Storytelling: A Curious Tale, with Ronald Young, Jr.

“I think through the narrative: Did I answer those questions to begin with? Was there a better way that I could answer those questions? Was there a way I could be more articulate in a way that they don’t have those questions anymore? I think that’s where curiosity helps to build the story.” ~ Ronald Young, Jr.

I come from a long line of storytellers. I love a good story and I’ve been trying to parse what it is about stories – and storytelling – that we enjoy so much.

No surprise, I suppose, but I think it has a lot to do with curiosity.  I think stories pique curiosity. They foster curiosity.

Indeed, stories rely on curiosity.

Ronald Young, Jr. is a podcaster and gifted personal narrative storyteller. He has some things to say about curiosity’s contribution to his craft.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #90: Storytelling: A Curious Tale, with Ronald Young, Jr.

Listening to the conversation with Ronald for about the 5th time (one can never listen too much!) two insights jumped out at me that illuminate the inspiration for this episode.

Others’ curiosity helps us tell our own stories. Perhaps this seems obvious, but I think it’s rather profound: the shape and color we give to our own lives depends, at least in part, on the attention and imagination of others. By listening attentively, they help us attend to our own tales. Others can help us see and share ourselves more fully — especially if they choose to be curious about us and the stories we might have to tell.

Good stories – the ones that really captivate us – draw on all the dimensions of human curiosity.  Rather than worry about whether it’s a state or trait, psychologist and George Mason University professor Todd Kashdan sees curiosity as a multidimensional mode that finds unique combinations and expressions in each of us. A good story seems to draw on all those dimensions, appealing to each of us for different reasons, tickling points all along curiosity’s full expressive spectrum.

[This show first aired on WERA in September 2019. It has been refreshed, December 2023. Just after I reached out to Ronald to do this update, the “Best of 2023” lists started to appear and Ronald’s latest podcast Weight for It was right there on Reggie Ugwu’s New York Times list, among others. I could not be more pleased for Ronald. I knew him when…]

Check out Ronald’s studio and many shows: Weight For It; Leaving the Theater; and Time Well Spent podcast; “Bypass” clip used with permission.

Enjoy stories from DC’s own StoryDistrict at StoryDistrictPresents.

Check out a quick summary of Uri Hasson’s work on the human communication systems in effective storytelling and Todd Kashdan’s five dimensions of curiosity.

Theme music by Sean Balick.  Check out Sean’s new album “From the Pines”.  

You can subscribe to Choose to be Curious on Apple Podcasts and now on Spotify

Check out the Choose to be Curious shop!

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