Why Do We Tell Stories?

BlogHer Original Post

I was word hungry. I needed something to scratch a brain cell. It took a few hours but the term narrative discourse finally arrived for exploration. That began my journey.

The narrative is how you tell the story; linear, non-linear, verbal, pictorial. It also includes the grammatical construction. My understanding of discourse is the methods used to tell the construct the tale. The story is the final product.

Maybe that is the problem. There are marketers, politicians, religious organizations and all manner of thought shakers trying to figure out the narrative that will help them extract money or attention.

We tend to embrace the familiar tales because they are safe. The need for the story is real. I’m worried that it is going to be reduced to 140 characters at a time. Sound bites that offer bits and pieces of other lives. What if you need more?

These are a few examples of the alternative paths non-fiction stories can be told. I’m not the only person that is thinking about this topic. Kathy Hansen at A Storied Career writes about the various forms of storytelling. If you have an interest in storytelling make sure you download a copy of her free e-book, A Storied Career: 40 Storied Practitioners Talk About Applied Storytelling.

I Am Here. Do You See Me?

There can be a survival need to tell your story. In the mist of chaos you either create or deconstruct. This is an Al Jazeera news story about a group of Gaza Strip students who blog, podcast and videotape their stories hoping that others will hear and understand what they are experiencing.

I Fell in Love. Where Are You?

Sophie Blackall finds inspiration from the missed connections from Craigslist and other web sites. Sophie creates illustrations from the messages and creates visual expression to lost love opportunities.

I'm On the Road Less Traveled. Can You Give Me A Sign?

Inspiration comes in many forms and persons. Alexis Ioacono explains in an audio recording how actor/filmmaker John Cassavettes led her on the path to perform.

The road less traveled does not have to just be about relationships with other people. What if the story being told was of a disease or medical condition? Does telling the story have to be in a textual form?

No, it doesn’t. There are a number of people using the format of graphic novels to tell stories. Marisa Marchetto is, in her own words, a cartoonista/activista, who wrote and drew her experiences with breast cancer. Her book is called Cancer Vixen

Marisa also has a few textual words to say about the suggestedscreening recommendation. Another place to check out graphic novel journalism/storytelling is the Neiman Storyboard a project of the Neiman Foundation at Harvard University.

There is much more to say about narrative, stories and storytelling. I am discovering a rising sentiment against narrative or even too much narrative.

I will be polite and watch the TED video. And then I will continue to do everything I can to encourage the people I know and the people I don't to tell their tale.

Gena Haskett is a BlogHer CE. Blogs:Out On The Stoop and Create Video Notebook

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