The world needs stories.

by Todd Foley

I love stories. Always have, always will. Whether it’s discovering a story or telling one myself, I don’t think a day has passed where I haven’t encountered a snapshot of someone else’s narrative.

Stories can be born from friendly conversation, personal testimony or faith systems. Whatever the source, stories make us human. I fully concur with author Philip Pullman: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

Here are some ways I’ve been encountering stories lately:

  • Story through listening. My church is going through a book called The Story, which goes through the scriptures as a cover-to-cover narrative. I get the great joy of interviewing several people in the congregation this year, listening to their unique stories as they share how they see their individual stories fitting into scripture’s overarching narrative and then writing out their stories as part of a series of installments. What a privilege it is to hear someone’s story and then to share it with others.
  • Story through reading. I love reading stories filled with characters who are introduce me to entirely different settings and  subcultures. For example, my current book is Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Not only am I becoming immersed in Swedish culture, but I’m brought into the mindset of a gothic, vengeful computer hacker. Yet as different as I am from Lisbeth Salander, I’m able to understand her worldview by walking alongside her in her journey. As Carl Sagan says, “Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of different epochs.”
  • Story through collaborating. For the past several months, I’ve been working on a book with two awesome dudes. We’ve never met in person, yet we connected over a mutual passion for sharing our own stories and, hopefully, inspiring others to share their stories as well. More details to come!
  • Story through writing. I’ve recently started working on my next novel. The story idea came to me well over a year ago, but I’m now in the process of discovering characters, identifying themes and mapping a plot. More to come on this as well!

What’s your favorite way to discover [or tell] stories? Why?