A few words on
Storytelling and the Role of Symbolism

Throughout the ages and especially in this century, philosophers and common folk alike have debated the existence of gods. But none can deny the existence of deity at the very least in human consciousness, providing guidance and inspiration to the masses through one very important mechanism: storytelling. Through fairy tales and fables, parables and poetry, we reveal to ourselves the moral of each story, and in so doing we fortify what it means to us not only to be good, but to be human.

How do storytelling and symbolism fit together?

We live in a world in which simple, basic objects familiar to everyone - for example, the sun, or a tree, or a knife - communicate a profound set of ideas to almost everyone, very often transcending language and even cultural barriers. When Romeo says "Juliet is the sun!", we immediately understand what is meant, and with just a few words, the sun becomes an effective metaphor of the warmth, light and radiance of Juliet's effect on Romeo, and a symbol of romantic love. Even more powerful is the use of symbols together with music, such as one might see in a play, an opera, a motion picture, a short film, or a music video.

By making use of our faculty to reason by analogy, symbols and metaphors allow us to contemplate and shed light on concepts which previously may have been too abstract. We can think about what things are like, and in doing so, we get closer to understanding the way things are. Perhaps more importantly, symbols reach us in ways that escape our conscious awareness, and thus sustain us on very spiritual and emotional levels. In essence, symbolism is an amazing path for exploration.

Storytelling has long been a passion of mine, be it through writing, painting, poetry, photography, music or filmmaking. Another passion of mine is symbol interpretation, which can also be expressed through many different avenues. Tarot, handwriting analysis, and dream interpretation are 3 facets that I've studied in earnest over the last fifteen years. I also enjoy analyzing themes and symbols in films.

I like telling diverse, uplifting stories, which I know from personal experience that positivity can sometimes be salt in a wound when you've suffered a long time. To my friends from other marginalized cultures, please trust that I'm not interested in appropriating or exploiting anyone's culture. We are all connected in a way that transcends cultural identity, I believe that. What I want is to increase opportunities for everyone. What people choose to do with that power is up to them. There's just no way to tell a diverse story without honoring, collaborating with and attempting to empathize with other contexts. Let's work together and make a better world for our kids. As someone who has plenty of first-hand experience with post-traumatic stress, I feel inspired to share the stories that helped me get through. The path to a better future begins with hope and a dream.

For more information on my background and interests as an artist and filmmaker, please check out my guest blog post at StepUp.io. If you'd like to receive updates about my current projects, please "like" my Facebook page and you can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram - links below as well! Also check out my latest project Land of the Haunted Dolls! Thanks for your interest!

Susan Lien Whigham
Spring 2017