The Storyteller Profession
Let me begin with saying that I have a Storyteller’s Licence. I created one fashioned from Robert Fulghum’s, which can be found in his book, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten".
It also contains the Storyteller’s Creed at the back:
• I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
• That myth is more potent than history.
• That dreams are more powerful than facts.
• That hope always triumphs over experience.
• That laughter is the only cure for grief.
• And I believe that love is stronger than death.
Given how this (Hubpages) community is composed of writers (and subsequently, storytellers), I want to share and bring awareness of the power of stories and how storytelling is a noble profession.
Stories Give Knowledge or Provide Wisdom
Stories whether they be fiction, historical, or anecdotal, provide some Truth, a lesson, or purpose. Stories like the parables of Jesus in the Bible and Aesop's fables provide us insights and principles of life and how to live it. Fiction such as the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Percy Jackson series not only entertain but also provide us views on life even though they are set in a magical setting. They provide the truths of friendship, government, and human nature.
Stories Can Change Our Views of History and Culture
Myths are potent in shaping culture and even how we identify as a people. Some words we use were derived from ancient myths such as names of planets, days, and months being named after gods from Greco-Roman and Norse mythology.
Myths and Legends also become part of a nation's history and literature, such as the Arthurian legends, and the Three Kingdoms stories of China were a mixture of history and literary works, all of which became part of the nation's heritage.
Unfortunately, the potency of stories can be abused. I bring here the example of how a certain Jose Marco, Philippine history's greatest con man, who fabricated relics and artefacts, committed document forgeries, and change the Filipino view of prehistoric (i.e. Pre-Spanish) Philippines. The Filipino people, having craved for any signs of remains of culture from the pre-colonial period, readily accepted these fabrications to be true.
You can check this source for a summary: http://pilipino-express.com/history-a-culture/in-other-words/395-jose-marco.html
One of the most noted story he fabricated was the story of a certain leader Datu Kalantiaw who supposedly created the Code of Kalantiaw, a collection of laws. Funnily, and pardon me for saying this, Ka-lantiao means "bite dick" in Hokkien (Southern Chinese dialect).
Up to the present day, there is/are school/s named after fictitious characters (e.g. Kalantiaw Elementary School).
Whether the fabrication was done out of malice, for personal gain, or to provide a pre-colonial identity or culture that is missing, it is still a misuse of storytelling and is frowned upon.
Storytelling is indeed a very potent media in affecting people’s lives. Stories can build us up or break us down, can change our lives and lifestyles, and can change our world views and even history.
Storytellers and writers have a big responsibility in using their talents to bring about change and improve quality of life.
I take that responsibility seriously and I do my best to use my gift in writing to tell the Truth, to inspire, and entertain people. I invite other storytellers out there to do the same, lest our Storyteller’s Licences be revoked.
"For stories make us alive; without them we will not exist" -George Xu