“Once Upon a Time.”
These words are as familiar as “Hello.” As soon as we hear them, we know we are about to be transported to a different world.
But why is that? Why have these words been so ingrained into our very being?
The Uniqueness of Stories
I’ve always believed one of the most important intrinsic qualities that separate humans from any other living being is our ability to tell stories; to share the mundane, the painful, and the beautiful, in a structured, yet artistically varied manner.
Stories have been passed down from fathers to sons; from mothers to daughters. They inform us of how things used to be—about what our ancestors believed and how they acted.
But stories also do something else. They remind us, that no matter how the landscapes may change, we are all faced with the same issues in the struggle for personhood: issues of love, jealousy, power, and greed, of self-actualization, morality, dignity, doubt, and everything else that makes us so unimportantly significant.
And though we may never answer any of these questions, it’s just as important that they be asked, so that we can continually try to answer them—in writing, in oral tradition, in art—in togetherness. Stories are the threads that connect disparate individuals and make them friends, families, communities and so much more. Moments shared translate into bonds strengthened; both on pages and passed on through words that sow the seeds for new beautiful connections and wondrous possibilities.
There is a reason why in the ancient world, storytellers and orators were regarded as some of the most important people in society. They held the secrets. They shared the knowledge. Between their lips resided legacies and treasons. In their words we found ourselves.
A New Chapter
We have entered a new era of storytelling. Now stories can be shared through virtually any medium.
You can have thousands of powerful digital storytellers in your back pocket waiting to be called upon. You can go on a drive and be captivated by a new thrilling tale seeping through our speakers. And for the more traditional, we can still gather together around the fire and hear stories in their purest form.
But regardless of what technologies will arise, stories are all around us—as they always have been. This fact has compelled me to do what I do now: to be a writer and a story gatherer.
Your Story Matters
I’ve found that so many people in this world are under the impression that their stories don’t matter. That they don’t matter.
I’m looking to change that through a site dedicated to the impact of stories and to fostering positive life inspiration. In doing this, I’ve also started a podcast to showcase the best, most enlivening stories from lesser-known writers. If I am to succeed: I need your stories.
Being a storyteller means walking an unconventional path. But the people who walk it are able to empathize with nearly anyone, anywhere, any-when, who seeks solace in stories. That is power of storytelling. That is the immortality of the writer.
What truths will you weave? What lies will you spin? What story will you write today?
How about you? What do you love about stories?
Think of a really powerful memory (finding your patronus not guaranteed). Got it? Now, imagine that this memory inspired the best story that would ever be told. Where would the focus be? Would you tell it exactly as it happened? What emotions would drive it? Think about these aspects are you craft your epic tale.
Write for fifteen minutes. When you’re time is up read your story aloud. You can read it to yourself or a friend—whatever you’re comfortable with. After reading it aloud, what would you have changed.
Then, share your practice in the comments section. And don’t forget to support your fellow writers; your support is what makes such a wonderful community possible.
Thank you for being the amazing writers you are. If you’d like to submit a great story, I’d love to share it on my podcast “Original Retellings.” Simply go to orastories.com for more information and to listen to the first episode.