The Importance of Stories

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I love stories: my stories, my grandmother’s stories, strangers’ stories. To me, it is difficult for a story to be inherently boring. That’s what I love about them. Even the most mundane events can be made interesting by a good storyteller. I’d like to be a good storyteller someday.

Whether you realize it or not, almost every story a person tells has shaped who they are in some significant way. Most of us don’t remember the car ride to school on the 216th day of the year 5 years ago but we do somehow remember that one time we threw a cheerio into our mouth and actually caught it. We can’t always pinpoint why we remember things, but if the emotions we felt in a moment were important, we will remember it.

The stories and memories people have can seem so random that sometimes I find myself wondering what reason they have to remember them. But that’s what’s so great about people’s personal stories. They give you an insight into what makes a person tick, what fascinated them or made them happy at one time.

 

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My Grandmother in the 1960s

 

I especially love the stories of people alive before my time. Old books, movies, even my grandparents’ stories give me a certain sense of nostalgia for something I have not, and will never experience. I want to experience all the things they did because even the many stories of hardship and struggle seem glamorous. I think this is because, in my mind, my grandparents’ lives in the 1960s took place in another world so different from my own.

 

In my mind, the people in these old stories live on scratchy film, their smiles and postures natural, nobody putting on a show. I am free to imagine the stories as I please. Often I choose to see them through rose colored glasses and laced with gold. Those worlds seem magical and impossible because for me they are. I can never go back in time and our society will never return the 1950s or 60s, though that’s probably for the best.

For my grandparents, who were alive in these times, the world probably seemed quite mundane and not golden in the least. Especially considering they were new immigrants working all hours to start their lives. Knowing how ordinary things must have seemed to them, it makes me wonder what future generations will think of today. Will they see the lives of my generation as idyllic and glamorous even with things like social media and automated everythings?

As much as I’d love to experience life in dozens of eras, that isn’t possible. So for now, I’ll resign myself to second best: watching old movies, reading old books, and of course, listening to old stories.

What do you love about stories? Are there any stories which have shaped who you are today? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

-Sara

 

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