What’s the point of storytelling?

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about storytelling and why it’s so important. Not just the big Why? question (as in why do it?) but more, what’s the worth of it, how does it fit into the scheme of things, where would we be without it?

One of the most powerful summaries of what I think is reflected in this comment from Joan Didion who said ““We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” Certainly that sums up the whole point of it, going right back to the days before the printed word. As story-tellers, writers and listeners/readers, we need stories and their embodiment of shared experiences, possibilities and emotions in order for us to be able to make sense of the world outside ourselves. And to be able to deal with that world, on every level.

Another quotation that, as an introvert, really resonates with me is one from novelist John Green: “Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.”

How true. Take away writing and the voices of many would be silenced (though there are plenty of amazing extrovert writers, I’m sure!).


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