Well, first things first.
Hi, and yes I am new to this, if you haven’t already guessed.
But you, reader, are also new to my blog. So, let’s agree go easy on each other, ok? Ok.
When I first set out to do a blog, I struggled to settle on a single topic to use as the focus. To be honest, it wasn’t a great start for my bold new foray into the expansive world of online blogs. A little lost, I asked myself; What do I enjoy? Films, books, games, and TV were among the answers. What did these answers have in common? They were all a type of narrative. Now, narrative, that was something I could get passionate about. And taking narrative to mean an account of an event or series of events, it can include everything from a novel to a funny anecdote about an incident at the pub last Friday, which makes it a pretty much inexhaustible source to draw fresh post ideas from. Awesome, topic chosen. A topic that I genuinely care about too.
But, hell, why should you care? Why should you want to read about narrative?
You should be interested in narrative because it is a concept that plays a large role in everyone’s life. Disagree? Well, hopefully the following will talk you round to my side.
We all love a good story. Think about the things I listed above; films, books, TV programs, video-games, all platforms that have a clear reliance on narrative. They each have a huge influence and following in modern culture, which alone should give you an indication of just how much we value stories. Even outside of entertainment media, take a look at the news. Whether on TV, in a newspaper, or online, the news comes in the format of newsstories. These aren’t just a dump of all the important information, but rather constructed narratives that introduce the participants, lead us through a series of events, give us cause and effect, and aim for a gratifying conclusion.
And this craving for stories isn’t just seen in modern times. Pick any point in history and it’ll have its own famous stories and story tellers, folk legends and myths. Take the Ancient Greeks as an example. It was almost three thousand years ago that Homer first sung his epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey to vast audiences all over Greece (They were not written until many years later). The Ancient Greeks even dedicated three day long festivals to the staging of new plays, and adorned their temples with sculptured images telling famous stories and myths.
Ok, I know a lot about the Greeks so they may not be the most fair example. But… Look at any other time and place and I bet you’d find the same love of stories. The Romans, the Egyptians, The native Americans, 16th century Britain, just to name a few more in which stories played a large cultural significance. Hell, people are still going crazy over a bunch of myths and legends told by the Mayans.
Our love of stories isn’t just limited to cultural sources either.
Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are of course used for a whole host of purposes, but arguably one of the main reasons people use them is to tell short self contained stories about their own life, and to read about events from their friends’ lives. You could even take one individual’s entire collection of Tweets and Facebook posts, put it together, and title it: The Great Book of Sort of Interesting Things that Happened in my Life and it’d most likely get read more that this blog. In short, social media allows people to create their own, or read other people’s, edited narrative of their life. And it is one of the most popular innovations of the last decade.
Still not convinced narrative is intrinsic to all human beings? Next time you have a conversation try to see just how much of it is taken up by telling stories. My bet is it’ll be a lot. Telling someone what you did at the weekend? Or what you got up to on holiday? Or even just swapping anecdotes ? All are stories in their own right. We’re all storytellers, most of us don’t even realize it.
God, I haven’t even got onto the ‘why’ of why stories are such a massive part of human nature and I’ve already written too much. Sorry about that. It’ll have to wait for another post. If you’ve stuck with me ’til the end, then thanks for reading. Hope you found something interesting in there, and I hope you agree that narrative is something worth talking about. It’s been a learning experience for me. The next one will be out as soon as possible.
Until then, you can catch me on Twitter @GregRogers95 if for some unknowable reason you want to hear more from me.