Why Storytelling? 

Storytelling is a way to inform each other of our deepest needs, feelings and history. Of interdependence not only with each other, but with all species and the cosmos. Story defines and binds community by revealing how we are alike and yet each unique. It instructs by bringing humour and understanding to painful situations, bridging disturbing paradox and suggesting creative solutions to emotionally charged dilemmas. Storytelling is a way to both explicitly describe and leave unsaid the Mystery; that which brings us into being, animates us, moves between us and causes our deaths.

At the core of every classical myth, religious parable, modern novel and movie is story. For thousands of years, African storytellers called griots have recited tales of tribal history that span days. This tradition comes to us in Blues and Gospel music. First Nations peoples have a similar tradition. Would we still be recounting the legends of great spiritual leaders if had they presented lists of facts, instead of mesmerizing parables? For centuries, travelling storytellers known as minstrels and kobzars enlightened isolated European villages to both mundane details of others' lives and vital political information with life or death implications.  

From childhood, stories lull us to sleep and awaken the deepest parts of ourselves.

In contemporary culture, sharing stories from the heart is a powerful remedy for the electronic fast fact, the cult of celebrity and media disinformation. Storytelling celebrates the beautiful complexity of being human.   

When I learned that Stalin executed most of Ukraine’s kobzars, I fell to my knees and committed to being a kobzara.

~Copyright 2006, Raisa Stone

All rights reserved. May not be copied in any manner without written permission of the author.

 

This piece of embroidery was sent to Raisa as her birth present from an aunt in Soviet Ukraine. It foretold her special gift with animals, and is the basis for The Girl, the Stag and Grandmother Snowstorm.

You can see the background cloth is cheap and flimsy. Raisa's parents sent fine cloth to Ukraine, which the Soviet customs agents would steal and replace.