Story Starters – Egg House Demolition


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In the beginning, there was the chicken and there was the egg. After the beginning, there were chickens and there were eggs.  The two, once melded into one, range in variety, size, shape and color. Their destination predominantly lies between the thermostats of incubation and refrigeration; often leading to some type of incineration. Throughout centuries intellectual thought and philosophical debate collide in their attempts to answer one of life’s most sought-after questions: Who or what came first; the chicken or the egg?

Questions ignite images. Images ignite questions. From inception to completion, images become story’s vehicle. We can either begin or end with an egg; one of nature’s perfect, metaphorically designed, housing units. Inside it’s universally recognized structure, local residents are deposited, encapsulated in a shell, as opposed to steel, brick, wood or mortar. A highly crackable shell containing a mixture of two-toned, globular masses of stringy ooze. External climate control largely determines its fated or ill-fated destiny; often ranging from procreation to culinary delight. If this residential unit is kept precisely at mother nature’s recommended temperature, the kind suggested for incubation vs refrigeration, this two-toned masses of gobbler ooze begins their metaphoric journey into realms of chicken-dom. Along the way, their ooze glopping mass begins acquiring a uniquely designed collection of feathers, beaks, eyes, legs, claws and one of two stamps indicating gender-identity.

Having survived their climate-controlled, incubation and shape-shifting process, home demolition begins; one peck and scratch at a time.  Immediately following the home demolition phase of shell-shocking reality, this young shell hatching resident prepares for chicken-hood. A journey and a career path often lead to the procreation of egg hatchery or one leading to being the invited guest of honor at a local, backyard, grill.

Overtaken in a moment of insane insanity, you find yourself frantically peeking through and scratching holes into your now fragmented home. The only residence you’ve ever known. It’s not only your home being shattered; one peck at a time, but your previously perceived reality, your essence and your identity. The final shell falls. Looking back is no longer an option. Gathering your courage and securing an imprint-able guide, you forge ahead. You forge ahead into a world, a land and a frontier you never knew existed, until now. The existence which has become your new reality.

Story-Spirations!

  • You are mysteriously transported from one local to another; immobilized in mass of two-toned, glopping ooze . . .
  • Trapped without visible connection to an external reality, you have nowhere to go, except, where you have never been before . . .
  • Escape plan, not knowing what lies on the other side . . .
  • Once you arrive, needing, but not knowing who or what will be there to guide you . . . now showing you what are you likely to gain, to learn or to lose.
  • How is the end of this journey different from the beginning?
  • What has changed through the course of this journey?
  • What was the best part?
  • What was the worst part?
  • What has been gained, learned or lost through this process?

Feel and experience the reality of the image(s). Allow these new images, emotions and feelings to emerge. Briefly record this image-filled journey of a story and enjoy the basis of your next, image-filled, story oozing with all its engaging unsuspecting crazy, zany, terrifying, creepy and mysterious tips and turns. The best part? It is your story, so tell it or crack it like it is; in only the way you can!

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s journey begin!

Stuck in Story – Unsticking Ideas


 

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In-movable, trapped, nowhere to go, no visible escape route, going nowhere fast . . . there you; stuck. The kind of stuckness you can’t even google our way out of. Stuck in the quirky quagmire of life-sucking relationships; wallet stripping finances; vein stabbing illness or ideal-less creativity. Whatever the wheel spinning reality; it sucks to be stuck. Now what?

Everything we do is an expression of who we are. Our work, our wardrobe, our homes, our speech, our stories . . . all are expressions of who we are as exceptionally unique individuals. When we feel stuck we are actually stuck in the story of what we think is happening in our lives or a story we feel most comfortable in. Remember the one about deciding to wear pink stripped under attire when you know it was a blue polka-dotted day? Yes, it is true, if only we would have worn the correct under attire on the correct day we could have avoided the whole miserable ordeal. We just should have listened to the smaller inner voice of underwearing apparel wisdom.

OK, a bit exaggerated, but really, is it all that far out? How often have we gotten this story in our heads about someone or something only to find out we were completely wrong. My fingers and toes have been recounted more times than I can count on this one.

While the feeling of stuckness is real, the reality of actually being stuck is questionable. So where in your life or your life’s story did you get stuck?

Then take a moment and ask yourself:

What about this story or this stuckness works for me? What about this isn’t working for me? Go back and forth. When you ideas run out, ask yourself: What’s another choice? Where would I like be? Now, instead of focusing on being stuck, focus on where you would rather be.

Focus on the outcome of our goals. Then, every day, begin looking for and writing down things which are moving you in this direction or things which are getting easier. It is easy for us to prove why we are stuck, now let’s go out and prove that we’re not. It is here where we change the story of stuckness to one of stuckness.

