This week, in Marvellous, Electrical: storytelling, town planning, sculpture, and the smell of first rain on dry stone.
Is the universe made of stories? Human beings can’t keep from telling tales, or listening to them – whether it’s creation myths or the “grand narratives” of science and politics, flights of fantasy or just an answer to the question, “So what did you do today?”
For more than four decades, one woman has sustained the tradition of oral storytelling in the heart of Manhattan. In 1968, Diane Wolkstein began an official role with New York’s Department of Parks and Recreation which has brought stories from around the world to life through her passion and craft.
Diane caught up with me recently to discuss her career, the challenges of drawing on stories from other cultures, and the business of telling tales in the modern metropolis.
As I leave Australia and New Zealand for a while, graphic designer and former newspaper cartoonist Hugh Todd pointed me to John Clarke’s song, ‘We Don’t Know How Lucky We Are’, and got me thinking about the power of myth and storytelling.