In a Time When Tigers Vape

As a writer, I am extremely fascinated with storytelling. Storytelling is one of the oldest parts of human life and has probably existed as long as language has. Since its inceptions, people have evolved this art in many ways including all different kinds of media and mechanics. For example, in Korean folklore, stories used to start with “Back when tigers used to smoke”. Out in the Pacific Northwest, different Native American/ First Nations tribes use totem poles to tell stories.

In modern times, storytelling in all forms is a multi-billion dollar industry. Stories can be as long as movies and be as short as a tweet. This works for me as someone who has several attempts at a novel under his belt, and notebooks filled with poems and short stories. Working at Sanskrit exposes me to writing from people around the world, but social media is an amazing place for me to learn about storytelling. While the prose isn’t always the most magnificent, users utilize these websites to tell effective stories.

I want to focus specifically on Tumblr right now, because I’ve recently gone down a rabbit hole reading these stories. I actually read stories from Tumblr on Pinterest, because my Tumblr dashboard has never delivered goodies like this. (One day, I swear on my grave, I will learn how to use Tumblr the way I want.) In the meantime, I want to recognize Tumblr stories.

Tumblr, being a site that has become immensely popular for attracting people from all different corners of the Internet with varying interests, tells stories across genres. Sure, most are stories about real life situations, but some reach into the depths of the possibilities. One of my favorite strains of these stories is about how strange aliens think humans are. Even with concepts as strange as this you can go from laugh out loud funny to misty-eyed and emotional.

Now the Tumblr story doesn’t follow a lot of the conventions might be used to in more formally produced writing. Maxims like “don’t start sentences with conjunctions” are ignored. The scene is not always set with detailed descriptions; on occasion, they don’t ever explicitly mention the setting. Users give you only what you need to understand and immerse yourself in the situation. No more, no less.

Tumblr stories give you just enough to see the world the writer is envisioning. They may not always be tours through lush landscapes. Sometimes, they are simply five-second glimpses into something you could never conceive of yourself, like a land where tigers vape.

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About the Author

Andrew Walker Watson is a junior International Studies Major. He loves Brazilian rap music, discovering useless facts, and, naturally, writing. If he could ever stop staring out into space, he would like to start a global movement to change the world and guest host Saturday Night Live.