A friend of mine, who writes & illustrates children’s books, made me think again recently about our need for ‘stories’ to make sense of our world.
Many of us have fed our children at an early age with a rich variety of colourful, vibrant, imaginative, stories from a wealth of good books. We tend to stop doing this as they ‘grow up’, I guess they choose their own stories, and our noisy energetic cultures take over. Our lives are influenced by stories using engaging images, clever narratives and rich imagination to visualise ideas. As adults we might regularly read novels, watch films or TV, go to theatre, sing songs, etc… These imagined worlds give us some other hyperreality to grasp, when much of our real reality might seem to fail or crumble if questioned or relied on. With these stories we can create worlds that are ours, to give ourselves fantastic assurances or tentative hopes in a perhaps random or chaotic world.
By ‘stories’ I mean anything that signifies a sequence of ideas, an agreeable pattern. This may be an entertaining pop song, a dialogue between people on the radio or online, a news article, a novel, a film, a piece of art, a discussion in the pub, a lecture, a children’s picture book…
We latch on to meaning from a multitude of sources to form our world view.
So, from the classic tale ringing age old truths, to the contemporary fiction that highlights the frailties of the human condition, from snacking on a quick pop song, to the assuring bedside read.
The very best stories stay with you forever. They bring us closer to the world we know, or transport us to fantastic ones we’d never imagined. They change us, comfort us and challenge us. I for one could not keep it together without stories…
What stories do you rely on?