Why Stories Are Important

Little Women Illustration

“And it’s a human need to be told stories. The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.” ~ Alan Rickman

Today is my first acting class of the semester. For the first time in eleven years of teaching at the college, I have almost as many acting II students as I have in acting I, thanks to my collaborations with Dave Dahl. We’ve always offered acting I and II concurrently because very few students continue on after they’ve taken the first semester. I can understand why. They take acting for a fun fine art credit. They are not theatre majors, but Cochise College follows the Liberal Arts model. Every student, no matter what their major, must take one or two classes of math, and/or science, English, social science, fine art, and maybe even foreign language. I like this model because, as I learned during my undergraduate career, my world expanded more by having a smattering of exposure to disciplines I normally would not study.

Because of my Liberal Arts education, I want to continue learning more about the social sciences, history, and even about scientific discoveries. But story telling has always been the thing I’m drawn to the most. That’s how I ended up involved in theatre and that’s why I became a writer.

Here is what I tell my acting students: By studying acting, even for a semester, they should become better listeners, have a better understanding of human behavior, which in turn should help them be more sympathetic and even empathetic. All of those budding skills should help them in their future lives as they communicate with family, friends, and co-workers. But the biggest benefit of acting is learning to understand who they are, because acting is all about demonstrating the emotions of the characters they play. They have to dig deep to find the ways they are like their characters.

Another thing studying stories in the various forms does for us is to help us experience life in ways we would not be able to do otherwise. Maybe that’s why I love stories that are big sweeping epics and stories about quiet inner struggles. Right now I’m reading Louisa May Alcott’s book, Little Women. I’ve seen and loved three movie versions and will see this latest one as well, but for some reason I’d never read the book. I’m so glad I waited.

I never thought of it when I watched the various versions of the movie, but Little Women is as much a feminist story as are all of Jane Austen’s works or those of the Brontë sisters. The feminism is subtle. Each of the stories show women living their lives the best way they can given the restrictions they face and in the end most of the character’s dreams come true. Another thing I love about these stories is that each character has a different dream just like men do. Yes, most of them want to become wives and mothers, but they have other aspirations as well. They want to live well rounded lives combining home life with using their talents for the good of others.

In recent years most of the books I’ve read are by women authors. It wasn’t a conscious decision. And it’s not that I don’t like books written by men, or even movies about and by men, It’s that I long to see the world through a different perspective. The male view of life has been so prevalent that when a “women’s” story comes along it gets lots of scrutiny and even criticism that I think is unfair.

With the idea of expanding my world view in mind, this year I want to read and watch stories from other countries. It’s a good way to broaden my understanding of human nature and see the world from a new perspective.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. If you like what you read here, please share it with a friend.

Have a blessed weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must find a way to put it back together. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

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