When developing your stories, remember the feeling of stuckness in your character development.When they face the impossible, the impractical, the bizarre, the horrific; what is this like? What thoughts, feelings, mind chatter comes forward? Lead you audience members into the feelings of entrapment and stuck-]ness before you guide them into the realm of possibility.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s journey begin!

Story Juice – Catch the Squeeze


 

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Juice, a sensory word of paradise. Juice is juice. Whether you squish, squeeze, squash, crush, press or ferment the rich succulence of its oozing nectar; it’s still juice. Juice . . . It’s intense and vibrant color . . . Its tantalizing aroma . . . Its delectable taste . . . All together it is indescribably delicious! Fresh, real, flavorful . . . a definite “in the moment” type of visual appeal, stimulating aroma and tantalizing taste.

Now back to stories. Nothing like some great story juice to pucker up a magnificant tale. The freshness of a new twist, an unexpected angle, a line or an image which absorbs you into the moment significantly enhances the impact of your story-based performance or presentation. Each new squeeze encapsulates the delightful power, the tantalizing essence and the sensory impact of story through the art of storytelling. Story juice definitely slurps up the latest life living drama, the ooh’s, oh no’s and aah’s of mind chatter and the torrential rapids of story life’s rippling adventures.

Story juice seeps through every corner, crook and crevasse in life’s vast expansiveness.  Venturing into the realm of story and story juice . . . select a character in a story that spurs you on, inspires you or possibly one you would love to personally squish like a bug – ooze and all. Now spend some time with your character and the context of the story line. Personally get to know your character. Maybe spend some time with this character in their home, at their favorite hangout, a common meeting place alongside the road of their journey . . . as long as you are both comfortable – although maybe being entirely grossed out, terrified, mortified or creeped out may also have it’s story reigning advantages.

Who is this person or creäture? What do they like to wear? What is their occupational or non-occupational identity? Do they have any friends, enemies, worthy or unworthy opponents? Are they rich, poor, dead broke, under-employed, non-employed, slave labor . . . What is the “sign” they hang out in front of their lives – “Poor me . . . I hear my name – someone, somewhere desperately needs my help . . . I have a pain, or two or three or even four and a whole lot more . . . The economy is out to get me . . . My Mother hates me (so what if she died when I was 68 – I can feel her negativity from her grave) . . . Catching the drip(s)?

The more you spend time with your story’s characters and embrace the reality of their lives, the more vivid and alive they we become to you and your audience.

 

Until next time . . . Let a Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

 

Four Key Elements in the Art of Story Development


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Every story we hear, read or tell has a story. The place where story-based artistry begins. So, grab a chair, a stool, or a slice of floor and your favorite muse. Now join us for a brief collaboration in the four key elements of story development. For in story, as in life, its characters are as outlandishly adventurous, deviously mischievous and outrageously zany as any of us truly are.

What is story? Isn’t everything we see, hear and talk about a story?

Story: The place where it all begins: Life is as it is . . .
Change happens . . . Now what? . . .
Life as it has been will never again be the same. A new normal unfolds . . .
The place where the beginning is never the same as the ending.

Story: The narrative and the meaning we attach to the events of our lives.

Storytelling: An interactive art form where storytellers, though their voice and gesture, invite people to join them on a guided tour of vivid imagery.

Destination: Ending’s New Beginning

  • What do you love about the story? I mean really, love about it. If you don’t love it, don’t tell it. By its nature, what we love, naturally grows.
  • What is the ending? It is much easier to get there if you know where you are going! A few short words, phrases or movements guides your story’s journey securely into its destination.
  • Memorizing the ending helps insure you and your listeners arrive at their targeted destination; especially when meeting the challenges of unexpected interruptions, brain farts and cosmic disturbances.

Captivation: Love at First Sight!

  • Besides the story itself, what are some key parts or aspects of this story’s storyline which captures your attention? Why?
  • What do you love, hate, regurgitate or scream about the main characters and their antics? Why?

Engagement: The Meet and Greet of Team Building!

  • Take a few minutes to meet and greet your story’s characters. Who are they? What are they like to hang around with?
  • Revisit the key images in your story – this is correct, not the words of your story, but the images inside your story. Step inside each one of them. Who is there? What is happening around you and/or them?
  • What are the dominate feelings and emotions that you and/or your characters are experiencing?

Listen: Story’s Interactive Unfolding

Supportive, or responsive listeners help us grow our stories. Supportive listeners also allow you, the teller, to see what audience members are hearing. Storytelling is an interactive art form. Responsive listeners support storytellers in naturally bring out unexpected and unrehearsed bits of humor; spontaneous internal dialog; insightful moments of awareness; or newly inspired story-line twists and turns.

