PC #103 – The Importance of Story

I spent this evening watching a fascinating documentary with my son. It was called Indie Game – The Movie. And it was about several independent video game designers, and what they went through to make their games.

They were/are true geniuses, and extraordinary artists.

I don’t play videogames – never have, and I don’t have the time now to learn the language. But the film spoke to me about the shifting shape of story, and the importance of story in our lives.

These videogames, the really smart ones (and yes, believe me there are some incredibly smart and artistic games out there) just open out the mind. Not all video games are violent shoot-em-ups with blood and gore, just like all movies aren’t dumb franchise tentpoles.

There are some amazing independent art films made each year, just like there are some amazing independent videogames.

The capacity to tell stories in different forms has exploded in recent times. The best videogames tell the most touching and profound stories. E-publishing has opened up opportunities for authors who might have been denied a platform in past years – denied by agents and publishers who are now scratching to hold onto their jobs in a quickly shifting landscape.

Journalism too is undergoing fundamental change. Photojournalism too. Bloggers and others are shifting into the place where journalists once reigned supreme.

But we still need quality journalism. We still need the Woodwards and Bernsteins. The Seymour Hershs. (He broke the My Lai massacre, and changed the course of the Vietnam War. He later broke Abu Grhaib.)

Blogs are a new form of storytelling. Twitter is instantaneous communication, but in 140 characters twitterers, (or “twits!”) tell their stories. Facebook and Instagram are a new form of storytelling too. YouTube and Vimeo offer the kind of video storytelling that wasn’t possible ten years ago.

We need stories. We need stories to learn, to grow, to understand, to proselytise, to change the world.

I am proud to say I’m a storyteller.


11 thoughts on “PC #103 – The Importance of Story

  1. Bill,

    You are a storyteller extraordinaire. What a very special gift you have been given.

    Proof is in the number of blog followers you have collected since your blog for 25 friends and family exploded into this wonderful PGS family.

    Bravo, my friend!



  2. Hi Bill – another fabulous post! Much to contemplate with this one.
    As I read the post my immediate thought was the Camino started as a story for all of us – whether we read a book on it, heard a radio interview, a TV story, a movie, or we heard about the Camino through a conversation. The door to the Camino was opened by someone else’s story, and look where we all are now – that’s the power of story.
    Cheers – Jenny


  3. Storytelling is so important. So much of our history is passed on through storytelling, symbol and ritual.

    Jesus was a storyteller. Many of his most profound lessons were told through the parables. He used the ordinary, everyday events to deliver his message. They are true to life and people can relate to them. As with all stories, people pick and choose what means the most to them. Stories are interpreted through one’s experiences.

    As a teacher, I tell stories every day. The students – young and not so young, remember the stories and then associate the message or key teaching.
    I am sure we all loved the stories told to us when we were young.

    Bill, you have masterfully told stories of your Camino experience, of the people you met, of the humanity, the exhilaration, the suffering, the despair, the joy, the promise. Your words paint amazing images and touch the hearts of your readers. They have had a profound effect on so many people. Your photos enhance your words but cannot replace them. I am looking forward to the book, where your words will, once again, delight, inspire, entertain and teach.

    Storytelling is from the heart, of the heart and for the heart.


    • Hi Anne,

      Yes, Jesus got his messages across through story and parable, as did the Buddha.

      And that’s why they still resonat, answers till find meaning in them.

      You as a teacher, as you so rightly point out, do the same thing – you get information across, and you impart your knowledge, through stories which are digestible to your students.

      Thank you for what you said about my telling of stories. Observation and curiosity are such important traits to have. And ruthless honesty.



    • Hi Anne – a wonderful comment, beautifully written. Would I be able to use the last statement as one of my quotes for Rabanal please? I will acknowledge you as the author.
      Cheers – Jenny


        • Dear Anne – thank you for your permission to share your quote.
          The refugio is Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal del Camino, between Astorga and Molinaseca. It’s owned by the Confraternity of St James in the UK. If you stay there you will find hospitaleros from many different countries volunteering there – I believe there are usually three. I hope you do get a chance to stay there. You can give me the ‘heads up’ on what it’s like! All suggestions for improvement gratefully received!
          So close for you now! That very first step is going to be so, so wonderfully overwhelming –
          Every blessing to you Anne –
          Jenny xo


    • Julie,

      Thank you mate!

      I’m blessed to have you as an audience!

      It would be pretty lonely if I was blogging for just my next door neighbour’s cat!

      You, and the others here, make it special for me.



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