Gas Guzzlers Ignite Stories


legs-434918_1280This year’s, annual Auto-Mechanical Gas Guzzler’s Explo, features the latest in green automotive design and short-circuits in legislated, auto-emission standards. Participants from around the globe come to expand their knowledge base, spark their curiosity or succumb to their boss’s ultimatums. The percussion marketing of highly polished, gas guzzling cars, fuel the images of our mind’s internal dialogue:

“Too expensive.”
“Divorce court vs. motorized euphoria; weighing the options.”
“I know I can do it! At sixty plus hours of overtime each week, within 10 years, it will be mine!”
“Ignition key to dating ease. . . “

A car is a car. This is until the images story make this four-wheeled, prefabricated creation more than a standard, off-the-assembly line motorized vehicle. Emotion, meaning, change and drama transform this image into a story. Now rolling off the pre-assembled memory-lined banks of our mind’s eye, this car becomes an animated piece, part or aspect of our daily lives. For some it may become a career path while for others a fatality. No matter what its course, our car’s talk makes our story’s run; thus turning our prefabricated, motorized transportation into more than just a car.

One example of an image’s story-ification process is the ever dreaded, ill-fated, driver’s education road test. The very one which currently separates us from the constricted confines of parent approved, chauffeur services from the world of driver-independent, motorized freedom. The big day arrives. Masterfully fastening our seat belts and turning the key, reality hits. The reality of having locked ourselves inside a small metallic,
four-wheeled, accelerating, motorized structure with a complete stranger. One who has been exclusively state appointed and solely invested with the power to welcome us into the sacred realm of independent drivers; or to condemn us into retaking the dreaded, ill-fated road test yet again. At this point, the simple image of a car becomes the vividly vibrant foundation of this story’s unfolding.

Research and informational presentations deal primarily with facts. Story and story-based communication encompasses images, emotion and change. The place where life is as it is, change happens and life as it was, will never again be the same.

So . . . what is the story behind your first car?

What was your first car like?

Was it your dream car, filled with the tantalizing aroma of new car smell? The very one now adding a much needed jump start to your social life and a unexpected, fueled-spark of ignition to your love life.

. . . OR . . .

Was it a state of the arts jalopy, beater or rattletrap? The one where rubberized floor-mats strategically covered the rust-eaten-holes in your car’s floorboards; separating you from road spray’s loose debris and soggy splash backs.

What ever image you choose, fill it with emotion, suspense and intrigue. Then pile in and enjoy the ride into your next story’s adventurous unfolding.

Expect taken from Break Out Storytelling: A Leap off the Page Guide to Telling a Story by Grace Wolbrink.

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

Taking the Plunge: The Annual, Internationally Acclaimed Toliet Paper Roll Off


 

 

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Stories are as stories were. Their propelling magnetism, mystifying allure, and ever thickening plot lines interlace with their dastardly daring, humorously dislodging and mischievously deceptive adventures. Each one offering a unique portal of uncharted exploration. Whether it’s up the chimney, down the toilet or through the drain pipe, story’s magical allure draws each of us into the moment of now. Into the presence of story’s reality.

It’s the eve of this year’s annual Toilet Paper Roll Off. Circling the stadium, ardent fans arrive papered with discarded catalogs, farm’s almanacs and outdated magazines. Stadium watchers plunge through the night sopping up previously read reading material, engaging in inspired inner reflection and jamming to piping hot tunes. At day break ardent fans, later joined by cheering crowds, fill stadium seats.

Four pre-a-plyed teams represent this year’s, internationally acclaimed, Toilet Paper Roll Off. Announcers’ rallying voices mark the official unwrapping of this annual event. Fans tear it up. Sponsors pay it out. Manufactures cash it in.

Stirring up the bowls, this year’ tubular sensations include;

The City of Nottingham’s  Tax-a-Coin Profiteers, in gold;
Sherwood Forest’s Merrily Heisting Bandits in green, and
The internationally acclaimed, racing legends: Hares’ Rival Racers in orange, and Tortoises’Terrestrial Centenarians in khaki tan uniforms.

