“Stories are not merely facts and information, they are improvisation and intrusion of creativity on the storyteller’s part.” — Bani Basu
Stories have always influenced us. Often enough it was seen that stories were told and retold to the point that people would make decisions based on their favorite character’s decision in a similar situation.
Do stories come to you or do you seek out stories?
Sarah: I read stories from different generations. Different cultures. I look for stories… But then I identify myself in different stories. I tell stories which I sometimes identify with.
Bani: I feel lucky to get the stories from life and then I write about them.
How culture specific is storytelling?
Sarah: Stories are both local and universal. I read stories from different cultures and the only difference is in one place they are eating bread and in another dumplings.
Bani: The culture specific terms and ideas are difficult to introduce in another culture. But as a creative writer I don’t believe in barriers. There would be barriers… Culture specific terms .. But the entire value system is almost the same, even with small differences.
How do make a story your own?
Sarah: I tell stories which are retold down the generations and collected by an anthropologist. So my way would be to start reading different versions of the same story and then read through the naughty bits and understand the cultural aspect of it. What I am looking for is the essence of the story which I need to give to that particular audience. The way in and way out will be my addition to the story.
Every single telling will be different based on the audience. I can tell the same story to different audiences in different ways, depending on their age, taste and concept. There are a number of storytelling clubs around England which organizes storytelling sessions for adults.
Bani: We had a concept of the ‘kathak’, a storyteller in the old days, who would be a sort of religious figure and talk about religious epics. The story would constantly change from one audience to another, and more improvisations would be made.
As a creative person, I should be sympathetic to other creative people. I give them the initial story, and then they modify it to their liking. They must find something in my story which they will be able to recreate.
Disclaimer: This post is written as part of Kolkata Literature Festival 2015 (#KLF2015) in association with Kolkata Bloggers.