Sunday, May 03, 2009

Curious about Structure: Do You Use It to Advantage? How Does Structure Figure in Your Life and Business?

I must stress here the point that I appreciate clarity, order, meaning, structure, rationality: they are necessary to whatever provisional stability we have, and they can be the agents of gradual and successful change.” - A. R. Ammons, American poet

For pragmatic reasons, I love the routine. I love the structure of it. I love knowing that my days are free. I know where I'm going at night. I know my life is kind of orderly. I just like that better.” - Andrea Martin, Canadian actor

This weekend I attended our O.O.P.S! (Ohio Order for the Preservation of Storytelling) annual Conference. Besides having a blast reconnecting with many storytelling friends, I attended all of the helpful workshops. The one that initiated my attention on “Structure” was presented by our featured teller, Bil Lepp.

Bil shared how he structures his fantastic tall tales (he won West Virginia’s Liars’ Contest five years in a row). He even took his workshop an extra step by illustrating one structure in a story he told later at our evening concert.

As I drove home, I concentrated on all of the ways structure figures into my life and business along with the lives and businesses of others. I was considering the fact and idea that even though structure plays a role in my stories and story performances, it also helps with daily routines.

My group fitness classes are made up of structures that emphasize preparation for ADL (Activities of Daily Living), strength, endurance, agility, co-ordination, balance, and cardiovascular fitness. We lift weights, twist and move, perform squats, enjoy play balls, work with the large stability ball and even practice Yoga poses and deep breathing. My time is flexible and yet possesses a structure that works. Yes, the computer vies for my attention and does get a lot of it, but I do feel that I have control because of a workable structure.

How about you? How do you make use of structure? How about the experts? What do they say? Read on:
  • Structure is more important than content in the transmission of information.” - Abbie Hoffman, American activist
  • A scene has to have a rhythm of its own, a structure of its own.” - Michelangelo Antonioni, Italian director
  • Beware of over-confidence; especially in matters of structure.” - Cass Gilbert, American architect“
  • Color is a very critical thing. I've found that architects don't like colors. Engineers too. And so somebody has to stand in. Because this is the finish of it. It is the emotional part of a structure. I had great satisfaction in doing that.” - John Hench, American artist
  • Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” - Martin Luther King, Jr., American activist
  • It's possible to become so comfortable with one's style and structure that one ceases to grow.” - Lynn Abbey, American author

And, two more for fun:

I work with structure, but I go outside the box and give it my own spin. I adore the challenge of creating truly modern clothes - where a woman's personality and sense of style are realized.” - Vera Wang, American designer

With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and definite hardening of the paragraphs.” - James Thurber, American comedian

Does structure work with and for you? Let me hear how?