Tell It Like It Is

People love a good story. We always have. We like to hear them, and we like to tell them. But what is it about telling our version of the story that makes it so exhilarating? Why do we expend the effort to tell the same tales over and over again? And why do certain aspects of the telling change each time we do it?

The oral tradition of storytelling has existed for, well, longer than I care to estimate. Storytelling, much like writing, gives us a way to make sense of things, to create order where we may not otherwise perceive it. In telling (or retelling) a story, we are preserving our own voice. We are maintaining the integrity of our perception of life and the people in it.

But what does storytelling do to truth? Sure, people make amazing storytellers. If we see that we have a captive audience, we bind ourselves to continue the telling, embellishing what can be embellished and omitting that which doesn’t work in our favor.

They say there are two sides to every story, but none of us will tell it the same way twice. How many people have a voice in any one story? What if we all have a side, and what if they are all different?

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2 Comments on “Tell It Like It Is”

  1. I think you are right: there are as many sides as there are people, each perspective subtly different from the others. Oral storytelling is one of my great pleasures: elemental, really: I sleep every night with an audiobook playing. Bram Stoker’s Dracula last night. It’s how Sceherezade stayed alive….

  2. It’s funny you should say that; I’ve been reading Arabian Nights lately. Now I’m wondering if that’s where this whole set of questions came from. I can’t help finding the whole idea fascinating. : )


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