Storytelling is among the oldest art forms and has likely been around as long as human language, connecting present experiences to the past and future.
Storytelling is a way to make sense of the world and develop connections. The storytellers share a part of themselves and listeners reveal and share part of themselves through their reception of the story. The art of live oral storytelling has been on full display in our region recently and is a wonderful addition.
Public radio listeners know StoryCorps, born in Grand Central Station in New York City, and broadcast on hundreds of stations nationally since 2003. StoryCorps has given more than 400,000 people nationwide, including Durango residents, the chance to record interviews about their lives.
As participants to last week’s “PostSecret: The Show” know, storytelling can be powerful, even life-saving. Frank Warren, the show’s creator, came to Durango to present this one-of-a-kind, staged confessions of strangers. Warren’s show demonstrates how secrets can be both walls and bridges and that the painful parts can serve us, too. He is proud that since 2005, PostSecret has given a voice to those in need and saved lives that otherwise might have been lost to suicide.
That the wildly successful local storytelling project, The Raven Narratives, presented “Talon Tales,” its first combined Cortez and Durango youth storytelling event, this weekend is no surprise. Young people, especially, need to share their stories, too.
One of the weekend performers, Southwest Open School freshman Alexandra York, told a difficult story about the loss of a friend. She wrapped up by saying, “It’s OK to not be OK,” a sentiment York courageously offered to The Raven Narratives’ audience and, as is its custom, one it received with open arms.
There are three events this week in Durango that emphasize storytelling and our common humanity. Joy Harjo, this year’s Fort Lewis College Common Reading Experience author, will read from her memoir Crazy Brave from 7 to 9 p.m. today at Whalen Gymnasium, and will perform Wednesday at the Strater. Of her story, Harjo says, “I want (readers) to take away that everyone has gifts, that we all have our own path and nobody’s is the same. You never know anyone’s story.”
“Durango Diaries,” launched last month by the Herald, takes the community stories we tell daily to the stage. Wednesday’s Valentine’s Day program is aptly themed “Love” and features the love story of Dan and Jon Bender, Lily Russo and Oliver Scott-Tomlin, and couples counselor David Sherman. Infused with humor, it will kick off at 5:30 p.m. at the Powerhouse.
On Saturday at FLC, the city’s Community Relations Commission and the Embracing Diversity Initiative are hosting the ninth annual Diversity Dialogue designed to “challenge what we think we know about ourselves and others.”
In a fragmented world in which so many feel isolation, we welcome and rejoice at the resurgence of storytelling, its power to create intimacy and to heal.
An earlier version of this editorial misspelled Jon Bender’s name.