Everyone loves a good story

Nick Glunt

If there’s one type of person I can admire, it’s the good storyteller. It’s what I aspire to be, and I think I do a pretty good job of it.

Being a good storyteller isn’t about being a good writer. It’s about knowing what people want to listen to and conveying it in a way that keeps the listener or reader interested. Keep action, emotion and conflict at the forefront and there’s no issue.

Good storytelling is valued in the ancient history of almost every civilization all the way up to the present day. The medium has evolved over time from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics to “Aesop’s Fables” to Homer’s “Odyssey.”

As time passed and technologies evolved, stories appeared on the radio, film and television. And with those new technologies came an unwillingness to read. But because we are so obsessed with good storytelling, older works like “The Lord of the Rings” and “Beowulf” — stories that have become unlikely to be read by the general masses — became films with which to contemporize them.

These new evolutions of culture and storytelling make original stories impossible to avoid. These stories take the form of movies and, my personal favorite, television shows.

I followed “Lost” from start to finish, despite some people’s complaints that it lost sense and became confusing. But if you watch it carefully and actually pay attention, it all made sense. Aside from “Lost,” I’ve found myself devoting time to stories told in shows like “Dexter,” “Fringe,” “V,” and the now cancelled “FlashForward.” And just two weeks ago, “The Walking Dead” premiered, which put my interest in an undead chokehold and refused to let go.

When friends of mine tell me they have no time to watch television or to read books, it hurts me a little. Storytelling is an art form, as much as paintings and sculptures and music. In fact, I could even assert that storytelling is the primary substance to every type of art. You can’t have paintings, novels or dance without some kind of story to tell.

So in a world where reading is becoming less and less common, I urge everyone reading this column to watch television shows. Movies are a strong second, but viewers have much less time to connect with characters unless it’s particularly well told. Dramas allow viewers to connect over a longer period of time and to really understand the story being told.

I’m not saying you’ve got to watch the shows I do (even though I think they’re great stories), but you should at least watch something. See storytelling as a work of art and appreciate it for what it is: creativity in action.

Contact Nick Glunt at [email protected].