My very small circle of friends rarely gets together anymore these days. When we do, though, we inevitably do one thing: we tell stories. We usually start with current events and catch ups – what’s been going on with everyone present, and then with everyone absent. This leads to all sorts of meandering tales, whether it be asides from the current story, or tangential offshoots from something someone read, a movie that was seen, or a tale from our shared history that’s recalled.
That’s the one thing that in-person tale-telling has over a book or movie. It never gets old, and each person involved in the story has a different spin on it. The delivery is different, the language used is different, and often, the memories are different so all kinds of hijinks with the facts can ensue. The written word is powerful, but its ability to express the personality of the author is limited to the writing style. When a person tells a story, the sound of her voice, the expression on her face, the speech patterns and the physical gestures all contribute to convey the story in a unique way. Many of us can recall a fun storytelling session at night, around a campfire. Spooky stories are enhanced by the place and the mood of that venue. Can you imagine a story told about people drunk, high or both, related by someone drunk, high or both? I don’t have to, I’ve been there. That’s what makes storytelling fun. It’s a human thing, oral tradition. It connects people, creates and strengthens bonds, and reinforces our shared existence.
Go tell someone a story today.