Sheets of pre-embossed, standardized, prefabricated rolls of perforated paper, line the playing field. Pre-event tension sparks opposition between opposing teams.

Fans wait in tanked anticipation. Questioning wonderment fills the stadium. Will Sherwood Forest’s Merrily Heisting Bandits steal the trophy from Nottingham’s Tax-a-Coin Profiteers or will the Hares’ Rival Racers leap ahead, securing a victory over Tortoises’ Terrestrial Centurions? In the final round, who will handle the plunge of victory  in the celebrated swirl of the grand flush?

Working the crowds, the City of Nottingham’s Tax-a-Coin Profiteers confiscate
ill-gained, game-watcher, tax revenues. Standing on the sidelines Sherwood Forest’s Merrily Heisting Bandits are cleaning up on their Up to the Tank, charity bowl donations.

Crashing stadium food stands, Hares’ hungry Rival Racers tank up; prior to, instead of during, this event. Dodging solar rays, Tortoises’ Terrestrial Centurions shell up under stacked stadium seating.

Wrapping up this event’s charity donations, in an unprecedented, bowl-marked decision, Sherwood Forest’s Merrily Heisting Bandits have forfeited their place in this years Toilet Paper Roll Off. Rumors around the bowl indicate a now, unguarded, fair maiden’s kiss awaits their return.

Rolling up, minutes prior to the official roll off, two more event-plying teams submit their applications.

Announcers’ officially welcome the ever popular, yet controversial, Troll Bridge Goat Guzzlers, in blue, and the Fields of Green Butting Billies, in grey.

Tearing up this year’s fans, another, unprecedented, bowl-marked decision blares through stadium speakers. Pending an unanimous vote, the City of Nottingham’s Tax-a-Coin Profiteers have been disqualified due to illegal, bowl-taxing, revenue gains. Thus taking the competition back down from a five-ply to a four-ply event.

Horn’s blare, announcing the official roll off of this year’s, annual competition. Swirling into center field gush the Troll Bridge Goat Guzzlers and the Fields of Green Butting Billies. Dispensing with the traditional layers of protection and tubular roll-wear; saliva-leaking Troll Bridge Goat Guzzlers roll on single-ply bibs. Lowering their brows, bearing their horns, the Field of Green Butting Billies charge ahead. Horrified, referees plunge foreword, stopping-up premeditated rule violators. Disqualifying penalties officially flush the Troll Bridge Goat Guzzlers and the Field of Green Butting Billies out of this year’s Roll Off.

Once again horns blare. Announcers’ voices waver. Tanked tensions mount. Eyes narrow. Torso’s cringe. Above the bowls, Hares’ Rapid Racers lie tanked; overstuffed on ill-gotten, stadium’s, food stand’s, prepackaged cuisine. Below stadium seating Tortoises’ Terrestrial Centurions remain shelled and snoring. Crowds hiss. Ardent fans boo. Referees pace. More horns blare.

Startled, Tortoises’ Terrestrial Centenarians jolt forward. Bleachers quake. Stadium seats wobble. Audience members topple. Screaming sirens on rescue vehicles stream in from the sidelines.

Spilling-out, onto the field, non-a-plyed, ardent fans put on roll-wears and layer on protection. Prepared, Tortoises’ Terrestrial Centenarians mark their places on the playing field.

Horns blare. Crowds cheer. Announcers announce. Brushing-it-up, ardent fans take the plunge. Swirling onto the playing field, they tuber-ly roll through perforated, multi-ply-ed paper mounds, crest high on overflowing water basins and round out clogged pipe-ways. Team players skillfully dodge protruding bristles, low-flowing Terrestrial Centenarians and unseasoned, self-dispensing, ardent fans. Skidding into the final roll off, crowds seize. Announcers forget to breath. Barely a-ply between these two teams, announcers fear the worst. A non-tie breaking, duel flush could compost this year’s closing ceremonies.

