Through his stories, an expert storyteller can deepen the reader’s experience of life.
Reading a compelling story enables a reader to live an entirely new life. It brings him to challenges he has never faced, with tragedies he has never endured, with joys he has never experienced! The world of the story is refreshingly different from his own. At times that is a huge relief, especially if there are steep challenges awaiting him in his real life.
The role of stories in shaping a person – or a nation/ civilization cannot be denied. The stories an individual tells himself can turn him into a majestic lion, a cowering rat or an irreverent monkey. Stories are the most powerful way of establishing and communicating the subtlest nuances of the culture and ethics which make an entity whole.
Life-skills are best taught through stories. They are the best tools to affect behaviour modification. They provide a relaxed, non-threatening way to pass on wisdom and insights. Which Indian child has grown up without learning about life from the tales of Panchtantra?
Acharya Vishnu Sharma was an extraordinary teacher. The king of the land had three sons. The king was brilliant but the boys were indolent, slothful and stupid. They were not interested in learning. Many acharyas had been engaged, but they had all given up and pronounced the boys unteachable.
In despair, the king brought his sons to Acharya Vishnu Sharma and begged him to knock some sense into them. The king told the Acharya that his sons had no interest in learning or in improving themselves.
For the instruction of these boys, one of whom would one day become the king, Acharya created a string of simple fables. Like all fables, these too had animal protagonists who were clever, amusing and street-smart. Vishnu Sharma taught the three princes the intricacies of politics, economics, justice and dharma – all essential skills for a King.
The boys thought they were just listening to some amusing stories. Without them being aware of it, they absorbed the principles of raj-dharma, the cornerstone of kingly conduct. These set of stories, much like the famed Arabian Tales, are stories that evolve from within another story which branched off into another fable. The structure – as well as the content – kept the three princes on their toes and their interest stoked.
The stories of Panchtantra cover every situation that a king could be required to deal with. They teach kingly values of personal conduct to three princes who had a dubious track record of being extremely resistant to all teaching.
With time, these three princes went on to become wise and excellent kings, so the legend says. The stories are only suitable for princely reading though. If ordinary children read these stories, they are too would develop into sensible and wise adults with an unambiguous value system. What else can one want?
The wealth of wisdom contained in the fables has survived intact over the centuries. Acharya Vishnu Sharma, a storyteller par excellence, has been immortalized because of his extraordinary creation. He accepted the challenge of educating three wastrels. Imagine the effort, ingenuity and vision of the Acharya to have created a set of stories which are not only powerful but have also stood the test of time for over fifteen centuries!
Storytellers reveal their innermost selves through their stories. They create exciting new worlds and take their readers along on their audacious flights of imagination. Those worlds are thrilling and boundaryless. They are a reflection of their creator’s inner world – of the clarity of their thought and perception.
After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world. ~ Philip Pullman Click To Tweet
The greatest teachers the world has known have created fables to connect with people. Ancient rishis of Vedic times have woven simple, many-layered stories to communicate profound truths about the human experience, creating moments of tumultuous discovery for their readers.
Stories make a fabulous receptacle for transporting thoughts. They can smoothen the sharpness of complex ideas and make them comfortable to imbibe. Life lessons are often bitter pills you don’t wish to swallow. Such lessons slip down your throat easily when wrapped in a winsome story. Without you being aware of it, the lesson dissolves within you and becomes a part of you.
People make sense of their world through the stories they have heard. Through inspiring tales of courage, they learn new ways of defeating their challenges that they may never have thought of otherwise. Stories are immensely inspiring. They can restructure a reader’s inner world without him being aware of it. They demonstrate possibilities and throw windows open to let in the light.
The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.
~ Brandon Sanderson
A storyteller weaves magic carpets with gossamer threads of her imagination. These magical carpets take you to unknown worlds, into mysterious lives, to experiences you could not have imagined!
A spinner of tales has the talent to deftly handle colorful bobbins of yarn to bring a unique pattern to life. If the same story were written by two different people, it will surely have different textures.
Each storyteller’s perception is unique. The story he writes will carry that signature in the language he uses, in the emphasis he gives to certain aspects and in how his characters react and respond. No other storyteller can exactly duplicate him.
This is why the voice of the storyteller is more important than the plot of the story. Love stories, for example, have existed for many millennia. There is nothing original about the plot. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, there is a challenge t0 them coming together, they get over the challenge. That’s it! It has all been said before. Yet!
Love stories are still being written — and read — avidly. Because each love story is different in the style of its execution. There are as many styles as there are storytellers — and the mood they are in that day!
Once the colorful and vibrant tale has been woven, it takes on a life of its own. It still carries the memory of the loom in the tension of its strands and sheen of its thread, but it belongs to itself too. As a child will always carry the DNA of the parent who brought her into the world, she also belongs to herself. What she will accomplish, how high she would rise, how many lives she will impact, are not limited by the parent’s horizons.
Some of the most beautiful stories we know have been lived. They are real-life stories of giants who have walked the earth. With time, these inspiring lives have become the stuff of lore and legend. These life stories are told and retold until the fabric wears thin, revealing the glossier filament of life’s wisdom within.
When a reader immerses himself in a story, at some point he becomes one with the protagonist. From that point on, he lives the life of the protagonist. He laughs and cries with the character, experiences the same devastation and joy that the character does. He has set his life aside for a while and now walks in the shoes of the protagonist. By the time the story ends, he has experienced a completely different life.
You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.
He has faced challenges which are completely different from those he faces in his own life and has handled them in a way that he might not have, in his real life. He gains insights that his own life may never have brought to him. He expands his world view only because his mind/ heart/ consciousness has been cracked open by the experience of witnessing that story.
Humans have a strong affinity for stories. They love being in them; they love weaving them and they love narrating them. The high of catching someone’s complete attention as they forget themselves and get engrossed in the world created by the words of the tale-spinner! To know that some stranger, somewhere, will jump with joy because of something you created, is a feeling that cannot be described!
Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.~ Sue Monk Kidd Click To Tweet
You can create such moments. You have the keys to the magical studio where the most alluring stories can be created. The tools and the inspiration are all there, waiting for your touch. Once your story has taken shape and has been clad in the best finery you can find, you can open the window and let it fly!
And the world will never be the same again!