Then I looked at the people around me, who were listening closely. That was an experience that did not happen often to me – perhaps didn’t happen to me at all. Usually I got about three-and-a-half second at most to engage the listener into my story, and I never succeeded in drawing them in for a longer period than that. I bored people as much as they bored me.
The more I think about it, the more I find that the world is filled with stories. Millions, trillions of stories in all kinds of shapes. The best ones, in my opinion, are the kinds of stories that we call ‘art’. And I mean that in a broad sense: poetry, prose, theatre, film, visual arts…
Personally I dabble in three different art forms: prose, visual art and film. They are entirely different techniques, but I find each satisfying in its own way. Besides, in the end they are all about telling a story. And I have plenty of those to tell!
You may have noticed I enjoy the kinds of stories that consider societies in an extreme form: dystopian societies and societies that face the end of the world, in particular. I think about those situations a lot and even wrote my Master’s thesis about (secular) post-apocalyptic stories.
However, the end of the world and the dystopia can also be found in each of my three artforms. My novel ‘The Grand Asylum’ (see the writing section) considers a near-utopia that slowly morphs into a dystopia. My ‘Time is Running Out’ series of polymer clay worlds (see the art section) is true to its name, for me at least. And while I have yet to create an end-of-the-world film, I have a script for one of those lying on my shelf, waiting for the right time and opportunity.
On a more general level, I think the telling of stories is what makes humans unique in the animal world. We have taken communication beyond the immediate and use it not only to provide reflections on the present, but also on the past, the future and the it-will-never-happen. To me, that ability holds an enormous amount of power.
So whenever I look around me, I see stories, and I love that. What do you think? Do you think stories are unique for the human species? Do you think the world is about stories? In what way do you use stories yourself? I would love to hear your opinion.