Horns blare. Crowds cheer. Announcers’ voices boom. Victorious, winning by a splinter, ardent fans clean up and wrap up this year’s, annual, Toilet Paper Roll Off.

Wearing her aftermarket glass slippers, Cinderella’s legendary, fairy godmother wands in this year’s closing ceremonies. Horns blare. Crowds cheer. Announcers announce. Hurling onto the porta-podium, ardent fans enthusiastically accept the famed Golden Plunger Award.

Staked, packed and layered, Tortoises’ Terrestrial Centenarians unite on the porcelain throne. Horns blare. Crowds cheer. Dropping her wand, Cinderella’s fairy god-mother pulls the handle. The toilet flushes. Toilet water swirls. Failing to make the bend, Tortoises’ Terrestrial Centenarians clog closing ceremonies. They overflow surrounding drain pipes and purge local sewage systems.

No horns blare. No crowds cheer. No announcers announce. Cinderella’s fairy godmother is wiped out. Hares’ Rapid Racers run. Crowds stampede. Furious, ardent fans blow their lids. De-shelled and shivering, but no longer clogged or plugged; now retired, Tortoises’ Terrestrial Centurions withdraw from next year’s competition. Sponsors bail. Manufactures get it covered.

Tales of Tales
Robin Hood
Tortoise and the Hare
Three Billy Goats Gruff
Cinderella

Off the Roll Trivia
November 19 marks the World Toilet Day aimed at bringing awareness and inspired action to world sanitation issues.

An overflowing thanks goes to Sir John Harrington, in 1596, for inventing the first flushing lavatory! Fortunately for us, while folks in the mid-centuries put a thumbs down to the idea, folks living in the late 19th century loved it. They improved it and they institutionalized the use of it, giving it a double thumbs up.

Rolling ahead, in 1935, Northern Tissue advertised the first of its kind; splinter free tp.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Think I Thought


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The images of story tell the tales and mark the trails of story’s propelling journey. These images provide the land marks, the physical locations, the characters’ identities and the desired destination of story’s unfolding. They too spark listeners and ignite tellers in their perceptually engaging, delightfully entertaining duck-if-you-need-to; scream-if-you-want-to; laugh-if-you-have-to interactive moments story’s story-line.

While embarrassing the interactive power of story’s vivid images, one may wonder. One might even ask. Is what I thought was suppose to be happening or really what is happening?

In the Three Little Pigs, did the first pig really build his house out of straw? Or, due to the latest straw embargo, the first little pig was found sniffing around town in search of alternative building supplies. In a moment of un-flatulated wind, a scent crosses his snout. Trotting to the corner of 124th Ave and Huff-Stop Lane, stuffed behind a local dinner, he discovers mounds of discarded onion peels.

What is the real story behind the Three Billy Goat Gruffs? . . . A local press conference reveals numerous accusations and county-wide concerns regarding cases of reported goat-guzzling trolls and troll-butting goats. County officials, recently investigated for lacing city officials grass seed with Witchatill’s Weed Cropping Organic Seedlings, presents an unprecedented, legislative proposal. If signed into law, the proposal will ban all goat-guzzling and troll-butting. Henceforth, all goats will be required to remain on their side of the bridge. County official have also announced their generous donation of Witchatill’s Cropping of Organic Seedlings to replenish the goat’s previously eaten food supply.

When crafting your story, boldly step up into, out of, on to, over and/or under the images of your story’s story-line. Entice, delight, roll or otherwise spray, splat or splatter the image’s of your story’s story-line. Then extend a hand, an elbow or a toenail as you, the story-guide, lead audience members through the captivating realism of story’s mythical and magical journey.

