Something for the weekend? How stories last – Neil Gaiman #Writing

Here’s a delicious use for 100 minutes of your weekend.

In June 2015, Neil Gaiman gave a talk at the Long Now Foundation on the nature, power and evolution of stories. Are stories alive? He talks about our symbiotic relationship with stories and how animals live for, perhaps 30 years at most; trees can live for a few thousand years, yet stories live much, much longer. That reminds me of a paper published last year that dated some folk-tales back to the Bronze Age (Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales, da Silva et al).

If you are at all interesting in stories and story-telling, you need to listen to this. It’s fascinating and beautifully delivered. The talk itself is just under an hour with 45 minutes of equally interesting Q&A afterwards.

Some highlights to look out for:

  • an elegant arc from China’s first emperor to the storage of nuclear waste
  • Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol (in the Q&A)
  • “Books are sharks”, Douglas Adams

The excellent Brain Pickings site, has an annotated version with highlights to read, here.

The audio version alone is on Soundcloud, here.

And the equally interesting Long Now Foundation is here.


Photo: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

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