Our culture doesn’t think storytelling is sacred; we don’t set aside a time of year for it. We don’t hold anything sacred except what organized religion declares to be so. Artists pursue a sacred call, although some would buck and rear at having their work labeled like this. Artists are lucky to have a form in which to express themselves; there is a sacredness about that, and a terrific sense of responsibility. We’ve got to do it right.
– Ursula le Guin
The world is made up of stories – not atoms. Behind every person you meet, behind every place you visit, there is story.
UK author Neil Gaiman tells us the following: But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different. Books are the way that the dead communicate with us. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, the way that humanity has built on itself. Sometimes fiction is a way of coping with the poison of the world in a way that lets us survive it. And I remembered. I would not be the person I am without the authors who made me what I am. (end of Gaimon quote)
When a boy or girl withdraws from the world through reading a great story, they are developing that part of themselves that may help make our world a better place. Such time is never wasted, but rather a true investment in the future.
In the beginning was story. The caveman rushed back to his tribe and excitedly acted out his encounter with some Paleolithic beast. This was his story and forever after he would be remembered by this story. Every story has a sacred dimension not because of gods but because a man or woman’s sense of self and her world is created through them. These stories orient the life of a people through time, establishing the reality of their world. Thus, meaning and purpose are given to people’s lives. Without story, we do not exist. The Way of story is how we discover who we are.
Catherine Ann Jones, Prologue, The Way of Story
Check out excerpt from Time-Warner interview with author: