Storyteller, Mythology and the 21st Century
— Mary Gavan
As a Celtic storyteller, my preference is for triads. The triad I consider is storyteller – mythology - 21st Century.
Regarding the 21st Century; the media disseminates news of injustice, poverty and war that befall mankind in its search for civilization. Much less reported are peace, progress and prosperity. Even less reported is the innate goodness of people. Where does the truth of the 21 Century lie? Which myths are perpetuated? What events does a storyteller highlight?
Storytellers resemble the media myth makers of the 21st Century. We both use the same treasure chest of tales, technique and thoughtfulness. We both carefully craft according to our agenda. The difference lies in the outcome. In brief, the outcome is the personal story versus the product advertising. Advertising is backed by substantial money and clout. Paradoxically, hope for a better future in 21st Century exists where traditional storytelling prevails.
As a storyteller, my art form demands researching, crafting and sharing. My research is to look into print resources and to listen to ordinary people. As a committed user of public transport, I acknowledge that listening in transit provides wee gems; for example, a Mexican couple recounted the repatriation and respectful burial of their compatriot, Julia Pastrana, after 153 years.
Storytellers listen. I listen as life unfolds diverse stories afore my eyes and ears. I listen to the foibles and frustrations of ordinary people for these are the stories I tell. To paraphrase Chekhov, my stories witness people, not judge them. My work is to find the details necessary for truth telling and craft them into a story so that others can hear the beauty and the angst of humanity and thereby experience the range of their own humanity.
The details of Pastrana’s story came to light in a New York Times article. In that one article, I saw two interwoven stories: Firstly, the story of 19th Century Julia Pastrana who, in life and death, toured Europe touted as the ugliest woman until her corpse came...