The power of story in our lives



Opinion columnist Cristian Ortiz explores the power of storytelling and the ubiquity of stories in our daily lives.

CRISTIAN ORTIZ, Opinion Columnist

If I said that I wanted to tell you a story, how would you react?

Would you be intrigued and happy to hear it? Or would you pass, think I was weird or not even care at all?

See, when I tell people that I’m an English major, they automatically ask, “So where do you want to teach?”

I then follow up by explaining how I do not have any desire to teach, but I want to tell stories for a living.

“I’m a writer,” I’d say.

They then usually look at me like I’m crazy and start to mentally estimate the age that I will be when I am a broke, job-less English major who loves to tell stories.

It’s perfectly okay, though. I know that it is all worth it.

The real reason I’ve chosen to study English and creative writing is because I have an unrelenting faith in the power of story. I absolutely adore stories and am at my happy place when I am in the middle of crafting or experiencing one.

As you well know, story is a huge spectrum that contains countless genres and realms of narratives. That’s where I find the infinite beauty in story; one can come from anywhere.

In fact, when we were all young, our imagination fed upon and created stories. Dreams are little narratives that inspire, bring awe or sometimes even frighten us.

I find it awfully sad that as we grow older, we often lose touch with our imagination and tend to ignore the stories that made us who we are. And the worst part is that we think that is a necessary part of “growing up.”

But what we sometimes don’t realize is the fact that stories are a part of everything.

I was recently flipping through a series of different news articles on my phone when I came to a realization. Not only is story a wonderful creative entity, but it is also necessary.

As I flipped through the entertainment articles, I found that industries involving movies, music, television, theater, video games and literature are absolutely nothing without stories.

These same industries are a big part of our economy and bring billions of dollars in revenue each year. Whether we realize it or not, we pay a lot of money for stories.

I then started going through my social media feed (which sparks and documents stories) and saw some posts about history.

All of history is a story. I saw posts from friends and family, which reminded me that even basic human interaction and relationships are threaded with us telling stories, relating to them and creating them through experiences.

I also saw posts about the #MeToo movement, and I started asking myself where the movement would be if brave individuals didn’t tell their stories and inspire others to share their own painful experiences.

Without them telling their stories, there wouldn’t be a movement.

I saw posts about March for Our Lives and how students from Parkland, Florida are going all over the nation and demanding that something changes with regard to gun laws.

They are influencing people with their courage and their stories.

I saw posts relating to my religion, and I realized that there wouldn’t be any religion without stories.

Basically, story is everything.

So, go out there and share your stories. Craft them. Absorb them.

You don’t have to be an English major like me. I chose that path. All you have to do is feed your imagination and sometimes return to your youth.

I love stories. I think you should too.