Story-Making and Story-Telling…

Stories change the world. We love telling stories here at Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy. In preparing to tell the Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community story for the January 5th event at the Sentient Bean, I started to think about the difference in storymaking and storytelling.


Storymaking is a mixture of moments of clarity surrounded by times of confusion and uncertainty. Citizen advocacy stories, stories that show what happens when people choose to look for ways to become important in one another’s lives, feels more like “stumbling forward together” than “marching down a clear and wide road.” There is a lot of flailing and failing mixed in with some good news.


Storytelling is different. In storytelling, a storyteller has to find the path and bring the listener down the path. The storyteller’s task is to frame and focus a big complicated story in a way that it can be heard, understood and taken to heart by the listener or reader.


A well-told story can be instructional and inspirational. It can also be a little daunting and lead to an “I couldn’t do that!” sort of reaction.


So as you listen to citizen advocacy stories, please don’t think that the storymaking felt the way the story-telling feels.


Storymakers feel more like people stumbling forward together for many years…


Storymakers are people who are just trying, as advocate Chuck Jones says, “to do the next right thing.”

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