Some weeks ago, having just returned from summer vacation, I wrote a piece on what I termed ”The Great Narrative”. My point was simply that stories matter, and the stories we choose to tell and the way we choose to tell them matter even more. This goes doubly for the world of today, when the stories we are bombarded with are many times negative, infuriating, saddening or despair-inducing.
We as storytellers have a duty. We have to be part of the nurturing facets of humanity. We need to create stories that lead to the kind of society we would want, for us, for our children and for generations to come.
If all we tell are stories of catastrophes and desperation and atrocities, if all we look for are more clicks and more traffic and more engagement-based-revenue, our road forward becomes increasingly narrow until the narrative of us – i.e. the Great Narrative I talked about earlier – withers and dies in a commodified spasm of anguish.
I’ve talked to some people in the month since I wrote the last post on the Great Narrative, people who’ve approached me with theories and projects and ideas and suggestions, and it all gives me hope. If we can turn the tide, at least to some extent; if we can tell the great stories, the inspiring stories, the stories that make us look up into the sky in wonder… if we can do that, and at the same time, why not employ the same crafts used to enhance the more chaotic stories in the world today and do it combined with engagement strategies and actionable contact points and long tail thinking, then I can start hoping.
I read a great piece on storytelling over at the Daily Beast today, looking at how we employ storytelling throughout our years, and how stories and storytelling can ” give clarity, purpose, and strength to those whom we will one day leave behind”. Yes, indeed – but what stories we do tell, and what consequent impact they have… that is all up to us.