There’s a chill in the air but the sun still tries to shine as warmly and brightly as it has. I’ve been absent for a while, I know. Apologizes about that, there were things I had to do and a summer to enjoy. An Edinburgh Fringe to get swept up in, and what a ride it was! It’s been a week and I’ve already got withdrawal symptoms.. For one month 50 000+ performers and 2 million+ visitors took to one little city in the north of an island in Europe to share their stories and passions. So what a better way to start blogging again, if not to talk about stories?
Summer theme 2015: Storytelling.
Stories. I’ve never known why it’s taken such a backseat in modern times. Telling stories has always been a part of the human nature. Ever since the cave times way back then, when pictures would be drawn on the walls to remember what had passed. Storytelling has been used as a tool and as entertainment and education for as long as we have walked this earth. I don’t believe we would be here without stories to fuel us. Or rather, we wouldn’t be what we are today. Storytelling is how we learn, how we remember and how we stretch the boundaries of our minds by telling stories of “what-if” and “maybes”, how we start revolutions, create myths and debates and dreams.
"What's the most important influence you've had?"
It’s a question that you might ask a budding actor (once you get past the normal “actress-questions”) as indeed someone did just the other week in the bar after my first performance after a rather tough summer. And it’s really the reason why I’m writing this now. Without hesitation I replied ”Stories.” Simple as that. I was rather tired so not much more was said on the topic before the questioner was whisked away to another part of the room. I’ve been thinking about it since so here’s why stories changed and shaped my life.
I didn’t start talking until I was 3ish. Like Einstein I wasn’t one of those kids that tries out sounds until eventually a word comes out. I apparently made sure I had grasped the entire language before I started to use it. Then I used it. Always, no stop-button in sight, according to my family. I started reading lots and lots when I was around 4. Suddenly language made sense. So I started writing when I was 5. It was just so natural to me. I loved language. I loved speaking the words. I loved reading them. So I tried to write them and I found that I could write anything that came into my mind, I could put them into patterns that flowed like the music my mum always sang. When I was 7 my world was turned upside down and my refuge was in the stories, the books and my pen. I got a job in a commercial when I was nearly 9, I did it for the money and left with a passion. Suddenly those words that just existed on the paper could come alive and I could make them so. In my mind it took maybe three weeks, four months tops before I enrolled in acting classes. In reality a millennium happened in-between and it was about two years before I got on stage. I read during those years. 21 books a week’s still my record* and never the same book twice. Stories changed my life, whether they were on the paper, on stage or hiding within that blank page before me, and they always will. I read, I write and I act. I sing, I dance and I take photos. It’s all about the stories. And now I want to share those stories and tell them, like I was once told.
(* Only happened once I might add)
But storytelling doesn’t just end with our conventional stories and our imagination. Look beyond the immediate assumption and we get the sciences and the stars in space. History is just a collection of stories. A once upon a time made up of facts. We tell history like we tell our memory of that one day in 10th grade. Science is us discovering the stories we have yet to come to know and explaining those that we've already explored. And the stars? The stars can tell us about the beginnings of our universe, even though we have yet to crack their language completely. So where you might think of facts and equations, I think of stories and off into the woods we go.
Stories are how we pass down traditions, culture and knowledge. Whether that be through music, pictures, paintings, novels, poetry or drama. Through scientific discoveries, philosophical work, through myths and legends or chatting with each other over a cup of coffee.
Stories are the legacy of the human race.
It’s what we have, it’s what makes us grow, it's what we leave behind.