So what is the impulse that drives us to tell stories?
I think it truly is a human need: the need to pass on wisdom, the need to cause laughter, the need to be heard. People have been telling stories for centuries, even before written language was invented. And for centuries, people have found creative ways to be heard.
Take for example this petroglyph. Preserved on a rock somewhere in Indiana, this is a story. Is the face a god, or a person in a ceremonial mask? The story that was first told may have faded, but we can make our own story now.
Or what about this sculpture? It's Diana and her hound, but it could really tell any story that you want it to.
Art (and storytelling is just another form of art, regardless of the medium you employ) is beautifully subjective. The artist tells a story, and that is one truth, but the viewer may hear a different tale. And that's truth, as well.
As writers, we are storytellers. We get to play in worlds of our own imagining, crafting characters and situations on the page. Our words are our medium, and we are living out the human need to spin stories each time we sit down to write. But then, something magical happens. The story that we tell takes on a life of its own, becoming a different story for each person who encounters it.
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and that's the greatest challenge and blessing of a creative life.
Why do you tell stories? What are the stories you like to experience, not as an artist, but as a beholder?