Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Telling Life: Witness

This is the last storytelling post in this blog for 2016. As I was thinking about what I wanted to say here I kept coming back to the deep cultural role of storytellers, poets, musicians, writers and artists of all stripes. It's easy to think we can dismiss the arts in this era of easy entertainment and reality tv, but we still matter, maybe more than ever. When an authoritarian regime seizes power anywhere in the world, we are among those silenced first, and who can blame them? We are the ones who mobilize others. A well-told story will more effectively move people to action than will an order. We are catalysts.

Artists in general (and storytellers in particular) help societies remember where they came from and where they want to go. Our stories remind individuals of the ways we are connected, of how we prevailed in other trying times and that dragons can be defeated.

Just as importantly, we are witnesses. When the storytellers, poets, musicians, writers and artists of all stripes are blinded or turn away, history in the making can be more easily rewritten into dubious facts. Do not be blinded. Keep watching, recording and telling the stories of what you see, be it a small act of kindness or a moment of deceit.

Listening and observing are the building blocks of any effective art - we must understand the world within which we create and we must tell the stories we see - so many artists notice more than others might. We keep our eyes open. What we observe, we record. When we record we are inspired to create and in sharing those creations we keep hope alive. We are not powerless and we are not alone.

The world needs you. It needs your art, your observations, your voice. Be a witness. Tell your stories, whether broad and global or intimate and personal. Your stories help us remember that all of our voices matter.

I will be a witness and a voice moving forward. Join me.

“Fairy tales are more than true – not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”
- G.K. Chesterton by way of Neil Gaiman

(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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