Story power

What is the power of story?

Is it the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound?  Is it more powerful than a locomotive?  Certainly not in the literal sense but when you think about figuratively then you realize the power that story has.

Story communicates.  It passes on.  It is the history book as well as the historian telling the story.  It is a purveyor of information but more  than that story has the power to create.  Control over story gives a person the ability to create identity, or determine their own story.  This is enable further by digital mediums.  Platforms like facebook, myspace, and other social networks allow you to tell your story through your status updates and pictures.  You can hook your Spotify up to your Facebook so that everyone knows what you’re listening to and imagine a soundtrack to your life.  If people view my music history they might think I alternate longing for my teenage days of listening to pop punk to a wistful longing brought out by the sometimes soulful and sometimes playful tunes of Ben Folds.  In this digital age story is evolving to live outside of ourselves. Those that are not careful of what they put out there to represent themselves lose control of their narrative and become what people believe them to be.

The key to telling a good story that I focused on most from the Ira Glass videos was fearlessness.  You must not be afraid of failure but instead embrace it.  A person cannot expect to be great in their initial offerings.  They just have to be able to rely on their love and trust their taste as they go forward and hope to carve out an original voice that speaks and informs their prospective listeners.

5 thoughts on “Story power

  1. John,
    I like how succinct and complete your answers are, without extraneous explanations or over-the-top elaboration. It says what it needs to, allows time for the reader to think and adds just enough of your perspective that we have a glimpse into what’s going on in your head. What I really wanted to know while reading was what you thought of the interconnectedness of today’s storytelling and whether you think it makes today’s stories better or worse than the pre-digital age? Do we lose some of the privacy in storytelling by spreading it all over the web? Is the specialness lost?

  2. John, your angle about identity construction through storytelling is very relevant to young and old Internet users. There are many careless and spontaneous social networkers who are unaware of the stories they tell while simply trying to enjoy a moment. I am quite adamant about taking multiple precautions while online, so much that I almost don’t enjoy myself.

    In fact, as I mentioned in another post I often forget that our blogs are public when I write for this class because it is so comfortable for me. That is only because of the nature of the class, though. Your post, nonetheless, serves as a reality check for me and I have to make sure that I continue to keep myself virtually safe. I love the concept of the indirect storyteller!

  3. Glass’s advice works for all artists, creators doesn’t it? I wondered if as a writer you thought that fear can be a chief cause of procrastination or the dreaded “writer’s block”? Do you find yourself fearing failure — which Glass defines — as pretty much failing to have your product match your taste?

    btw Huge Ben Folds fan here. I once watched him collaborate on eight songs in eight hours in a live stream — on retrospect, they actually didn’t make it to eight songs.

  4. John, I found your following phrase very powerful- “The key to telling a good story that I focused on most from the Ira Glass videos was fearlessness. You must not be afraid of failure but instead embrace it. ” I think many people actually fear telling a story at times worrying at how it makes them appear. Will this make me seem silly? sappy? dark? Not many people, if at all, want to be labeled and since you can often tell a lot about a person by how someone tell’s a story, it can feel like you are exposing yourself. As you said yourself, stories communicate and pass on- so in a way you might feel as if you are passing on yourself.

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