25Apr 18

Here’s to the Power of Stories

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I grew up on stories.

Family and friends, visiting my parents, would sit around the kitchen table, with food close at hand, and share stories with one another.

They sometimes paused, mid-sentence, to get the names or details right. Or someone would recall something that everyone else had forgotten. I would sit nearby—know to keep quiet—and listen for hours and learn things that I never knew or expected.
The same thing happened whenever my family visited my grandparent’s farm. After supper, we would carry our chairs from the dining room outside and place them under the elm trees in the yard. And the adults would talk and reminisce into night, not worried about the time, while the kids would gradually drop off to sleep.
“Telling Stories/Story Telling” seeks to capture the power of stories and remind people that they are even more relevant in an age dominated by television and social media.
There are many countless ways that stories are part of our day—whether over coffee or a drink, during intimate moments with children, or just catching up with a family member or friend.
Nor are stories just stories.
Stories can help push the present into new ways of understanding by finding stories within stories.
Stories can also be powerful by making connections with the reader or listener–in other words, stories can resonate over time and across space.
Stories not only provide us with a sense of the past, a sense of place, but a sense of identity, a feeling of connectedness or disconnectedness—who we are as a people. And if you don’t find yourself in stories, you have to ask why.
Stories also provide some much-needed perspective or insight into days gone by. They can be painful, but also empowering. People learn about their family’s past through stories.
Finally, stories can have broad implications and provide linkages to bigger stories or events.  They provide nuance, offer other ways at looking at the same event.
And we need to tell, record, read, celebrate, and challenge our stories.
The writers that are part of the annual Read Saskatoon “Telling Stories/Story Telling” fundraiser deal in stories as their trade. And by sharing their stories, they highlight the importance of literacy.
Indeed, the clients served by Read Saskatoon all have their stories. They need the opportunity to read their stories and write and tell their own.
Here’s to the power of stories.