By Jill Burgoyne
Storytelling is a form of creating and has been a part of humanity since the beginning. It has helped relate history and reinforce the ideals in any given society.
Somewhere between the 8th to 11th centuries, an anonymous poet authored a text which survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. This piece of literature has become, perhaps, the most important Anglo Saxon text which still exists today.
The text is called Beowulf and it is written in Old English (which is a foreign language in relation to Modern English) about a Scandinavian Hero named Beowulf. Beowulf saves the Danes in Geatland from a monster, Grendel. He then also defeats Grendel's vengeful mother. Beowulf becomes King of the Geats and his demise is realized by a wound from a dragon-which he defeats. The poem then gives details of his burial and so forth. I have personally read it about 4 times in various classes for my English linguistics degree at ASU. Each class had a different focus, but it was typically accepted that this poem was representative of the societal and some religious values during that time period.
These values are supported by other works of literature, but how would you feel if you were that anonymous author? We don't know if the author was male or female (we assume it's a male poet) but we really have no idea. What if your creation was one of the only manuscripts or artifacts that survived from the world as we know it today?
If we could go two thousand years into the future, what would they say about our values? Copies of Twilight, Harry Potter, and various Disney titles are pretty prevalent. They might have some of the best chances of surviving time =). They could say that our world favors good conquering evil- generally. They might observe the 'evolution of the equality of men and women'. What would they say about our family values? What might they say about our views of death and dying?
Many thousands, even millions of stories are told and created every day and it seems to be that they reflect and reinforce what we consider as values. I love finding uplifting themes such as good conquers evil or dreams come true or marriages can work. I love storytelling and hearing stories, because these stories not only reveal individual thoughts and desires, but also hint at a greater picture.
What picture of history am I lighting with the words I write? Everyone creates. Whether you tell stories, choreograph dances, orchestrate music scores, create food dishes, paint on a canvas, or build a home for your family to live in, your creations contribute to the general condition of humanity.
On that note, I think I'll go create myself a snack while my two little girls are still napping and I can sneak an Oreo!