The Power of Storytelling

I found a one page article in the February 16, 2009 issue of Newsweek. In it, the author Ann Banks wrote:

“If my grandmother Blanche were around to read the headlines today, I know just what story she would tell” in the mid-1920’s, at the height of the Florida land rush, she was working in a real-estate office in Palm Beach. Times were flush and sales were booming. This exuberance was on display in the showy mosaic map of Florida embedded in the office floor.

To highlight Palm Beach, the artist had cemented in a shiny silver dollar. Before long, the speculative bubble burst, helped along by a hurricane. One morning my grandmother and her colleagues arrived at the office to discover that someone had chiseled the silver dollar right out of the floor. Times were hard.

Blanche ended up losing her house, her car and all the money she had saved for my father’s educations. Those things, though, she seldom mentioned. Instead, she told me about the stolen silver dollar. It comforted my grandmother, I believe, by reminder her that in her misfortune she was far from alone.

I was raised on Depression stories; this was only one of many told around our dinner table. Hearing them again and a gain, I became fascinated by the role that stories play during hard times—the way they seem to strengthen people, offering a bulwark against loneliness and feelings of personal failure…”

She wrapped up her article with the sentiment, “We need again to imagine a future that is meaningful in the face of difficult circumstances. Listening to each other’s stories may grand us a sense of common purpose that money can’t buy.”

Behold the power of writing. Ficly-teers, tell us your stories. Draw us in, and help us relate to your experience in this crazy world. Imagine that brighter future. Or imagine the dark future that haunts your dreams. Write. Tell your story. Come together.

8 comments Posted 2009-11-18 Author: THX 0477


  • Raegan Dauterive

    lol “come together” right nooooow, over me
    I like a storytelling when it’s spent by a campfire .

  • Sam Ervin

    I prefer Ficly-ite, myself.

  • Abby (LoA)

    Kind of a: join us or die…muahahahahah! Together, writers can succeed! x

  • Marli

    It is getting harder to find time to celebrate the written word when thanksgiving and christmas is nearly upon us. Perhaps the yuletide may entice a story or two through the challenge column. Must away and write it up. p.s. keep up the good morale boosters THX and thankyou.

  • scratch'n'scrawl

    Well spoken THX. Storytelling is by far so so important.

    Unfortunately (and please bear with my pessimism), the constant avalanche of media over each and every one of us in this day and age is tending to ‘suffocate’ the growth of our own stories, in many ways. Our young people do not seem to be able to nurture and develop their own identities, constantly being flooded with what is cool and ‘mad’, and being ‘forced’ to inhabit someone else’s created being. In many ways all of the stories have been told, with no originality left, so whay not just repeat someone else’s story?

    I did mention pessimism earlier, right?

    This makes our storytelling even more vital, especially when we are flooded with so much negative input. We need more positivity and creativity.

    This is our ‘Great Depression’, and our storytelling will help us to overcome it.

    Thanks again for the encouragement and eye-opening, THX.

  • SaveTheUnicorns

    Thank you for those wonderful words of wisdom!!!!! :)

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    I’m with Reagan and scratch and Unicorns; campfires, come together song, youth culture vs. identities, and thanks.
    This has been a slow storytelling month on ficly, but it will pick up.

  • g²LaPianistaIrlandesa

    Not only have I been busier than I’d like to be, but I’ve kind of been “stuck” in the inspiration department. However, I do have at least one idea brewing in the back of my mind that I’d like to get back to, and I think this post (or previous posts, for that matter) could provide for some interesting inspiration. I appreciate it, it just might be the inspiration I need to at least start getting back into the swing of things (as much of a swing as one can get into with schoolwork and college auditions looming ever closer, anyway).