Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Heart of Storytelling

"We have encapsulated the incredible brilliant wisdom of the world in stories. The wonderful thing about stories is that you marry ideas and feeling in a sequence of events. You come across whatever it might be - feelings of fear, of anger, of jealousy - and they are wrapped up in characters, in creatures and beings that we can understand. We follow them; in a sense they sort of hold our hands and take us through disasters and triumphs. We figure out who they are, and who we are. Nothing else does this." - Michael Rosen

How true is that? The first time I saw this quote over at this excellent artist's journal, I quickly jotted it down word-for-word in my own journal. I dashed downstairs to show my Vati, who liked it was much as I did. Then during this semester in my film class when we were discussing linear narrative, I showed it to my teacher, who absolutely fell in love with it and begged me to email it to him. So I looked it up on the internet and found the full article here, which discusses the importance of children's books in schools and also features a man with horse teeth, in case you're interested.

I love this quote because of how much stories meant to me growing up, and how much they mean to me now. I learned to read through comics like Calvin and Hobbes and Foxtrot, and they all had stories and characters I identified with. I copied so many of the adventures Calvin and Hobbes had, and understood their frustrations as well. I cheered with Harry Potter when he won the Quidditch House Cup, and when I read The Goose Girl and The Book Thief, I cried. They both affected me personally, like Ani in the Goose Girl overcoming her weaknesses and gaining courage, or Liesel from The Book Thief living in a world that I feel extremely sensitive about. (And uh, yeah, my motivation for reading 'The Book Thief' was because the main character has the same name as me. Not all my intentions are pure.)

The thing is, however, all of these characters and their stories inspired me to do something better. Whether it was overcoming insecurities and fears, writing bad fanfiction, drawing cartoon characters, or just looking for more colors, they impacted me. They gave me a passion and drive for storytelling in all mediums, and I thank the stories for it.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you disagree? Adore? Weep with joy? Why are you in love with stories? (And, pray tell, if you aren't, why on earth are you even reading this blog?)