The Art Of Storytelling As I See It

I believe humans are storytellers whether they are singers, writers or poets. Academia will tell people about rules and regulations to storytelling; it works for some, but it does not work for others. I did not major in English or other humanity course in college, but I have had a lifetime passion for storytelling. I enjoyed reading stories by Ernest Hemingway, Isaac Asimov and many other writers. In part of Africa, where I come from; we have griots who are expert in oral traditions. Mory Kante is one notable one. He translate this heritage into a successful music career. One of his songs is a very popular that has been sampled in a lot of techno beats. Here is the song below.

This song makes people dance, but the singer is telling a story. I am digressing from what I am intending so we will try to transition to where I maybe heading.

I recently saw a Ted talk, and it pushed me to think critically. In many stories, there are  hero(es), villain(s), victim(s), observer(s). There is also settings for stories. Now, stories are told from various points of view. The hero can be humble in telling the story, but can be arrogant and self-service. The hero can paint one self in all the glory, while everyone else is a pauper witness. I am not critical of the hero, but I believe the audience needs to take the hero’s account with a healthy dose of skepticism. The victim also tells the stories from the victim point of view. The victim can be genuinely under attack, and it has occurred on many occasions. The victim may also try to engender pity, because it appeals to our sense of empathy and/or sympathy. However, the victim may have a dark agenda. The best way to deal with the victim is by always giving the benefit of the doubt to the victim. The villain also has a point of view. Everyone roots for the villain to fail. People love to hate the villain, but the villain is sometimes misunderstood. The villain usually the reflection of a society’s flaws. People hate the villain because he or she shows the society’s inequity. Finally, there is the observer. I would love to be the observer when there is a story to tell. My older brother often is the observer when there is a story to tell. The observer’s point of view seems to be the most objective point of view. However, upon a closer look; the observer is not always objective in the storytelling. The observer has human biases and these biases affect the observer’s judgement.

Basically, storytelling is an art. There is not a right way or wrong way to tell a story. There is just nuanced ways to tell stories. Our biases and individual experience affect the ways stories are told. The Ted talk that inspired this post is shared below.

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