“What is it about stories—what are their particularities—that enables them to work as they do? More than mere curiosity is at stake in this question, because human life depends on the stories we tell: the sense of self that those stories impart, the relationships constructed around shared stories, and the sense of purpose that stories both propose and foreclose.”
Arthur W. Frank, from his book, letting stories breathe: a socio-narratology.
The meaning we make in the world is found in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other–and the raw materials for constructing those stories are found in our culture. We are influenced by our families, our friends, our organizations, religion, government, media, movies, books, video games, etc. And though we may be born into a story, it too is influenced by the cultural background.
What are stories, and where do they come from? That’s perhaps a more complicated question than it appears to be, but for this conversation I’d propose that a story is a series of events, strung together according to a plot, or a theme, taking place over time, and constructed in chronological order. In terms of understanding where they come from, I’d say they are constructed in the society in which we live; that is to say, we are all influenced by our friends, our families, our schools, our governments, our religions, our organizations, social media, television, movies, books, magazines, video games, all have a say in how our stories come to be. In fact, sometimes we’re born into a story, but it’s still based on what we learn from the culture.
Do we write our own stories, or are do they just happen to us? Are we relegated to only being storytellers, or do we participate in the making of the story?