My name is Anneliese Kamola, and I am an undergraduate student at Western Washington University. I am beginning the process of building my own major around the healing/therapeutic qualities of storytelling. I am looking to broaden my perspectives on HOW story is consciously used within the United States because (and please correct me if I'm incorrect), I feel like there is a general void within the public consciousness about the uses of storytelling and what individuals can learn from identifying with stories about their individual rich heritages. Storytelling (and I'm being perhaps overly broad here) seems to reside mostly within families, around the proverbial water cooler, in the "American Dream," and in our media (for better or for worse). Are there living folklore, myth, hero tales, creation stories, etc. alive and prospering here in the United States that are good examples of influencing others for the better? Are there figures that show up in our oral traditions time and time again? If so, are these the same figures that show up throughout the ages, or are these figures new as the times change? Is it possible to have such stories in a country that is such a patchwork of cultural heritage and identity?
I'm new to the art of telling my own stories, and I am jumping in from the perspective of academia. I am feeling a bit short-sighted being so new to these ideas, perspectives, as well as being young and surrounded by the college-kid mentality. So, I am looking to all of you for examples of how YOU use stories in your lives, either professionally (therapy, working with corporate businesses, teaching, etc.) or informally (with children, family, the grocery store clerk). If anyone has responses/perspectives on any of or more questions that I pose, I would appreciate your reply! And if anyone has international experiences, I would love to read how cultures/traditions/countries differ to the United States.
Thanks for your feedback and constructive criticism!