Let’s take a minute to breakdown what exactly we mean when we use the terms “stroytelling” and “community”.
To understand the word storytelling we must break down story and tell:
Story – a narrative designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader.
Tell – to give an account or narrative of
Storytelling is the art and craft of giving an account of a narrative, which is designed to interest and instruct a reader or hearer. That is a solid baseline for what it means to be a storytelling or a person actively involved in storytelling. I would say that most of the craft of being a storytelling in our modern times rests in the realm of seeking to entertain and amuse readers, rather than instructing. Entertaining is important and has its place when we talk about storytelling, but telling stories should not distract people from though, instead it should be provoking it.
Now we need to define community:
Community – “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common”, or “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”
Those definitions are perfect in explaining what community is. So now the question is, how does storytelling create community?
Storytelling creates community because of the simple fact that our stories have to come from somewhere. There has to be an experience we are basing the story we are creating off of. As we are giving accounts, whether the narrative is fiction or non-fiction, it is influenced by our life experience. We tell create to tell stories of redemption, triumph, sorrow, grieving, because maybe that is how we cope with it. The funny part about it all is that other people have had the same or similar experiences. Through stories, people are able to see that there is someone on this earth that shares a common characteristic, attitude, interest, and even goals. Through the feeling of shared characteristics they begin to feel a sense of belonging, or fellowship.
That is community! People who feel connected and that they are not alone in this world, is the minute they begin to seek relationships with the people that are similar than them. We must continue to tell stories that allude to our true characteristics, because through this questions are provoked and the telling of stories shift from a distraction of life, to a tool to think about how we can challenge illogical thinking and flawed systems, to form a more positive and loving community.
Keep telling stories, someone wants to hear it, and wants to walk through whatever feeling this story makes you feel.