Pray, Love, Remember - the Power of Story
by Kimberley Allen McNamara
Oral story telling - recited folk tales and allegories were the vehicles through which people learned and preserved history, cured diseases, received news (the death of the monarch, the eruption of war) all before the printed page, before the camera. Soothsayers, shamans, minstrels, court jesters, family elders - these were the conveyors of stories handed down from generation to generation. The warnings of “Do Not Talk To Strangers” in Little Red Riding Hood clearly underscored and ever present today as in the days of and before the Brothers Grimm.
Think the oral tradition as lost it’s oomph? Think again. According to Publisher’s Weekly, audiobook sales jumped 22.7% in 2018 and the popularity of podcasts (digital audio file available for downloading, often bundled in a series and easily listened to on a commute to/from work).
And consider too the nationwide story organization of The Moth whose mission statement is:
to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience.
THE COMMONALITY OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE through story-telling! Still present! Capturing and conveying the essence of what it means to be human, to suffer, to struggle, to rise, to succeed, to laugh and to cry, TO BE. This is the power of STORY.
Our blog today launches a new page: Books & Stories that Shape Us These are the books on our Summer Reading Lists, in our TBR piles (craft, pleasure, or inquiry) and Books We Couldn’t Live Without. Some of us own the hard copy, the ebook, and the audio versions of each (I stand accused of such book hoarding).
But how to capture and pin down the majesty of story that seems to course through our veins, swirl in our thoughts? “How to hold a moon beam in your hand” as the song goes? How indeed. Fellow writers: Elizabeth Solar, Nancy Sackheim, Cindy Layton, and Victoria Fortune (all members of GrubStreet Writers)offer these insightful glimpses at words upon the page and the strength of story.
Have you ever thought of the your novel as a musical? May be you should. Elizabeth Solar’s Your Novel: The Musical. illustrates how music has benefits beyond calming the savage beast.
Think your novel is subjected to the scrutiny of DNA test results? Think again - your reading choices may now be limited by what technology deems: worthy. Cindy Layton looks at this futuristic trend in Does Your Book Have DNA? The Technology of Story Telling
If you’re still not convinced about the power of story telling - oral or written then you need to read Nancy Sackheim’s Stories that Resonate Across Genres and Years cue the Bonnie Raitt soundtrack (read it to see why).
Victoria Fortune in her piece entitled One Writer’s Reading List sets forward a worthy library of possibilities to fill that beach tote or back pack.
And then there are the books that save us from despair, those that lift us up, or the ones we want to or need to read over and over. In Seeking Comfort - Books in Lieu of Food? Perhaps, Both? And for the record: the now available Audible.com version of Charming Billy is my current go-to.
Story, it seems, still reigns supreme.