Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes. -Plato

“Don’t make me think for myself! Don’t make me feel something! Tell me WHAT to think! Tell me WHAT to feel! Don’t make me ask QUESTIONS and explore the answer!”

Sad.  I get sad when this is the response to things.  Especially things I’ve made, or that other storyteller friends have made.  Sad, and frustrated.  In today’s world, the ability – or interest? – in THINKING and exploring something seems to be fading away.   So many people seem to be looking to get the easy answer:  “Tell me how to feel!”

Listen, I love a nice, simple, clear-as-day episode of Matlock as much as anybody… I’ll happily sit and laugh my way through an episode of Three’s Company… but not everything should be that simple.  Not everything CAN be that simple.  They’ll yell – the people who shun imagination and critical thinking, they’ll complain – but we can’t give in, those of us who are artists and storytellers, we can’t give in and allow everything to be dumbed down and oversimplified.  There is room for all sorts of storytelling – and we can’t allow the people who want every moment of life to be spelled out in snack-sized sound bites to take away our ability to SAVOR NOT KNOWING.  To revel in asking the question.  To go home at the end of the night NOT having everything laid out in a mindlessly digestible form, but having some things left unanswered rattling around in our brains, forcing us to analyze them using our imagination, our own sense of curiosity and wonder, our own life experience.  It’s from THIS that we understand our life, and the world around us: From the sharing of moments and ideas, and reflecting on them, discussing them.  NOT from having ideas explained and answers handed to us, but having ideas presented and the questions asked!

One way teaches us to be thinkers.  The other teaches us to be nothing but consumers.

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
-Hannah Arendt

Storytelling is ultimately a creative act of pattern recognition. Through characters, plot and setting, a writer creates places where previously invisible truths become visible. Or the storyteller posits a series of dots that the reader can connect.
— Douglas Coupland

 The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.
— Brandon Sanderson

4 thoughts on “THINK!

  1. One of our greatest delights after seeing a play or movie or sharing a good book is to gather with another or a few others and that open the door to the “whys” and “what ifs” and the laughter and the tears! Otherwise we will have merely sat like sponges while all the beauty and mystery would have been only momentary. Through our discussions, rewrites and replays we imagine corners that might have been turned or outcomes that almost happened or even would have happened if only…! If the magic contained in the story was strong enough, we often will revisit it again and again!

    (Incidentally, I so love this blog I am going to share it with my #2 grandson who happens to be a budding young writer, spinning tales filled with adventures and fascinating characters. What you have written here just might help him better appreciate his avocation/gift a bit more than Grandma telling him he is amazing! Thanks, Tony!)

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