Oral Tradition

The oral tradition is something few people think about when they want a good story. Does it even exist anymore? Has it had an effect on anyone in this age of technology? I can answer... YES!

Do you remember camping with your family or scout troop and telling ghost stories around the fire? Have you had a grandparent that regaled you with tales of life in the "olden days" or having to walk ten miles uphill in a snowstorm with no shoes just to go to school? I bet you can recall someone telling you a story that gave you some of the same feelings books or movies do.

I love the oral tradition. When you tell a story, you can change it in the blink of an eye and no one but you will know the difference provided you haven't told it before. You can watch your audience and tailor it to what they want based off of their reactions to elements within the story. (Immediate alterations are something you cannot do on paper.) The best part is, the story can change hands from person to person and each one can add or subtract elements to their liking, making a thousand variations out of a single story. It is one of the most beautiful shaping processes in existence.

I still tell stories in this way. My husband, poor soul that he is, gets the brunt of my energies whenever I feel the need to recite a tale. After I am done, he always tells me that I should write them down but I told him I can't, the stories are his now.

What would you do, if the story, any story, was yours to tell as you wished? Does the oral tradition still hold up for you?

Telling tall tales,

Jennifer Jackson

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