Beyond the Facts & Stats


 

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The dissemination of intellectual or knowledge-based information is often achieved through educational lectures and professional seminars.  Word-impacted power-point presentations fill overhead screens accompanied by handouts with accompanying empty black lines flanking images of screen shots. Thus offering audience members an additional way to record another’s idea of what they think is truly important. Opinion poles, bar graphs, and test results are frequent flyers in the realm of evidence-based documentation or presentations. This type of official data also provides audience members with justifiable proof and unquestionable credibility about what they have to say and why they should be paid.

These authoritatively utilized, zealously prescribed and frequently clung to methods of information dumping are heralded by acclaimed experts. Yep, duty-bound experts in any given field come fully armed and loaded with their ability to blast us with yet another round of impressively, important material. Information we’re privileged enough to listen to and even more privileged to pay for.

OK, I get it. Informational programs and seminars can be helpful and informative. Learning new information and being exposed to fresh ideas can also be illuminating, practical and even inspirational. Still, they can also be easily forgotten, yawn-provokingly dull, and stoically lifeless. But what about story? A word, a concept and an art form often lost in an impressively, impersonal jungle of justifiably, unwavering facts and stats.

Now back to story, with its emotionally engaging and creatively inspiring conquests of intrigue, suspense, and adventure. Stories are juicy, zany, troublesome, romantic, cataclysmic, informational, cautionary and heartwarming. They captivate our attention and tug at our heartstrings. Stories remind us of who we are and inspire us to be more than we thought we could be. They remind us of what is important and how our lives impact others. They challenge us. They inspire us. They incite action. They are intrical to who we are and to the foundation of our lives.

For now, let’s power down our powerpoints and put down our writing utensils. Let’s nestle in, leaving behind the concerns of the day. Let’s forget the past and focus on the present. Through the power of story, let’s discover more of who we are and the resources we have to meet the challenges which lie ahead. Let’s find out who or what changed over the course of story’s journey. Let’s experience the intrigue of what happened, how it happened and how it all came to be. Let’s move into action and gain inspiration from the protagonist or others who have gone before us. Let’s celebrate the victory of story’s success.

Great, so where do we go from here?

What is a problem or challenge does your audience needs to solve?

Who is the main character? (a worker, manager, client, patron …)

What obstacles have to be overcome? Pick a few of the key ones. It’s ok, even preferable if the protagonist doesn’t meet all of them. This is just life and part of what makes a story great!

What happens at the end?

How do they get there?

Who or what has changed?

What’s the most important point of your story?

Once you’ve formulated your story, tell it to a few supportive listeners or a storytelling coach. The job of supportive listeners is to listen; not to critique. Although, you might ask them what they liked about it or if they had any questions.

Facts, stats, and figures have their place. Yet stories engage us. They are easily remembered. They compel us to tell them again and again. For a story well-told is always the beginning; never the end.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Goal Quest-ers and Story Seekers


 

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The goals of our lives often masquerade themselves in the form of personal accolades, esteemed outcomes, alluring destinations and athletic’s teaming victories. The word goal is a four letter word for some. An, ‘I couldn’t make without them’ for others and a definite ‘must’ in the world of sports.

In reviewing the book, Crash Course in Storytelling by Kendal Haven, the word “goals” again appears in the multitude of letter-combining words and phrases on the pages in front of me. What! Goals? This is storytelling, not personal achievement, corporate conquest or athletic management; or so I alluded myself into thinking. But goals . . reading on, yes, of course goals, how simple! Stories are teaming with mischievous, magical, overachieving, dimwitted, crazed and deviant goal setters. The plot thickens with murderous intent; romantic conquest, riches unlimited; savory meals and hilarious, dim-witted drudgery. Goals spear a story forward into the eventful, how, where, when or why accolades of story’s unpredictable journey. Goals often comprise story’s navigational force and fortitude.

A trip down folktale lane sites a few infamous goal setting quest-ers and outcome adventurers:

The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Norwegian Folktale)

  • The grass is always greener across the bridge, if only that loud-mouthed goat-guzzling troll would step aside.

Little Snow-White (German Folktale)

  • Seriously, four accounts of attempted murder against your own seven year old child?
  • Wild boar organs with a dash of human never tasted so good.

The Emperor’s New Clothes (Denmark Literary Tale)

  • Royally paid, nameless tailors sell the king on their cutting-edge, custom-designed, fabric-less new cloths.
  • Less than royal street gawkers, wonder if they should enact legal precedence and have this royally acclaimed stripper arrested for inappropriate, flabby and pornographic  exposure.
  • The king’s choice to maintain his legally, royally approved presence while parading through town royally exposed.

Character’s goal setting and adventurous outcomes define story’s cankerous unfolding. Goals support listener navigation through the guided or misguided intentions of its outlandish characters.  They further help story seekers step into character’s devious, mischievous, dimwitted, outwitted goal spearing adventures which lie ahead. Story’s plot is then built around the struggle, humor, adventure and wisdom of our goal quest-er’s journey.

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

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!

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!

Opportunity


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Opportunity brings with it the alluring scent of expansion into untapped adventures and uncharted territories. Opportunity rings a curious call summing only those who are willing to listen. Story too brings opportunity. Opportunity for the teller. Opportunity for it’s characters. Opportunity for its listeners. Opportunity for each one to go beyond the bounds of who they thought they were or what they thought they might possibly be, do or say.

Storytellers craft stories. Storytellers meeting a new story face choices, challenges and opportunities in bringing fresh breath and new life to its adventurous journey. A tale now filled with emotion, opportunity, terror, travasity, humor and romance. Each mixed with the teller’s unique and captivating allure of story’s unexpected twists, turns and fated or ill-fated outcomes. A story which challenges, engages and allows audience members to experience its journey. Storytellers embrace, delight, revel and marinate in the deliciously tantalizing reality of story’s infinite journey.  Ham it, can it, ban it, expand it or rubber band it. Whatever you do, take the opportunity to add a touch of you in making this story uniquely yours.

Characters live life. Lives which represent us. Reflect our own life’s journey and the people along its way. Stereotypical character types become a universal language of images, events and familiarity. We all know them. We all love them. Other characters, not quite so stereotypical, add a sense of mystery, suspense and wonderment. Delving into your character’s innocent, mischievous or quirky  personality traits and adventurous journeys invite us, tellers and listeners alike, into the realm of opportunity, possibility and  eye-awaking intrigue. Invite story’s characters into your inner circle. Dress them, pack them and encourage them before sending them off on the opportunity of their lifetime.

Listeners engage and interact. Receiving the opportunity of story’s invitation listeners enter into and emerge from a world, a reality as vivid as their day’s adventures. A completely unforgettable, non-duplicatable, and utterly unique experience in the course of their lives. One which may be challenge, ignite, expand or propel their awareness, beliefs, feelings, emotions, ideas, choices or even unexplored opportunities for change.

Opportunities give all of us infinite possibilities.
Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin.

 

 

 

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!