"We're wired for story," writes Brene Brown in her book Rising Strong. She continues, "Story is literally in our DNA."
I believe it. Watching our grandchildren brought a fresh awareness of this truth. From their infancy on, they have craved stories. Stories come in all different formats from books, magazines, tv and movies. The more personal and intense, the more engaged we become. Our children and grandchildren loved it when we would create bedtime stories that featured them or their parents as the protaganists, especially if the story was based on real events. The idea of her gray haired grandma screaming over the Beatles in the sixties elicits a fit of giggles from our granddaughter. Pulling out old books that had been read to her dad and her aunt AND their older cousins brings another element to story time: it connects her and her brother to their roots.
I loved hearing the late Richard Twiss share stories from his Lakota tribal upbringing. He shares about the 7 generations that inform how he lived his life. How the stories of the three generations behind him and the three generations that will succeed him inform how he lived in the present. These stories informed his decisions, his political views and his actions. He was thankful for the infrastructure that had been laid and he was cautious about how those decisions, views and actions would impact those who followed after him.
Songwriters are storytellers. They tell their own stories and we sit digitally at their feet hearing of their struggles and their triumphs. They sing of their hardships and in the lyrics we find language to feelings that we could not articulate. Who doesn't ache when they hear Jimmy Ruffin singing, "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?" Song storytellers also connect us to an era that has passed or awaken us to the stirrings of a new generation. We tap our toes and lean forward to hear what is in the hearts of these young ones.
Finally, we all love a well-told story in whatever form it comes to us because as Brene Brown says, "We're wired for story."