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

Lawfully Lawless – Creatively Inspiring


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Through the power of story, political figureheads, tax regulators, law enforcers, socially perceived hierarchy, culturally-defined norms, bosses, supervisors, parental units and rigamortis impact the course of ones’ life experiences. Story artists throughout the centuries have creatively conspired to orchestrate, direct, lead, dominate, choreograph and otherwise differentiate between the lawfully lawful and the law abiding lawlessness of story. Through the power of story cannibalism moves beyond its perceived cultural preferences, war-lording chiefs and individual menu planners. Questing, never thought they would make it, heroes’ embark on tantalizing bean-stalking, mirror-talking, troll-defying and glass-shoeing adventures. Acrobats death defying feats; athletes epic-sagas; noodle-heads’ rampaging insolence and individuals’ hilarious, gut-hugging escapades frequently challenge previously perceived, story-inspired, social norms and morays.

Scientific discoveries and inventors’ inventions become real through the image of story’s powerful impact. Story; a place where the world becomes round and the planet’s sun takes center stage. A place where jet propelled engines take flight and motorized vehicles storm roadways. A place where towered-connected cellular devises interface human connections. Story; the place where we go beyond the boundaries of what we thought we could do or what we thought was possible.

Stepping into your story’s story-line, experience and embrace the lawfully lawlessness and compelling intrigue of story’s creative inspirations. Step beyond the perceived boundaries of someone else’s words or where you think this story should go. Lawfully respect your audience’s values while lawlessly unleashing the uniqueness of your ideas, your inspiring voice and your breathlessly-intriguing, story-inspirations. Inspire, experience and enrich story’s powerfully, magnetic journey.

Take a quick review:

What first sparked your interest in this story?
What is the most important part or aspect of this story to you?
What do you love most about this story?
What else is possible?

Now reconnect with the images of your story’s story.

Would the story spark more or further dynamically impact audience members if it started at the end or ended in at the beginning?

What might happen if the story was told from another character’s voice or perspective?

Is the main character as strong, sassy, silly, introspective or insane as they appear or don’t appear to be?

Did it really happen this way . . . or maybe, just maybe . . . it happened; yet another way.

So dive, drive, fly, squeak, spurt, float, bob or belly-flop into your next story’s adventure. Remember, it’s your story to tell, in only the way you can. Enjoy, experience and soar into the journey of your story’s images. Boldly break into the lawfully lawlessness of story and the unprecedented uniqueness of your creative inspiration.

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

Forecast: Stormy with a Chance of Wedding


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Dementia is a cruel and unyielding player in the mind-full game of life. Yet for many of us it’s elusive powers fragment our memories from a time of ‘who knows when’. However, for this eighty plus year old woman, its diagnosed presence leaves a thundering trail of compelling stories at a local diner.

Accustomed to life at the country club and being side by side with the man she loves, this elderly woman meets the challenges of dementia, of widowhood and of the loss her two children; one girl and one boy at the ages of twenty and twenty-one. Her cherished memories now consist of outings to a local diner and talk of others getting married. Well, others, yes, but her primary focus was me.  Her weekly companion. A graduate student in her mid-twenties, single and quite without a boyfriend. The only dates I had were the edible kind: a preferred snack in-between classes, especially during exam week.

Joyously anticipating a study break, I leave for a dinner date at the local diner with my elderly friend. Sliding into the front seat of my bright orange Horizon we leave at once. The days previous sunny with a chance of clouds forecast was rapidly becoming stormy with a change of flooding. Racing into the restaurant only minutes before the thunderclouds boomed, we were seated at our favorite booth.  Smelling the aroma of fresh brewed coffee and freshly prepared meals steaming on their way to hunger customers; we placed our orders. Like the weather, our conversation went from clear and calm to windy with a chance of unexpected. Our discussion went from small talk on the storm front to my choice in clothing. I mean this is not the Ritz, the country club or any such state of the arts dining establishment; just a well-loved, local diner. I was dressed for a casual, yet enjoyable evening with a cherished friend. Or, at least I thought I was. Instead I found myself being chastised, however politely, for wearing blue jeans and athletic shoes to my rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal dinner! I didn’t even have a date for the weekend, the next weekend or even the weekend after that, let alone an actual boyfriend.  It’s not like marriage would have been an option for a full-time graduate student working three part-time jobs. A social life or any life was already in question. Attempting to avoid the current, laser-focused topic of discussion, I decided it was a great time for a bathroom break. Excusing myself, I made my exit, hoping that, upon my return, the conversation would take a significant turn for the better.

