The news of storytelling’s death has been greatly exaggerated
“Brothers and sisters, we are gathered here today to mourn the death of Story. As you may have heard, it’s kaput — or, at the very least, terminally ill, wracked by videogames, wikis, recaps, talkbacks, YouTube, ADD, and the rise of a multiplatform, multipolar, mashup-media culture. … Beginnings, middles, and ends are headed for the attic, next to the box marked VCR Rewinders/Beastmaster Franchise.”
— Scott Brown, Wired columnist, in “Story Bored”
Brothers and sisters, let’s let Scott Brown mourn the death of Story. We have more interesting things to do — like figuring out the beginning, middle and end for our next blog posting.
For the record, I’m a congenital worrywart (a gene passed down on my mother’s side). And I’m not troubled at all about the demise of storytelling.
Because storytelling is doing fine.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my concerns. On the day I found out about Twitter, I had to lie down and put a washcloth over my eyes.
“Really?” I sniffed. “Are we really going to do this in 140 characters or less?”
Luckily for me, that happened to be the same day that a quarter of a million kids lined up around my block. They were there to be first in line to buy the 652-page Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when my local Barnes & Noble opened at midnight. (And those were the poor folks who weren’t among the 750,000 to preorder the book from Barnes & Noble alone.)
Storytelling dead? Folks, she doesn’t even have the sniffles.
Tweet me a story
And technology’s not about to kill her. Consider:
- iPads and other e-readers actually kindle more linear, narrative reading.
- Some of the best nonfiction stories I’ve ever experienced are on the “This American Life” podcasts I listen to on my iPhone.
- And the cleverest among us — and by that I mean the folks at the FBIPressOffice — have figured out how to write mini-narratives in 140 characters or less. Three of my favorites:
“Gotcha!: Bad Cops Caught, Part II: Five cops go bad in Memphis, Tennessee, and the FBI worked with polic.. http://bit.ly/d4M1h”
“A DANGEROUS BETRAYAL: The Case of the Cash Hungry Contractor: An undercover sting helped prevent a federal energ.. http://tinyurl.com/lzvnrp”
“CANINE CRUELTY: Five-State Dog Fighting Ring Busted: A year-long multi-agency investigation results in approxima.. http://tinyurl.com/mffmh6”
So friends, let’s not waste another instant kvetching about the death of Story. Instead, let’s invest that time in mastering the art of the storyteller.
It’s an art we’ll be able to use for a long, long time.