I attended an inspiring event tonight: an evening of storytelling. Two seasonned storytellers started the night off with "coming of age" stories, and then opened the floor to the audience. Anyone could sit on the blue stool and tell a 10 minute story. Many were shared. We were all enthused by the familiarity of other people's tales. We were also transported in different states, countries, epochs. There were so many moments of acute listening and sharing. It reminded me of dinner parties when our family friend, dear friend of my father's, Roland, would tell long, long, hilarious jokes.
We need moments like these in our lives; at least, I do. Times when one person (at a time) is allowed to share, without being cut off, or dismissed as chatty. When the experience, the wisdom, the awkwardness, the beauty, the sadness, the silliness of life are passed on.
Storytelling isn't exactly theatre, because theatre almost inevitably creates distance between the performer and the audience. Storytelling is more a part of the every-day, an accepted interaction between people. We all tell so many stories. One could even consider any re-telling of a past event to be storytelling.
Good conversations can have a similar cathartic effect to a good storytelling bash. Two or more people gather together and talk, going back and forth between experiences and anecdotes.
In this case, the framework of the event facilitated the telling. It opened up a space, creating "the space of the stool". You sat on that stool, and you were granted the permission to go on and spill the beans - whatever beans you felt should be spilled at that particular moment, with those particular people. And everyone was right behind you, lending their ear.
In some storytelling instances, the space is under a tree, or around a dinner table, or in a tent, or around a campfire, or in the dark, or on a roof, a balcony, a garden, a blank page...
Let's make more space for stories. Of the kind that uplift us, and that give us the impetus to live more fully.