Every year on 20th March the World Storytelling Day celebrates the art of story. We have taken this very special holiday as an occasion to celebrate our personal heroes, who have shaped us with their stories.
My first book, which I received as a child, was “The Six Bullerby Children” by Astrid Lindgren. Afterwards Pippi, Kalle, Karlsson, Michel and Ronja were my friends – they were the ones who stimulated my imagination and regularly let me dive into other worlds. It was as if Astrid Lindgren was what children dreamed of what they needed, and above all what they did not want. To put it in her own words, “Yes, the most limitless of all the adventures of childhood, was the reading adventure. For me, when I first got my own book and sniffed into it, my reading star awoke. A better gift has not given me life.” If you want to immerse yourself a bit deeper into the life of Astrid Lindgren, you can look around here in her apartment.
When I think of good stories, they are mostly from my grandma. She mixed her own experiences from the war with Russian fairy tales and other stories. Through their mashups, it was often difficult to distinguish reality from fantasy, but that did not detract from the effect. She was a true master of the heroes’ journey, and she managed to convey values without the high-spirited finger. Through the different heroes of their stories and their challenges, I developed self-confidence and creativity, because finally I identified with the Russian princesses or servants. I remember we were often in the bed of my grandparents’, my grandfather was briefly placed in the guest room, and told each other stories. There were no rules or restrictions, but only pure fantasy – great!
Here are a number of Russian fairy tales to listen to.
Grimm fairy tales and stories from 1001 nights
Even today, I love the fairy tales of the brothers Grimm and the tales of the clever Shahrazad from 1001 night and everything that has to do with it. Almost addicted, I absorbed everything that had to do with fabulous encounters between people and cursed animals. Love, happiness, jealousy, friendship, fidelity – fairy tales can still give us answers to life events that concern us. Through fairy tales, as a child, I learned not only to distinguish “good” and “evil”, but also to teach me how to “not leave your path” – “Little Red Riding Hood”, “The Promise is Promised”.
Almost overnight, she became famous in 2014 with her poetry slam video “One day”. Since then, she has inspired us with moving texts in which she calls her generation to be brave, to seek happiness and live life before it is too late. Emotional and lively, Julia writes about love, friendship and the happiness of the moment. Personally, she meets me right in the heart, speaks to me from the soul – for we do not all want to write stories with our lives, which we would like to tell later? Unfortunately, we often stand in our way! So, “Let’s do it because we can and we do not have to, because now we are young and alive and everyone should know this and our time is going to come and it’s going to happen anyway and until then we are free and there is nothing to lose …
Hammocks, roots and wanderlust – from poetic to Hanseatic-roguish, Fatih Akin’s stories and characters always deal with identity and longing. Whether the story of two sons of southern Italian guest workers in the Ruhrpott in Solino, the problematic purpose marriage in “Gegen die Wand” or the groovy portrait of Hamburg club operators in Soul Kitchen – Akin ‘s plots are bursting with vivacity that credibly convey their performers, mostly from his narrowest circle. When filming, I am in the now, despite all tragedy, always like to drive with Moritz Bleibtreu through the July or with two Berlin outsiders to Wallachi through East Germany. In addition, Fatih is simply also a real Hamburger, with whom I would like to go through Altona.
For many years now, I have been traveling through the forest with Princess Mononoke, traveling through the clouds with the changing castle, or accompanying the little Kiki on her journey into adulthood. Studio Ghibli is for me a master of Japanese narrative art and I always let myself be carried away in the most diverse adventures. Most of my favorite films are over 20 years old, but still timeless. Because the stories tell us in their loving fantasies the everyday and honest challenges that each one meets once and in which we grow with courage, confidence and a portion of charm. And a little sneak peek: In 2019, the small studio will finally end its break and with Hayao Miyazaki, who is retired, bring out a new movie. And until then, I often look at the old adventures.
