“We relate to the world through stories. We see the world through stories….Songs are stories, paintings are stories, jokes are stories.”
“Stories are about how things are always under construction — always becoming.”
“The world is full of willing accomplices waiting to hear your story.”
What a gift: To spend the evening with an accomplished writer who has delved deeply into the art and craft of storytelling! Raphael Badagliacca is the author of a heart-warming book called, Father’s Day: Encounters with Everyday Life and of a monthly column, also called “Father’s Day.” He’s a witty, compassionate chronicler of modern life, but also a student of the ancient art of sharing ideas, language, and emotion. Here’s a glimpse of his far-ranging exploration of the time-honored art of storytelling:
Far from being ornamental or incidental, storytelling is pivotal to human life: We are hardwired to tell stories. As storytellers, we are not on the fringes or expendable, we are in the mainstream of life, because the mainstream is storytelling.
We are all descended from people who survived because they could tell stories and listen to them — people who were actively engaged in exchanging vital, life-sustaining information. Narrative storytelling taught our descendants how to survive, how to be strategic. Without narrative, there is no empathy, without empathy, no community, without community, no survival.
To be a good writer, you have to be a good storyteller. We all live based on the stories we are telling ourselves about our lives. Are we ever not telling a story?
When you write a story, you have willing accomplices out there as long as you’re telling them a story that reaches them emotionally — that they’re dying to hear. A good story ties things up in a complex way — in a way that is surprising, yet coherent.
Willing accomplices: What an inspired idea! I just love bringing writers and readers together in this way. Here are a few definitions of “accomplice” to ponder: partner, fellow conspirator, confederate, sharer. Its Latin root means “allies” — and the word “playful” is also associated with it. It’s very liberating to think of writers and readers as allies: As co-conspirators in the never-ending quest to wrest meaning from chaos, to take raw emotions — the pain and joy of life — and give them universal heart and soul.
Bravo, Raphael! And now, my bold co-conspirators, let us all write on!