Anna Deavere Smith is a wonderful actor who “performs” stories by taking on the personality of the original teller. She brings people from Studs Terkel’s collections back to life and takes her audiences on a tour . Here she is pitching a workshop on Empathy but this little clip reminded me how to really pay attention and I thought it might be a good reminder for you as well. She points out, “There is someone else going on when you are really paying attention.” [Read more…]
In the beginning, finding good stories is difficult. If only because your brain keeps saying, “I can’t tell stories.” or “I’m not a storyteller.” Trust me; if you are breathing you tell stories. The problem is that on a bad day, our stories are about being stressed out (who I am) barely surviving stupid decisions (why I’m here) and counting the days until we can retire (vision). We blame politicians for self interest (values-in-action), repeat stories that prove there is nothing we can do to change things (teaching) because we’ve already tried and failed (I know what you are thinking). Okay…it’s not that bad (I hope) but you will have to work a little harder to find good stories. There are four reliable buckets that are full of good stories. [Read more…]
The Denver Museum of Contemporary Art’s Summer Series of Mixed Taste sounds like a delightful source of entertainment as well as a crackerjack opportunity for new stories to emerge. “Adam Lerner, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, and Sarah Kate Baie, director of programming, enjoy mixing it up artistically.” If I could attend, I would to learn and pick up completely fresh new stories. Just think of the stories we could take away from these talks:
- Nietzsche & Puppies, Puppies, Puppies
- Space Weather & Kool-Aid Pickles
- Jean-Michel Basquiat & Fruit Trees
- Tacos & Geodesic Domes
I love to see old stories bring light to new situations. Like the old TV ad when peanut butter crashes into chocolate and… voila’ the Reese’s Cup is born! My #1 Principle of Storytelling is 1.) Storytelling is Developmental: We supply a+b+c+d but we only co-create the meaning of “= e” That is what happens with the Q&A. I find that part exciting. Imagine yourself enjoying these conversations:
It is stimulating when you don’t know what is going to happen next. So if things feel dull, boring, or predictable, then maybe you can borrow this idea from DMCA.
Adam Lerner, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, and Sarah Kate Baie, director of programming, enjoy mixing it up artistically. Discover an interesting fact about mustard in this one mixing up Dia De Los Muertes and Gourmet Sauces (sound quality is iffy but points for taking the time to edit and post! – thanks DMCA!)
Stories come from every where, every field of study, and particularly from people who deeply care about something, or someone. Seek the geeks!!
If you want a story that will “make them see” once and for all, that you are right, you have missed the point. There are many points of view, you look at mine and I might be willing to look at yours. But if you over control a story, it makes you very boring and people simply shut down. No one likes to be told what to think, even if you are pretending to tell a story.
Success can be frustrating too. When, story creates powerful images that connect to your listener’s goals and inspirations, they may move past your original intentions, achieve more than you expected, and in different directions than you expected. When you awaken full participation, you will not be in charge.