The Art of Storytelling


I love the art of storytelling. My favourite genre to read is mystery. I wonder at the ability of the author to weave in so many storylines and possibilities – and then to bring them all together at the very end. As a reader, I am always delightfully surprised with the ending and filled with awe that I didn’t follow that thread – in fact, probably didn’t even see that thread!

But the art of storytelling, to me, is often about the ability to create something magical, something that nudges the imagination to flight! A child that can soar through the night sky skipping across stars and shooting comets. A dog that can talk about adventure and politics. A tree who has witnessed a century of conversations under its canopy and shares the lessons that come with such wisdom.

If we are not connected to realism or the pull of gravity, our stories can give us flight.

This I see in my small grandchildren’s world. Four of them have now reached the age in which they have discovered imagination. I can sit quietly and watch and listen as they become super heroes, race car drivers and builders.

We have a large box in our family room that was delivered to our door over a year ago – with a large reclining rocker. My husband collapsed the box and brought it into our family room where, with the use of duct tape, made a room with doors, skylight and windows. It takes up most of the room, but we refuse to break it up. Our grandchildren run to it as soon as they come into the house. It is their space ship, a fast food drive-thru, a tea house – and sometimes just a quiet place to play without the commotion of a big family.

I can fold myself into that box – just! Most of the time, I have a little one with me. I am the guest for afternoon team, or the lieutenant to the commander of a space force, or I am a serious participant in a very important discussion about cows, or worms, or fish. But once in a while, I fold myself into the box and just sit – wondering about how such magnificent and magical imaginations can begin in a cardboard room. I look at the walls of the box from the inside – and imagine them opening into worlds that we can only see through the eyes of our grandchildren.

I love the art of storytelling. There are no limits. There are no rules. And every story that begins with the words “Imagine this”, is delightful...........

Stirling Cross

Elizabeth Pietrantonio