The Power of Storytelling

Written by novelist and creative badass Justine Musk, this was originally posted on her site,

“Those who tell the stories, rule the world”

— a quote attributed to both Plato and the Hopi American Indians

When I first started seeing a shrink, I had to get over my own self-consciousness about talking about myself (even though I was paying someone in order to do so). It felt so incredibly self-indulgent.

Yet the more I learn about myself, the more I learn about other people and how best to navigate the world. The large is in the small. If the world is in a grain of sand, the world is also in each one of us, if we’re brave enough to look close and be utterly, utterly honest.

Our mistake is in thinking – in being trained to think – that we are separate, isolated, and cut-off; that our experiences, by virtue of being our experiences, aren’t relevant to others; that our stories are of little value. Too confessional. Too self-indulgent.

But when you tell your story, and it resonates with another, a connection is made.

Enough connections grow into community. Or even a movement.

And that is power.

That is such real, dangerous power that one of the first actions of tyranny is to stamp out the voices of all but the chosen few.

Every act of magic begins with the words, the voice, to invoke that magic. To take away someone’s voice, to ground it into silence, is to steal magic.

And if your story doesn’t resonate, it doesn’t mean it holds no value. People will tell you this – they might even mock you and try to shout you down, sometimes under the guise of ‘constructive criticism’ – but the fault is not with you. It’s with the storytelling. To amplify your voice so that others will listen is both a skill and an art.

Always be learning:

How to make better art.

How to work your magic.

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