But the thing that matters most to us – some people call it love, some people call it God, some call it reason, is that other thing when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that’s the 3. – Ken Burns
Certain stories grab our attention and occupy a space in our permanent consciousness; truly good writing gets right under our skin and the power of a single sentence can stay with us forever. It’s writing like this that drives us and motivates us to someday be that story or at least tell that story.
The story has been part of the human tradition for centuries, and can be seen as one of the oldest art forms. From the pre-Homeric oratorical times to the post-industrial era of written texts, the word has been held as the highest truth and is an important part of our cultural lexicon.
American documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, understands the power of a compelling story, but admits to storytelling’s manipulative intention. Any tale is latent with intention. Interacting with a story is like being guided through a narrative journey–the writer grabs your hand and says, ‘Look at this, not this,’ ‘Notice this.’ The presentation and execution of a story is almost more important than the tale itself is; in many ways, the medium is the message.
Similarly to how Burns continues to engage in his historical pursuit, our own desire to wake the dead is the reason we continue to tell these stories. We want to remind ourselves that although we are mortal, we have a continued existence through the almost mythologized family narrative. And of course, someday, we want to be someone’s Big Story.