I always wonder what is the role of storytellers in a community?
Filmmakers, writers, poets, visual artists, etc, why do they tell a story? How do they find this story? As I was searching for answers down the Internet’s rabbit hole, I ended up in the era of hunter-gatherers.
It’s astonishing how our ancestors, the hunter-gatherers, sat around the fire on most nights telling each other the stories. They need to rest, save energy for the next day, and obviously, it’s dangerous to lurk in the dark. So, what made them do such an activity? Because they needed these stories. The information exchange, the entertainment, the heroic tales, and a sense of togetherness flourished in these stories. Hence storytelling is etched in our DNA and we cannot help ourselves from not telling a story.
India’s Mahabharata to Greeks’ Iliad to Sumerian’s Tale of Gilgamesh to Jesus to Choctaw tales to Filipino’s Agta tales, storytelling was an integral part of human lives. When Agta’s tales talked about the sun (male) and moon (female) fighting for who was the strongest, there was a story of equality. When they told stories of celestial bodies, they exhibited amazing imagination, fantasy, and celebration of wonder. But how to find a story?
If you observe carefully in every culture, generation after generation, all the stories have a hero. When the protagonist forages into the greater unknown, he learns new things, makes new friends, steps into greater danger, fights with demons, both external and internal. Although initially crushed, he finds his strengths and weaknesses, and finally defeats the demon. Then he comes back to his place where he was initially not comfortable, embraces himself, and shares his knowledge with others.
For ages every story is the same, heroes may change, demons may change but the story never changes. This has been amazingly narrated by Joseph Campbell in his book “A hero with a thousand faces”. It is a great book for any storyteller as any storyteller is a hero with a thousand faces.
The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal.The hero’s journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly. What I think is that a good life is one hero’s journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfilment or the fiasco.
There’s always the possibility of a fiasco. But there’s also the possibility of bliss.— Joseph Campbell
So, my dear storytellers, let’s look at different stages of the hero’s journey from the book and make our lives just a little better to tell just a little better stories.
The Call: The protagonist is never comfortable in his initial place. He longs to find more, to achieve more, and see the world more. That is the reason why Neo Anderson chose the red pill, Katniss Everdeen chose to fight and Harry Potter chose to go to Hogwarts. Similarly, find your call and find what you are not comfortable with. Find what you want to change, achieve or explore. There is a whole world out there. Do not be afraid to go out there and do not stop till you find what you are looking for.
The Quest: Make it a Quest. Find specific goals to achieve that push you towards the ultimate goal. You are entering a war. You will fail, you will get hurt and you will fall. But every time you raise you are a champion. You will find new truths, about the world and about yourself. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and exposed. Don’t forget, when you are vulnerable you will attract dangers. Fight with yourself whether it’s serious addictions or conditioning or simple procrastination. Remember, it’s not easy to transform into Tyler Durden. Transformation not only needs hard work, determination, perseverance but also time. So, keep going at it. Everything will be alright in the end and if it is not alright, it is not the end.
The Return: ‘The Return’ is a very important phase in the hero’s life. The hero understands himself and finally comes back to his initial place. He becomes an inspiration for many others. He speaks and entertains at the campfire story sessions. Thus the circle continues. When you win, don’t forget to give it back. Do not wait till you achieve something big. You should cherish every small win and start giving back early.
It will refresh, revise and also make you look at everything you learn from a new perspective.
Don’t know how to start?
And if you are stuck,