Select a few supportive; non-critical, non-critiquing, non-judgmental listeners or consult the services of an experienced storytelling coach. Listeners, per your direction, can either:

  • Listen without comment.
  • Listen and offer what they appreciated about the experience and/or the story.
  • Listen and offer bother appreciations about the experience and/or the story and offer any questions they might have.
  • When working with a professional storytelling coach you may also want to add some suggestions regarding the more technical and artistic aspects of storytelling and story development.

Celebration: A gift from my heart to yours . . . Story’s Story Continues . . .

Your story is a gift to your audiences. Like any gift, it is given from the heart. Invite your audience members to join with you on an interactive journey into the enchanting realm of story’s vivid realism and adventurous journey.

Remember: It’s your story to tell, so tell it like it is; in only the way you can! Let your story be the one long remembered after the performance or presentation is done.

                                                                                     

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin . . . !

 

 

 

Story’s Setting – Where to Begin


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Knowing where you are is as important in everyday life as it is in story. Much like a building’s address, the setting of your story lets the listeners know where they are going and what they can expect when they arrive. Through the vehicle of story, the storyteller transports their listeners into the physical reality of story’s journey. Story’s location and characters live in the physical reality of story. They too have emotions, lives and physical and emotional challenges like any of us experience.

When developing a story orally, you have only a few simple sentences to quickly bring your listeners into the reality of your story’s setting, unlike authors who can fill pages or even chapters about the setting of their stories. Storytelling happens in the moment. It can’t be repeated, re-run or bookmarked for future reference.

In the beginning of the story as well as the ending of your story, a few carefully crafted and memorized sentences will ensure a strong start and the arrival of your designed ending or story’s destination. The middle, just like any road map, the roads, waterways, back alley’s or fight patterns depends on you the storyteller. As in life, as in story, there are many roads to get to a single destination.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Listeners – Story’s Fertilizer!


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Storytelling is an interactive art form. One which can not exist or happen without a listener. The interaction between you, the teller, and the listening members of your audience ignite and liven the images of your story’s story. For in the moment it is told, the world of story becomes the listener’s living reality. A story, like our experiences in life, can never be duplicated or experienced in the same way again. The faces of story are as varied as the faces of our audiences. Each time we tell our stories the words, their impact and the audience’s responses will be unique to this moment in time.

Grab a listener and ignite your storytelling jet packs. Take a few minutes and think of a few people who are able to listen. Listening meaning no talking, no editorial comments and no unsolicited remarks. Their job? To listen. To simply listen. Once everyone is assembled, tell your story. Enjoy. Watch and take note. In this moment your story will grow in unexpected ways. Images will become clearer. Your voice tone and canter much stronger. See how unexpected and unrehearsed bits of humor, internal dialog, and moments of awareness or newly inspirited story-line twists and turns happen when you tell and retell your story. By seeing what your audience is hearing and the unique gift of this audience’s interaction, your story’s story-line continues to bloom. Also how easily your story ripens and grows inside of you; the teller.

In the early stages of my story’s development, I ask my responsive listeners to just listen, as I tell my story. Other times, as my story continues to grow and unfold inside of me, I ask, “What do you like about the story? or What did you like about this experience?” Again, I am not asking them for a cirque. I am simply asking what they like about the story and/or the experience. Storytellers through the responses of their listeners are able to see what others are hearing. Storytelling is an interactive, experiential journey into the world of story and the vivid reality of is characters and their lives.

This may also be a great time to secure the services of a storytelling coach. Information on storytelling coaches can be found online or through the National Storytelling Network.

 

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

 

Words: Do They Speak the Same Language?


Words, the only thing that oral language and written language have in common, yet each one possessing their own kind of life impacting, story filled magic!

Word, a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.

Storytelling – oral language, expressing the timelessness of now, connecting life’s passing moments to future’s infinite streams of possibility.  Voice’s heart sinking, unspoken meaning: That tone – busted, no further explanation required. The “wave of fear” – courtroom’s witnessing verdict. “I love you” between two lovers in passionate embrace. Human expression, gestures, eye contact, voice tone, facial characterization and physical language takes one beyond the scribed letter of any written word.

Literature – the written word: “All the magic of writing is conveyed with those five kinds of elements. All the passion, logic, imperiousness, inevitability and humor of written language is shaped, like sculpture, from the simple clay of words, punctuation, typography, pictures and materials.” Master Storyteller Doug Lipman

Until next time . . . let a Storyographer’s Journey Begin!