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If you listen carefully, at the end you'll be someone else. Vyasa in the Mahabharata

Vyasa (sitting on high table), the common title for Indian oral storytellers, reciting epics among villagers, 1913 By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

Our lives have a beginning, a middle, and an end. We have 'up's and 'downs', and we grow and accumulate memories of the past, our attention to the present and our ability to divine our future anticipates our character which is arguably, the most important aspect of the human enterprise, consisting in interpretation, making connections, noticing resemblances and participating in community life.

An important part of life is telling our own story, an ancient and intimate tradition between parent and child, teacher and students and the storyteller and her listeners who are often physically close, seated together in a circle in a communal experience.

Storytelling in modern times has become linked to writing, and writing books in particular, but what if we find it hard to tell our story that way? What about our sense of place? How does location or the environment help us to tell our story? In particular, how does our recollection of the facts, atmosphere and fiction affect how we see ourselves?

Through making maps, the inflexibility of writing and the terrors of grand narratives are avoided if each of us incorporate our own personality and select locations to give a structure to our lives as they have been lived. As a result, our individual story will link with other tellers.

Storytelling has probably been around as long as human language. Our ancestors probably gathered around the evening fires and expressed their fears, their beliefs and their heroism through oral narratives. This long tradition of storytelling is evident in ancient cultures and community storytelling offers security of explanation; how life and its many forms began and why things happen, as well as entertainment and enchantment. Communities were strengthened and maintained through stories that connected the present, the past and the future.

Telling stories is a nurturing act for the listener, who is connected to the storyteller through the story, as well as for the storyteller who is connected to the listeners through the story.

Early storytelling probably originates in simple chants. People sang chants as they worked at grinding corn or sharpening tools. Our early ancestors created myths to explain natural occurrences. They assigned superhuman qualities to ordinary people, thus originating the hero tale.

Early storytelling combined stories, poetry, music, and dance. Those who excelled at storytelling became entertainers, educators, cultural advisors, and historians for the community. Through storytellers, the history of a culture was handed down from generation to generation.

The power of storytelling is reflected by Vyasa at the beginning of the Indian epic Mahabharata. Vyasa says, “If you listen carefully, at the end you'll be someone else.”

Journeying from land to land, storytellers would learn various regions's stories while also gathering news to bring back with them. Through exchanging stories with other storytellers, stories changed, making it difficult to trace the origins of many stories.

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yuj.it is structured on a 'geography of encounter'. Autogeographical memories are evinced on the assumption that complex human experiences cannot be fully understood either by interpreting historical texts, or by analysing human behaviour.

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