We Are Story Stuff

It’s been a long week. The future has never been certain, but now it is even more so. Stories are not, by far, the only things that keep us going, but they do help. They remind us, sometimes, of our humanity. Of what we can survive. They remind us of our infinite kindness, the dangers and consequences of our fear and cruelty; they remind us of love, of light and laughter, and the incredible bands of kinship and resistance. “We are,” Carl Sagan once said, famously, “star stuff” — and I agree, but we are also story stuff. We thrive on what we create for each other.

Photo CC by Arielle Fragassi

I love podcasts. They’re awesome, and I’m in love with the concept of using podcasting as a medium to tell stories — when I was a sophomore, one of my friends and I (inspired by podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale) tried to plot out our own podcast-story. I can’t quite recall what the plot was, but we made up a really sweet logo. I’d love to try that again, someday — it’s a better solo project than making a video game, in my opinion. Or in my experience. Less “years in the making” and more “making this up as I go.”

I do, however, have a hard time listening to podcasts; I’m very bad at multitasking when it comes to listening to something (other than music) and working. I get caught up in the podcast and get off track in the work, or I get caught up in the work and tune out the podcast. Haven’t found a way to get around that, yet.

A critical component of digital literacy is a commitment to lifelong learning; something I’ve been thinking about more and more as the end of school draws closer and closer. Podcasts are an excellent tool, not just for inside the classroom but also beyond it; I’ve talked previously about technology allowing for an instructor to freely bring experts into their spaces of learning, and podcasts are yet another excellent way to accomplish this. They’re also an excellent tool for self-enrichment; there are podcasts about nearly everything, and the Internet allows for us to listen to experts in our daily lives. So it’ll be a useful tool when I inevitably miss college lectures (and no, I’m not actually being sarcastic).

However, I did not — emboldened by the Welcome to Night Vale recommendation in one of the provided links (and seriously, go check out WtNV; it’s fantastic, it’s important, and I routinely regret being…at least a season behind) — select an educational serial podcast to listen to.

I’m a follower of the times, and I’m curious, and one podcast has filtered its way down into my online circles (I was surprised to find out that it’s two years old). I’ve been impressed and intrigued by the fan-content, and so I decided to check it out. Here it is (the image is a link!):

I know nothing about D&D (except the very, very basics), but hey, I’d heard a lot about this, and I like what I’ve heard so far! It’s fun! Please note the Explicit marker (there’s the Swears; nothing out of the ordinary for my ears, but I’d imagine parents might take issue for their children).

The versatility of Internet-based mediums is fantastic. It allows for unfettered acts of imagination and creativity. Whatever you can imagine, there are the tools to bring it to life.

One quote in the header of Educational Uses of Storytelling caught my eye as I was browsing the many videos. (I’d encourage you to check out this one; it’s quite touching). But the quote that caught my eye was:

“I know only one thing about the technologies that await us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with them.” -Jason Ohler

Life is uncertain; there’s nothing, as the saying goes, certain but death and taxes. I’d like to amend that by adding on stories. Stories are practically part of our genetic makeup; from the moment we grasped language — and perhaps even before that — humans became storytellers.

It’s what makes us incredible, and dangerous, and so very, very special. Random chance and star stuff following natural laws to someday, despite odds, make us: the way the universe found to tell stories about itself.

And what a story it’ll turn out to be.


5 thoughts on “We Are Story Stuff

  1. I really enjoyed the beginning of this. I also had a lot of trouble multitasking. I even have the same issue while I read sometimes. I will start thinking of something else and realize I just read four pages and have no idea what they said.


    1. Thank you!
      Sometimes I can’t even listen to music with lyrics or a quick beat while working or reading — it just gets to distracting! I’ve found that soundtracks from video games actually help me focus, though — the tracks that play in the background are often just meant to be general atmosphere and aren’t intrusive; they provide extra sound but don’t really distract from a task.


  2. Good blog with in depth discussion of the power of story. We’ve always been storytellers and it only seems natural that we keep spinnin’ yarns with the new forms of technology thrown at us.


    1. Thanks! I’m so very interested to see what new forms appear and evolve over my lifetime; I’m already ecstatic over things like Netflix Original Series (they’re so good!) – it’s my opinion that television shows is where it’s at these days – and shorter forms like Vine (rest in peace), and I’m just very happy to be alive in such a day and age.


  3. Great post! I am growing to love podcasts, but I can definitely relate to the issue of focusing on them. I am definitely a visual learner rather than an auditory learner, so I have found myself rewinding several times when I realize I’ve been spacing out. Hopefully it’s something I can get better about. Thanks for sharing!


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