Monday, May 07, 2007

Curious about Story: Have You Defined Yours? What Influence Does Your Story Have on Your Life?

Everyone has a story.” - Neil LaBute, American director

There is no such thing as a person that nothing has happened to, and each person's story is as different as his fingertips.” - Elsa Lanchester, American actress

I chose “Story” for this week’s theme, because I just returned from our annual, Ohio storytelling Conference. Our wonderful featured teller, Jim May, addressed our own personal stories - how we determine what they are and what they mean.

Once we know someone’s story, we can’t help but like them! (Even ourselves.)

We started by sharing the sayings and mantras that we heard in our families while growing up. Many were familiar, like, “Always do your best,” “Water seeks its own level,” and “What will the neighbors think?”

Then, Jim had us think about and answer six questions that would help reveal our story and why we believe what we do:
  1. What positive mantra and/or belief have you kept from growing up in your family?
  2. What negative mantra and/or belief have you left behind?
  3. Your Heroic Threshold(s): Leaving your regular life behind - turns your life upside down?
  4. Who has been your Mentor(s)?
  5. What is the Paradox or Paradoxes in your life and direction?
  6. What is your favorite meal to order in a restaurant?

Answer the above, and you will have a good idea of your own story.

What do the experts say about “Story” - a huge number of quotations to choose from:

  • So I developed very early a massive inferiority complex, and I've told the story often about how that inspired me later in life to get involved in other things, because I couldn't out-do my brothers in sports, and it's a very competitive relationship.” George J. Mitchell, American politician
  • It is an old story, this life of ours. There is nothing new under our sun. Nothing new, that is, for us, as we now feel and think.” - Josiah Royce, American philosopher
  • If people don't like us, they don't like us, but at least they have heard the story.” - Lee Scott, American businessman
  • Life is too short for a long story.” - Mary Wortley Montagu, English writer
  • Patience is the most necessary quality for business, many a man would rather you heard his story than grant his request.” - Lord Chesterfield, British statesman
  • When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” - Winston Churchill, English statesman
  • Objects in pictures should so be arranged as by their very position to tell their own story.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet

A few twists and tweaks:

  • You want to say something meaningful and creative and artistic and that tells a story and that takes people someplace else.” - Sarah McLachlan, Canadian musician
  • The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.” - Jimi Hendrix, American musician
  • To save myself, I dug out that old short story from high school and spent my days losing myself in my imagination. Physically, I was working through the motions of grinding plastic, but mentally, I was far, far away. I was turning that old story into a world of my own, and a fantasy novel of my own.” - R. A. Salvatore, American author
  • You know, two people can say exactly the same words, saying the same story, and it would mean something entirely different.” - P. J. Harvey, British musician
  • Make your own decision. There's three sides to the story: his, theirs and the truth.” - Erik Estrada, American actor
  • If a man's fortune does not fit him, it is like the shoe in the story; if too large it trips him up, if too small it pinches him.” - Horace, Greek poet
  • The story of Harold Ross, the New Yorker and me is a mere footnote to the story of our time, and we might as well face the truth that to researchers of the future, poking about among the ruins of time, we shall all be tiny glitters. But then, so are diamonds.” - James Thurber, American comedian

And two thoughts I will leave you with:

A good story never dies.” - Roberta Williams, American designer

Your life story would not make a good book. Don't even try.” - Fran Lebowitz, American journalist

Have a great week!