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20 March, World Storytelling and Book Day

We are, undoubtedly, beings interwoven with stories; we grow from words, and we build ourselves with them. In this process, oral narration and storytelling almost inevitably take the main spot. Babies are rocked to the sound of words that fit into the rocking movement from one leg to the other. In this way, their curiosity to feel the world or the restless cry of being trapped in the unknown whereabouts of the cradle is soothed. By the time the baby is no longer a baby, they have learned to feed on fiction, and we find a child who, aware of the power of his or her own voice, fervently demands a bedtime story from their bed. They will have developed their own critical judgement by then: "But tell me something new, I already know this one...", "It didn't happen like that...", "Tell me the one about the brothers who ran away from home...", "Today I want the good version, the real one...". He may or may not get to hear the end (the latter is more likely), but it doesn't matter, because he has already made words his own teleportation machine. And he will grow up as he gets tired of hearing his grandmother or grandfather tell the same story over and over again: "Well, when I was young..."; he will think "here we are...", without realising that this is the training that is teaching him to narrate his own little stories.

That is why World Storytelling and Book Day is celebrated on 20 March, because our way of life is based on oral tradition, on telling, or rather listening to stories. It is a celebration that has its origins in the Swedish storytellers who, since 1991, decided to undertake the task of telling stories all over the country. In line with this initiative, we will also get together via Instagram, on Sunday 20 at 8 pm, to share the stories we like the most and listen to all those you want to tell us. Stories are no longer told around the fire, not even around a table; in the world of technology and social networks, these serve as a meeting point, because the meeting place is not a physical place but the fabric of words that unites us.

Teresa Martín Merchán

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