Joanne K. Rowling
Although I have not been a child for a long time and have not been in my active bookworm phase, I have swallowed up almost every second of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. And I’m not alone with that. Harry Potter is one of the most successful book series ever. The wizard with the scar and his friends Ron and Hermione are known all over the world. The seven volumes have been translated into over 60 languages and read millions of times. No wonder Harry Potter follows the perfect hero journey. Right at the beginning you empathize immediately with the little boy who is lonely and unloved under the stairs. And the longer the story continues, and the more you learn about the background, the more you can identify with the main character. In spite of all the fears and self-doubt, Harry is heroic in all the adventures of the new world of wizards, and ultimately returns to his old Muggle world stronger and more confidently. The other important storytelling figures such as the negative counter character Voldemort and all the mentors complement hin, in their own ways, and make this book series in the true sense so magical. I read the books not only by myself, but also read them to my then boyfriend every evening, because this story fascinated me so much that I simply had to share it. Another proof of a good story.
“Fairytales are for Everyone” Walt Disney
Micky Mouse, Pinocchio and Mary Poppins were the heroes of my childhood. Walter Elias Disney created wonderful worlds, which today rank among the greatest classics. His fairy tales, full of miraculous stories, are like a box of chocolates. There is something for everyone about them, with squeaky cartoons and singing characters who shared stories of morality, love, adventure and loss. There was much to laugh, so much to cry about, and through him I tasted the “bare necessities” and gladly yelled “Hakuna Matata!”. The filmmaker, television pioneer and draftsman is one of the greatest storytellers of all time. With his amusement parks, he brought storytelling to a completely different level by bringing his characters to life and probably fulfilling the dream of many children, including myself. “Fairy tales are for everyone”, but above all everyone in the Disney world finds his personal favorite story again.
On Sundays I was happy as a child on the one hand on the pocket money and on the other hand to be able to spend it directly at the flea market. Today, I look out for vintage clothes, vases, or old jewelery in the markets. At that time, I stroked from place to place and followed the scent of old books. They usually smelled of basement and I loved it. For I have connected them with anticipation of the next turbulent adventure with the twelve-year-old “Twins at St. Clare’s”. Rivalries, friendships, challenges and, of course, little pranks have made me devour the book. What captivated me as a child is also criticized. Because Enid Blyton’s books were criticized for their strong stereotypical characters and their simplistic position, but their great popularity did not break. Their stories are characterized by a strict separation of good and evil, and the exciting story usually contains a traditional moral background. Her vocabulary and her style are simple and therefore I could read her stories as a primary school student. So what Netflix is for me today was Enid Blyton’s books – an addiction to the next episode.
Pierre Baigorry a.k.a. Peter Fox
The lyrics of Peter Fox tell true stories. The leitmotiv “living in the big city” is about love, longing, heart pain, transience and a new beginning. Through his vivid language, the texts come to life and awaken emotions. In “Schwarz zu blau” (black to blue), I am wandering after a long night in the clubs and bars through the Berlin morning hours. In “Haus am See”, I dream of the feeling of perfect satisfaction in old age, which is created by a lived life. In “Alles Neu” I paint myself how beautiful it would be to create a perfect version of myself. I find the lyrics of Peter Fox very moving and the great success of the musician shows me that many people share my opinion: Peter Fox is a grandiose storyteller.
Stein, Christie und Poe
Crime and scary stories or poems have bound me from the earliest childhood. I never wanted to hear the princess story, but rather to solve criminal cases or go on a ghost hunting. These exciting stories now accompany me almost through my entire life. As a 10 year old I devoured the haunting books by R.L. Stein. I went with Amanda and her younger brother Josh to Dark Falls. Have explored with them the gloomy house and nightmares. I have solved the mystery of the Mirror of Secrets with Max. At 15, I was excited about “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie – my first English crime story and to this day the highest selling crime story ever. I went with ten strangers at the invitation of a U.N. Owen – very clever Ms. Christie – on an island off the coast of England. Already the first few pages tied me so much that I could not put the book away. With every murder case, the uncertainty grew, and I kept puzzling with who the murderer was. But the outcome was unexpected, as is the case with a good criminal story. Six years later, Edgar Allen poisoned me with “The Raven”. The loss of the beloved Leonore lay just as hard on my soul as the language itself. Like Poe himself, who from the beginning to the end of his career occupied himself with the raven, the poem did not let go. Lovely, average stories do not fascinate me to this day as a thought-out thriller does, although I make an exception nowadays with the one or the other Disney or Pixar film.
