Telling the Tales
By Joe Harrison
For as long as there has been a spoken language, there have been stories being told. All over the world, in every region, culture, tribe, family or just a group of people, no matter how small or how large, there have been people telling the tales.
Think about it, it wasn’t like they could turn on the TV at the end of the day and see what was on cable. It wasn’t like they could sit down and read a book; even after the written word was invented, most people did not have access to books and if they did, very few were able to read and write. In the grand scope of the history of man, it wasn’t until recently that most of the people were literate. So what did they do at the end of a long day, sit around and look at each other? No, they gathered around a story teller for entertainment.
In many cultures these people were quite revered and highly thought of. They would often travel with armies, not to fight, but to watch and bring home the stories of glory. This was how legends were born and heroes lived forever. As odd as it may sound, it was every soldier’s ambition to die a glorious and brave death so he might live forever in the stories of his people.
In many ways, this tradition continues today. The advent of the internet has only helped it grow, just look at the number of bloggers like myself who are out there today. As for me, I can’t explain exactly how I settle on what I’m going to write each day, often times, I don’t even know what it is until my wife reads it back to me. I just put my hands on the keyboard and somehow my fingers start going and it all just flows out, I guess I am very fortunate there.
Now, as we all know, anyone can pass facts along, we are literally flooded with them, it takes a little more than that though…doesn’t it? My goal has always been to entertain as well as make you think. The most important thing to me is to provoke your thoughts, perhaps even change the way you look at or feel about some things, to open your mind. I can only hope I am successful in that venture.
I have also spent decades studying my family history and l am very proud of them. Like the warriors of old, I want them to live forever, even if it’s just in the stories I tell. Maybe there is some truth to the thought that as long as someone is remembered, they are still with us…I can only hope.
Sometimes I strive to create an emotional response in you whether it be concern, fear, anger, happiness or just fond memories of a time gone by. Once again, I don’t know what it will be until my fingers do the walking.
To be honest, my talent doesn’t lie with the written word, I am actually much better at telling stories in person. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me they could sit and listen to me all night. I love it when that happens, especially when it comes from the younger people like the 15 year old who told me that the other night. When I write, I just hope to be able to convey the thoughts and emotions that I do in person, only you would know if I do or not.
Wouldn’t it be great if people still gathered together in groups and listened to stories told in person? God knows it would have to be more interesting than what is on TV these days. Kids could learn about honor and morals and may actually be able to learn about their roots and where they come from. If we did that, we might actually retrieve some of the pride we used to have in our nation.
As a kid, when I went to family reunions, you wouldn’t find me running around playing with the other kids, but instead, sitting at the feet of the old people who could always be found sitting in a circle trading stories of times gone by. I simply loved it and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
I don’t know if there would be any interest in it these days, but I would really love to see this tradition revived. What do you think?