Exiting the ladies room, I noticed empty tables were now filled and long lines of hungry guest standing in the entrance way. Outside winds howled. Rippling sounds of booming thunder and pounding rain echoed inside the diner.

Returning to our booth an overwhelming feeling of uneasiness passed through me. Looking across from me, my elderly friend possessed the type of smile which could either have generated enough power to light an entire city or gleefully devoured multiple, unsuspecting souls. A small, but steady stream of people began cloistering around us. A  group of concerned faces and their harrowing stories followed.

“My father’s got creamed. He was driving home from work in a storm just like this one. Lightning hit and split the tree in front of him. After he crashed, tt took them almost four hours to pry him out. Lucky he’s still alive. Just got out of intensive care the other day. . . Oh, and, by the way, congratulations on your wedding,” says one customer.

“Almost the same thing happened to my Brother. The house was fine but the winds got him. Standing in the front door he heard a roar. It was worse than a night at the movies. The wind whipped up on solid oak and crashed it through the roof of the car. Totaled it before the insurance company did. Lucky for him he was inside before it happened . . . Hey, congratulations on your wedding,” says another.

“Just last week my daughter totaled her car. Her first accident. It came out of nowhere. One of those freak storms just popped up. Don’t know if it was wind or lightning but a tree crashed. She got pinned in a car for a couple of hours. Came out a bit cut up, but no internal bleeding . . . ” Extending his hand, he says, “Congratulations on your wedding.”

Sitting quietly, her folded hands resting on the table, my friend beams.

A restaurant manager, formally dressed, briskly, yet solemnly approaches our table. “Excuse me, Mam, are you the owner of a bright orange Horizon, license plate number . . . ?”

Confused, yet hesitantly, I answer; yes.

He continues, “I am sorry to report damages to your car.”

My mind begins spinning as fast as the gale force winds still howling outside . . . The images of other customer’s stories still whirling inside my head. Blurting out I ask, “What? Damages . . . ? What kind of damage? Is it still drivable? Was anyone hurt?”

He continues, “The wind blew down one of our signs and it hit your car. I have been in contact with our insurance company . . .” Oh yes, and congratulations on your wedding. I hope you get your dress on time.”

Still sitting in the booth across from me, my friend holds the knowing smile of a story well told.

Years later, following her death, I find  myself standing alongside a dirt road wearing a
t-length wedding dress, holding a bouquet of flowers. Posing, surrounded by dappled light streaming in through the trees, a camera flashes. A camera flashes again. A trip down memory lane ensues. Looking up, smiling, I think of my friend. In a loud voice I cry out, “I got the dress!”

The photo shoot is now complete; another modeling job well done. Still standing beneath the leafy-shade of the trees, I question. I wonder. I wonder when and where I might meet the perfect bride’s groom.

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

Bombshell – Haircut or Hairicy?


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Haircut or Hairicy!

Have you ever walked into and out of a beauty shop or barber shop and felt like someone unleashed a bombshell on top of your head? It wasn’t exactly what you were expecting. It isn’t exactly what you wanted. Yet, somehow, it happened. How it happened, you’re still not quite sure. As to where it came from, you think might have had something to do with this seemingly, charming person you first met behind the counter. The same one who just handed you the bill. Actually the same one who actually expects you to pay for the services rendered on this now explosive mass of folic-ally challenged residue called hair. The very appendages, which less than an hour ago gleefully hung in neat rows adorning your head. Looking in the mirror you now find yourself wearing the fragmented shrapnel of some unidentifiable, desecrated, hair-raising remains of what? No one really knows. Downcast you saunter out the door. Your head’s few remaining hairs desperately clinging to your scalp.