“Do not let go too soon, but do not hold on too long.” Exciting stories, of which I could learn a lot. Mitch Albom is for me a master of storytelling. His stories are mostly concerned with the finiteness of life, but in an incredibly charming and inspiring way. Whether he writes about true events or fiction, his books are always full of wonderful lessons about the joy of life, but also dealing with tragedies.
When I was about eight years old, I watched with my older brother Star Wars “The Return of the Jedi Knights” and was fascinated by the story. I was crying because Yoda died and at the same time consoled myself with the fact that he was 900 years old. Three decades later, Star Wars is still a phenomenon. George Lucas is to me one of the greatest storytellers of our time because he linked individual episodes and put together all the puzzle pieces into a whole universe – and the plot works. He has placed his attention on the classic hero’s journey and the 3-act structure, as well as to bring good and evil together. With his rattling breathing, no villain had as much presence and style for me as Darth Vader, who managed to look dangerous and fascinating at the same time. Or Yoda, my favorite figure, who was old, wise, loving, and witty. His proverbs carry old, philosophical ideas, which are also valid for today’s world: “Do not make wars anybody big!”, “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” Or “Much to learn you still have.” George Lucas once said in an interview that he took his ideas from the Grimm fairy tales, Greek legends and the Bible. These are a good foundation as well as the best teachers for a successful story. What kind of storyteller manages that the kids in the kindergarten of my son exchange Star Wars cards, play with laser weapons or have a Lego Star Destroyer – without the film ever seen. “No easy thing that is …”
Cornelia Funke with Inkheart + Storytelling in Images
Ein Beitrag geteilt von Christiane Spangsberg (@christianespangsberg) am
Whether together with my sisters or late in the evening secretly under the covers: As a child I have devoured the “Inkheart” books again and again and dipped with Meggie and her friends into the world of letters, fabulous beings and small heroes of the story. With her idea of a world behind the letters and figures that are read from one world to the other, Cornelia Funke can still capture me – although the books were actually written for children. The love of books speaks from each of her words. Today, too, the not so classic storytellers inspire me: the drawings by Christiane Spangsberg or Eva Dietrich tell a different story for each viewer: love, being-myself, being-in-ones, life and encouraging oneself Hero of their own story. Through Instagram they share their images and thoughts.
He is the world’s greatest techie storyteller – Steve Jobs. In the second run, he succeeded in shaping Apple into a world brand. Nowadays, his inventions are ubiquitous – almost every household is home to an iPhone, iPad, Mac computer or Apple TV. And that’s not all, Steve Jobs revolutionized the tech scene, making a hippy lifestyle gadget from a weird PC. He wrote, so to speak, the history of the PC, or better: he wrote it over. A few years ago, he gave a lecture at Stanford University: “I want to tell you a few stories from my life. No big deal. Just three stories”, his first words were, and concluded with an impressive lecture on the importance of storytelling. He showed what it means to pull his audience in, be it the participants of a plenum or the employees in his company. Steve Jobs always knew how to tell really good stories.
Blackbird, Strawberry Hills, Penny Lane or Yellow Submarine – The songs and albums of The Beatles always lead you into new worlds. Melancholic lyrics, unique compositions and innovative sounds have not only defined the generation that could still experience the four Liverpoolers live. Even if a complete heroic journey hardly fits into a single song, songs such as “Yesterday” are in themselves a movie. The imagery, created around the different albums, do their the rest.