Telling Stories


In her recent book ‘Gossip from the Forest’ looking at how telling stories are one of our earliest cultural forms, Sara Maitland argues that;

“The whole tradition of [oral] story telling is endangered by modern technology. Although telling stories is a very fundamental human attribute, to the extent that psychiatry now often treats ‘narrative loss’- the inability to construct a story of one’s own life – as a loss of identity or ‘personhood,’
it is not natural but an art form — you have to learn to tell stories.

The well-meaning mother is constantly frustrated by the inability of her child to answer questions like ‘What did you do today?’ (to which the answer is usually a muttered ‘nothing’ – but the ‘nothing’ is cover for ‘I don’t know how to tell a good story about it, how to impose a story shape on the events’). To tell stories, you have to hear stories and you have to have an audience to hear the stories you tell.’

*  Maitland’s ideas about storytelling resonates with me. Have you read her work?
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3 thoughts on “Telling Stories”

  1. This makes me smile. Our 20 year old daughter purposely thinks of an interesting happening in her day to share with us each evening. She is a great story teller. Maybe the fact that she has studied psychology has influenced her effort to share her stories. 🙂

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