We are all story-tellers
There are more stories on this planet than people. They are varied, they are interesting, they are poignant. They are often funny, sometimes heartbreaking. They are the stories of people from a million different backgrounds who want to share their words with the world. Human beings are natural born storytellers. We’ve been scrawling our journeys, our fears, our worries, our accomplishments, on the walls of caves since we began walking upright. We’ve used them to connect to our own communities and to share our lives with communities who may not know who we are. Stories are so much more than words.
A lot of what we do at Global Wordsmiths, aside from working with aspiring authors, is with marginalized communities and charities working with disadvantaged people, and we love it. Helping them get their stories out into the world is a privilege. When we have our initial session with them, one of the first things we say is, “If you can speak, you can write” (and by this we mean communication in all senses, verbal and otherwise). When we begin a new project, the people involved often come in with concerns. “I’m not any good at writing” is one we hear all the time.
Cave people didn’t worry about being ‘good enough’ to tell their stories. They told them because they mattered, because there was strength in remembering and helping those who went ahead to navigate what could be dangerous or difficult terrain. In this way, stories today can help us in much the same way. Where have you been? Where did it take you? How did you make it through?
These questions are universal, and whether they’re told in memoir or in fiction, they’re the questions that resonate with us as a human race. When we help people write their stories, these are the questions we always come back to. The answers, and the way they’re told, differ widely, adding to the great plethora of stories in the world from own-voices who have lived, loved, and lost along the way.
At Global Wordsmiths, we don’t believe in the ivory tower. We don’t believe in gate-keeping. We don’t think you need an educational background or an innate ability to write.
We do believe in creativity, in being able to teach the craft of story to those who want to learn how to construct something that reaches readers on an emotional level, no matter where or who they are. Yes, we do think that it’s important to understand how stories work; that there are ‘rules’ you can learn in order to make your work clearer, more emotive, so you can say what you want to say and have it taken to heart. And once you know those rules, you can fly, bending and breaking them as fits your work, your voice, your story. We believe in helping writers develop a foundation they can build on in their own way and in their own time, one that gives them the confidence to keep writing, to keep developing their own voice, to get rid of that feeling that “I don’t know how to write.”
And just two weeks ago we started a new and exciting project with QStory Northampton, a queer collective of people who have come together with the desire to tell their stories to the world. Some are writers who’ve been on courses, some are aspiring writers, others are trying their hand at writing for the very first time. We’re delivering this course via Zoom (a platform many millions of us are getting to grips with!), and after just two sessions, we can’t wait to get to the words. We’ve heard the usual refrains of, “I can’t write,” “This is probably crap,” and “I don’t know if this is any good,” but then those people have read out their words and my goodness, are they good? You bet. And all they really needed was encouragement, belief, faith. Someone to tell them that their words are great, that their story is very much worth telling.
We believe in people. We believe in their desire to share stories in whatever form so that we all reach across boundaries to create bridges of words that unify us in our hope for a better, more accepting, more integrated world.
From cave paintings to computers, we are storytellers. Look out for the QStory Northampton anthology coming soon!