Friday, June 22, 2007

Russell Hoban on Why Storytelling Matters

Writing is the primary art. If the world had to be stripped of all but one of the arts, writing would be the one that would be kept because it communicates all our experience much more than painting or music. It's absolutely the primal art: someone saying, This is what happened to me and I want to tell you about it. We all have an urge to re-present our experience and to gain new understandings of it. Something happens, and then it's gone forever, and so you tell about it, and in telling about it you find something funny about it, or you learn something from it, or suddenly you see the tragedy of it. You have more life and more worldview when you talk about your experience, so that more of its aspects are revealed. There seems to be a human need to do that, to reexamine what has occurred or what might occur. Art is long and life is fleeting, right? Life slips by like shit through a tin horn, so in order to have anything of your life in the world, you have to make a story out of it in one way or another, whether you're playing it back in your memory, laying it out as a factual history, or fictionalizing it.

--Russell Hoban, author of Riddley Walkerand Kleinzeit,quoted in Alive and Writing: Interviews with American Authors of the 1980s,by Larry McCaffery and Sinda Gregory, 1987, p. 150.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 comment:

Namit Arora said...

This reminded me of another writer's take on storytelling, posted on Shunya's Notes.