Storytelling is among the most ancient of arts. To hear a story is to be touched in heart and mind, in body and spirit. The storyteller gives the tale; the listener receives it, responding out of his or her own being. The story comes alive. It flourishes and grows.
Storytelling began quite naturally — when someone said, “You know what happened today?” and the story was passed along. It developed through the telling of the histories of families and peoples; it spun itself into epics; it was the original voice of myth and legend and folktale and memory, of law and custom, of social mores and wisdom. It went from one person and generation to another by the simple medium of voice to ear.
For centuries, storytelling was central to human culture but as the printed word grew ever more important storytelling fell into danger of becoming lost. Fortunately, humankind has a habit of recognizing what we truly need just before it disappears. Storytelling is flourishing once again.
In Canada, there are storytelling groups in communities from coast to coast to coast; there are festivals in centres large and small. Most groups hold story swaps where all are welcome to come and share a story; most nurture a wondrous range of interests and styles. All of the groups have a common purpose: to ensure that the ancient art of storytelling continues in our world.