Currently in my Irish Literature class we are reading the novel Ireland by Frank Delaney. This novel focuses a lot on storytelling and the importance of telling stories to each other. The main character, Ronan, is deeply impacted by a storyteller who visited his village when he was nine-years-old and his main goal in this novel is to find the storyteller who changed his life. Reading this novel made me think of when I was younger and would have people tell me stories about their life or the lives of people they knew and the impact they had on me. From a very young age, I was drawn to words, I was drawn to reading and writing. As a child, there was no better feeling than having someone read to me or tell me a story because for a time, I was in another world, a world that I felt was focused on me. When I learned to read and was able to start choosing books for myself, it filled me with so much joy and it still does, but in a way it doesn’t compare to having someone tell me a story. There is something about spoken stories that moves a person and can impact them in a way that nothing else can.
In the age of radio, television, the internet, etc, so much of the past is lost. The days of people sitting around and telling stories to each other has been replaced with Facebook, watching reality television or complaining about boredom. Stories about our families, our community, the world around us are being lost due to people losing an interest in having people tell them stories. As we grow older, so do our loved ones, and once they are gone, we lose many stories about our families and are left with unanswered questions. They say a person doesn’t realize what they have until it’s gone and this novel reminded me of that. As a society, we have lost the realization of how important storytelling is. Instead of talking to our elders and learning about the way the world once was, learning more about our families and the past, we are more focused on our new technology, on the latest celebrity gossip, on more materialistic things that won’t carry any real meaning for us in five years. This novel reminded me just how important it is to sit down and talk to someone and exchange stories. So many stories have been lost due to a lack of interest on the younger generations part, so right here and right now I am issuing a challenge to everyone- Over the course of the next week, I want everyone to talk to someone, whether it be a friend, a family member or a stranger on the bus, it doesn’t matter, just sit down and talk to them and exchange stories. The story can be about anything, there is no limit or guidelines as to what the story can be about! Then write the story down or commit it to memory, whatever it takes not to lose it, then share the story with someone else. Even if someone only does this once it is better than not doing it all because that means one more story has been saved from being lost forever.
The point of this challenge is to remind ourselves of the importance of storytelling and how one person and one story can change our lives. If anyone has a story they would like to share, I would love to hear it! I will try to post a story or two that I’ve been told as long as I get the OK from the other person to do so. Even if I can’t, I will at least write about the experience I had while doing this challenge. Happy storytelling everyone!