Why retell old stories?

Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This feels important as I’ve also been thinking about how we move change from embodied in law to embedded in culture. As a storyteller, I’ve been pondering how the stories we tell can help this embodiment. So my next few posts will address retelling stories in order to push our thinking.

A young woman catches the name of an South Asian Dalit activist and stops to listen. She wants to understand the work he did to retell the history in order to ground a modern identity for her people.

A police officer in rural Ontario laments that high school women are showing up at the hospital sexual assault centre feeling guilty they were raped. “We need to redo the ‘No means no’ campaign again,” she said.

A 70 year old Tamil woman laments that the reaction of the media and politicians to a couple of high profile rapes in her country shows that the change she has worked for all her adult life has not taken root. “Will it ever?” she wonders.

News media are preoccupied with the story of kidnapped Nigerian girls generating anger around the world. In Canada, a few people ask if we would please get just as angry about the aboriginal women.

It is one thing to change the laws so that injustice can be prosecuted in the courts. It is another to change the culture so that the injustice does not happen.

Intellectual examination of the stories that ground our culture is valuable. The examination of that mythology can surface ideas we’ve missed, identify the ideas that ground current thinking. Stories reach into our hearts and imaginations, touch us in a different way. Stories can transform our thinking.

What I hope to do for a while here is to dig into the stories to surface aspects we have missed and then to retell them in a new, potentially transformative way. Greek and Celtic stories are the foundation of my fiction and important to our culture; these will be my focus. Christian stories are part of my vocation, and we’ll look at a few of those. Tomorrow, I’ll look at the story commonly referred to as “The Widow’s Mite.”


About cathyhird

I am an author, former farmer, retired minister, and when I get a chance, a weaver. Storytelling that inspires is important to me. I have two novels set in ancient Greece, Moon of the Goddess and Before the New Moon Rises.
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