From as far back in my childhood as I can remember, my days have been filled with stories. My grandmother and my father were both avid story tellers. Whether it be folk and fairy tales, recounting of childhood peccadilloes or readings from picture books and children’s literature, they immersed me in stories, poems and language. Our home was, and still is, filled with books.
We were immersed in the classics, Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, Perault, Greek and Roman myths and legends, English folk tales, Dickens, Bronte, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson; we devoured them all. Yet it was an eclectic mix; Enid Blyton, A.A. Milne, Mabel Lucy Atwell all had a place in our life.
It was stories that develop our imagination. It was story that created the need to write, and the awareness that stories are everywhere in our lives. History is story. Diaries are story. Books are story. Paintings are story. Story surrounds us, in conversation, in experience in life around us. All we have to do is learn to listen and to see.
What is most important is what we do with our stories . For stories are meant to be told. The oldest storytelling tradition in any culture is the oral tradition. To tell a story, being faithful to its origins and giving it due respect and honour, is an important role of the Elders. In so doing, the history, traditions, beliefs and values of the people are handed down through the generations.
To lose this tradition is to lose our history, our collective memory of who we are and what our world is like at our point on time.