What makes things worse . . . if this could even be possible, is that this very person  actually, not only attended, but graduated from an accredited institution of higher learning. A place where they were educated, discharged and licensed to utilize their board certified skills and their near-lethal, non-registered tools of mass hair destruction on your head. The one you wish was no longer attached to your neck or in any way identifiable or traceable to your specific body. Bombshell – Haircut or Hairicy.

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

Minotaur’s a-Maze-ing Labyrinth Part 1


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Ancient societies and modern day cultures have embraced the mystical, often spiritual power of labyrinths and mazes. Its ancient symbols are still found etched  on cave walls, the sides of pottery and coins, on the floors of buildings and in the architectural design of gardens. Labyrinths have one opening where mazas are designed with an array of openings and dead ends, offering travelers a variety of choices throughout the course of their journey. Walking a labyrinth has been said to calm or quiet the mind as one engages in the seemingly, directionless course of its journey.

During the Middle Ages Labyrinths represented the spiritually challenging road leading to God. Poor people, unable to make the spiritually esteemed pilgrimages to distant lands, walked local labyrinths. As Labyrinths too,  symbolize a path to God or to enlightenment.

Labyrinths mystical power and enchanting allure can also be found in various stories throughout history. One such story takes us to the Greek island of Crete. Due to some unusual circumstances following his son’s birth, King Minos commissioned a famed architect named Daedalus to build an intricately designed housing unit, also referred to as a labyrinth, for his son the Minotaur. Minotaur being half man and half bull, was not your average child. However, his unique form and birthing circumstances had more to do with Poseidon, the Greek god of the ocean, and his father than any genetic or medical abnormalities.

Actually the whole birth debacle had resulted in a breach of contract between King Minos and Poseidon. It all started with King Minos’s challenging relationship with his siblings. A who gets the throne sibling rivalry scenario. Instead of hiring a therapist, Minos asked Poseidon to lend a hand, or in this case, to lend him a magnificent white bull. The bull was to be a sign of blessing from the gods in favor of Minos taking over the throne. Poseidon agrees with one string attached. King Minos only gets the bull if he sacrifices it as an offering to back to Poseidon. A legal binding contract in the form of a verbal agreement was made.

True to his word, the Greek god of ocean waters, Poseidon, brings forth a great white bull. A bull far more superior than his land birthed cousins. Of course ocean bulls were far more superior and beautiful and than ordinary land bulls are and much harder to come by. Figuring that for the most part a bull was a bull, King Minos axed a bull of the ordinary land variety as a sacrificial offering back to Poseidon.  Poseidon didn’t react well to the breach of confidence regarding their contractual agreement. In a fit of rage, he whipped up a fresh batch of love potion. Then he gave an extra large dose to King Minos’s wife, Queen Pasiphae. As her newly prescribed fate and destiny would both have it, she fall madly in love with the great white beast.

Queen Pasiphae, in a moment of heated passion, commissioned Daedalus to build her a wooden, custom-made, form-fitting, bull suite. Following a hot date and an adulterous affair,  Queen Pasiphae gave birth to a uniquely featured half bull, half human baby boy. They named him Minotaur. Being a rather unusual child in his physical appearance, dietary needs and temperament, alternative living arrangements for him went to the top of the King’s to-do list. Fortunately for Daedalus’s and his retirement fund, he got the infamous housing contract of the century.

After this elaborate seventh wonder of the world type architectural structure had been built, only one additional external problem remained. It had to do with King Minos’s defeat of the city of Athens. King Minos’s Internal Revenue Collections Agency required city officials to annually cough up seven maidens and seven young men from inside their city limits. Possessing a one-way ticket into the labyrinth, these unfortunate few sacrificially meet their ill-fated, untimely demise by being disemboweled inside the jowls of the famed Minotaur.

King Minos figured he had the whole situation under control until another ill-fated love affair once again turned the tide of certain uncertainty.

Minotaur’s a-Mazing-Labyrinth Part ll

Until next time and part 11 . . . Let your Storyographer’s journey begin!