Storytelling is Universal
Margaret Atwood once wrote “You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it.” She was not talking about one group of people over another, not talking about a single career, she was speaking universally. Every human in existence has come with the innate ability to tell a story. Whether it be their own story, a story about somebody else, or even a story in a fantastical world, it doesn’t matter; the ability is instinct.
There are people who claim that creative writing and professional storytelling should be kept to those who pursue it as a career–I claim the opposite. I base this claim on Margaret Atwood’s words and my own experiences. Storytelling does not always have to come from a view of professional careerism; it can come from a place of love and passion for the craft. It can be an escape from reality for those whose lives seem to offer less than magnificent circumstances. A work written from passion can be just as amazing as one from somebody who spends their life dedicated to authorship. Claiming that writing belongs to one group is like asserting that breathing is withheld from those who have fully functioning lungs–it’s ridiculous. Storytelling is as natural to humans as breathing and as such it should be recognized as being just as important and universal.
In every sense of the world, storytelling is around us, maybe not in a written medium but perhaps in an expansive colorful design. There is no one way to tell a story, so why would we claim it belongs to only a single career (or major!), style, or genre. I want to read stories about dragons and magic just as much as I want to read an inspiring memoir about the hardships of living in different circumstances. Billions of people, trillions of stories, and all of them are part of our universal human need to tell, and to receive, stories.