fresh Ground Stories, here in Seattle. I look forward to this gathering every month.
The beauty of a storytelling group is you never know what people are going to share, or who is going to speak. It’s very exciting. And if you keep coming back, you make more and more friends and learn so much about them that you wouldn’t in any other forum. Some people desperately need to tell their story, and getting the support of the audience can be life changing. It can give you an enormous boost in confidence. The feedback from the crowd afterward often becomes every bit as important as the recounting of your life experience.
Take the time to thank and encourage the storytellers in your life. Let them know you appreciate all that they have to teach and share with you. This is a tradition that should be nurtured by all of us, for the greater good.