Stories help us decide which futures are possible, and how those futures may be brought into being. If we pay attention to the stories that a culture holds dear, we discover its deep structure. We learn what is most important to people, what they value, and what they disregard.
When we look at a story, we ask: Who is included? Who is left out? Who is the “hero”? Who gets to write the story? Who is silenced? What “truths” about the world does the story promote? Storytelling is the act of making these decisions anew.
Storytellers aren’t content with the stories that already exist. We have something more to say. We recognize which stories are circulating in our culture, and understand that they can broken apart and rewritten. Storytellers aim to show a part of the world others haven’t seen before, or to help others see that world from an unfamiliar angle. Like all sources of power, storytelling is shaped by access. As we begin to write our stories, it’s important to consider who’s holding the pen as well as what words we’re choosing. When we expand our vision, we expand the range of what seems possible.