It's a question that comes up over and over again. Why do we do this? It's not easy--often we go into settings that have no concept of what a storyteller, or storytelling, is. Frequently we must explain that storytelling is not reading stories to little children. Sometimes we must listen to people tell us that theycould tell some tales, too. Occasionally we must turn down an event because the organizers thinks we are sweet little old ladies who tell stories just to have something to do.
So why do we tell stories, and why do we keep facing the scenarios above?
Every teller probably has a different answer. For me, it's very clear: I tell stories to reconnect people with who they are and where they came from. Sure they live in suburbia today, but somewhere back in their heritage there are ancestors with their feet in the dirt, living on a farm or making their way across the mountains. That is what I want to recall, the links to heritage and history and family.
If I can make one person wonder about where they came from and go home to begin that search, I've been successful.
If I encourage one child to ask a parent, "when did you get in trouble when you were my age?" I've been successful.
If I manage to recall to one person the little house they grew up in, that's success.
If one person goes home determined to learn more about their family, I did something good.
If one person suddenly sees a grandparent in front of them, it is worth every minute of effort I put into it.
That's what storytelling is--connecting, connectivity, remembrance and remembering.
That's why I tell stories.