|Abu Shady the last professional hakawati|
or traditional storyteller in Syria
As the Anglo-Saxons knew, poetry helped people recite stories - through rhythm and alliteration, or rhyme. Movements and gesture, dance and other arts have all been used to convey the memory and wisdom of tribes through narrative. Engaging deeply with stories avoids the risk of that wisdom becoming trite, of becoming a stream of sound-bites only fit for tacky 'inspirational' posters. It is the shared going-through that embeds the sentiment in us - and the learning.
|Kathak dancer - 'that which tells a story, that is 'Kathak'|
A burnt hand teaches best...
it is said, yet when we truly live through a story, we share the learning without the worst of any pain or scarring. Storytellers, whether through words or pictures or both, invite their tribe to involve themselves in the drama. For our readers or viewers, gamers or listeners, the story must engage before any experience can happen. We owe it to them to use as much skill and honesty as we can. Otherwise, why bother? How else can we earn our place beside the hearth?
|'Fireside' by Joseph Henry_Sharp, c.1900 |
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
You may wish to keep this exercise private - even so , I promise you that the emotions you evoke will strengthen your creativity.
Think back to something you learned the hard way.
What were your hopes - and what were your fears? What drove you to that point? Recall as many sounds and smells as you can. What about the time of day, the weather? Can you remember anything you touched or tasted?
Tell that story back to yourself in whatever way you find best. You might like to use a different persona if it's a really painful memory - or change one significant detail to take some of the sting out of it. The important thing is the emotional sequence of that story - and its resolution in something learned.