Monday, January 14, 2013

Thoughts on "The Storytelling Animal"

As I read through the beginning of The Storytelling Animal by Jonathan Gottschall, I could not help but think about my own life. Just like the children that Gottschall describes, I grew up creating stories out of anything and everything. My friends and I would pretend that we were spies and we would run around outside trying to beat the "bad guys." We would play a game we called "Town" where everyone would create a home out of couch cushions or whatever was around the house, and then we would ascribe to ourselves an occupation -- doctor, policeman, banker, etc. Then we would play out various scenarios in this world that we created.

Gottschall states that as we grow up, we may move out of "Neverland" but we don't stop crafting stories; we just do it in different ways. I'm studying film at U of M. I'm going to school to learn how to use the visual medium of film to tell stories. I've also done a lot of creative writing, and I would argue that I used writing as an outlet to replace playacting with friends.

Photo Credit by Angie Garrett, CC

I also find it very interesting that the enigma of storytelling has no easy answers. Why do we tell stories, if there's no real reason for it? How has storytelling prevailed throughout the ages? Gottschall offers several possible suggestions but it's crazy to me that we just don't know, even though we all accept storytelling as a natural part of our daily lives. And it really is inescapable.

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