On the Occasion of a Milestone Birthday

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Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

It’s not the number of candles, it’s the story they tell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve reached a milestone birthday and, as so many of us do, I’ve done a lot of thinking. I haven’t necessarily come up with any great epiphanies, but I’ve been reminded how much I love to tell stories. I’ve realized how much I miss the rush I get from doing creative things for me and how sad it is that I don’t make much time to do creative things for myself.

I’ve thought a lot about telling stories. I see and hear people talk about the best ways to tell stories using social media, video and marketing. And, most of the time they’re telling us why they’re experts. I guess part of the reason I wanted to write this blog was to some how give the impression that I was one of those “experts.” But it’s occurred to me over the last few weeks that the people who are telling the best stories in the mediums I care most about don’t really have time to talk about what experts, gurus or ninjas they are – they’re too busy out there being amazing.

I’ve decided I want to spend a little more time out there trying to be more amazing and less time trying to convince people I’m some sort of expert. What does it mean for the blog? I’m not sure – probably that I’ll focus more on the art of story telling and less on the mediums, but we’ll see. I believe in the power of words, and that any message from marketing to training can be made stronger by rooting it a good story.

Should you feel so inclined to give me a present, let it be this – tell a story today. When someone asks you how your day went don’t just give them a laundry list, tell them a story. A funny memory cross your mind? Write it down (I’d love it if you shared in comments below)! Tell a child a story from your childhood, something funny, something sad, it doesn’t matter. For my Big Birthday, tell a story.

Telling stories is universal. It brings us closer and makes us feel connected. So as a move forward into another decade I’m doing it with an eye on with making a great story. Here’s to a new chapter!

Stories of Olympic Proportion

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Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic f...

Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic flag.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we move into the home stretch at the Olympics I have to make an admission. I’m addicted to the stories that come of the games more than I am the games themselves. I love the stories of the underdogs beating the odds. I love the pictures and video of people whose sacrifice and effort is written across their face as the medal is put around their neck. I love to hear about the families who put everything on the line for the chance of fulfilling a dream.

You can site there and tell me you don’t care about that part, but I’m will to bet you watch them too. It’s not hard to get a bit wrapped in stories like Kayla Harrison, Oscar Pistorius, and Gabby Douglas. They are the stories of overcoming the odds, making sacrifices that most of us cannot and finding support from people who sometimes believe in the athletes before the athletes are able to believe in themselves. They are the stories of the triumph of the human spirit. They are the stories that games should be about.

I appreciate the records being broken, and I will openly admit to keep an eye on the medal count. But at the end of the day it’s the stories I’m tuning in for.

Congratulations to all the athletes who participated in the London Games. No matter where you finished you are a champion.

Tell Me a Story – Childhood Edition

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Books from Childhood

Books from Childhood (Photo credit: Keturah Stickann)

In honor of all the Moms out there, and passing of Maurice Sendak, let’s skip the story this week. Instead, what stories did your mom tell you or read to you? Is there a book that stands out in your memory? Is there a story you really enjoy telling or reading to your kids? Let’s feel the love for kiddie lit and share our favorites.

My contribution: My favorite story to read to kids is Dr. Suess’s All the Places You’ll Go – it’s a great story for kids of any age. As far as what my favorite story from childhood, I really can’t name just one. Some of my favorites were actually books that had belonged to my Mom as a little girl. There were Little Golden Books and A Child’s Book of Poems that lived at my Grandmother’s house after being left behind by one of my older cousins.

What about you? What are some of your favorite childhood stories?

Tell Me a Story Tuesday – Whopper Edition!

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A cropped photograph depicts singer Elvis Pres...

Is Elvis in the treehouse? A photograph depicts Elvis Presley's bust. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lie to me. That’s right, lie to me. Tell me a big fat lie. Make something up that can’t possibly be true. Tell me that Elvis has taken up residence with little green Martians in your treehouse. Tell me that you’re going to spend a few weeks this summer hanging with the merfolk in Atlantis. How big a lie can you tell?

As my tens of followers know, there are usually ground rules for telling stories. But, I’m going to relax those a little this week. I still want you to be (kind of) nice to each other – so no name calling. Other than that we’ll see how things go.

Go ahead, tell me a tall tale. Lie to me Baby!

Tell Me a Story Tuesday Break-What Stories Do You Want to Hear?

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Welcome to all the new folks who’ve started subscribing to my little corner of the Internets. I am truly glad to have you here. I thought this seemed like the perfect time to ask all of you, what kind of stories do you want to hear?

I’ve made a lot of suggestions. Some have worked and some haven’t. So I thought I would come to you, my loyal tens of readers, and let you help me pick the next topic two. What kind of stories do you want to read from your fellow Lens viewers? Is there a story you’d like to hear from me? Reply below and let me know.

Is Social Media Changing How We Tell Stories?

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I read this post and it got me thinking. Obviously social media is changing the way we tell stories. We can now share what’s happening to us, as it’s happening, with video and/picture proof. There’s no planning ahead. There’s no deep thought on the best way to share a story, or looking forward to telling it the next time you see someone. With a couple of clicks of your smartphone, tablet or the old school laptop and everyone who knows you knows exactly what happened.

There’s no saving a story for the next family get together – they read all about it on Facebook. There’s no go to anecdote for parties – they saw it on Twitter and retweeted. They re-pinned the picture we took of the dog and pinned on Pinterest. They saw the crazy cat video you posted on YouTube.

Where are the stories we save and savor telling our friends or family? Where are the great icebreaker stories that we prepare for awkward social encounters (fulling willing to admit, this may just be me)? What do we have to talk about at dinner tonight when our every move is posted, pinned, tweeted and shared as it happens?

I’m curious. Has social media, and the instant gratification that it brings, changed the way you tell stories? Do you still relate the stories of your day when your out with friends or sitting around the dinner table with your family? Has social media helped you start conversations because people see what you posted and prompt you for the full story?

Answer the poll and share your thoughts below.

Ghost Stories – Storytelling at its finest

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Halloween Vintage 05

Image via Wikipedia

Happy Halloween!

Any good storyteller has a few ghost stories in the back pocket….”You won’t believe what happened to my friend’s co-worker’s dog walker when he and his brother were walking down a dirt road as teenagers…it was a really dark night…they were headed home from town and were told not to take the short-cut through woods by Old Man Miller’s house…The woods were haunted…That’s where they found poor Mary’s body 100 years ago and where she had been buried…today her grave was grown over and couldn’t be found. They say she wanders through the woods looking for her grave.  The brothers thought it was just a made up story when they were told Mary would cry to them for help and try following them home…until that night they took the short cut through the woods and heard footsteps running up behind them…and then a woman’s cried out…”

Ghost stories (and the closely related horror stories) are some of the most shared, and most loved stories told. Horror stories make millions at the box office. Charles Dickens used ghosts to show us the error of our ways. Ghost stories have been passed from generation to generation, around camp fires and on dark and stormy nights. Some have become such a part of society that they’ve been come folk-lore. Stories are the stuff legends are made from.

Our love, and fear, of the unknown provide fertile ground for our imaginations. Sucking us in. Demanding our attention and daring us to look away. You tell yourself it’s just a story but somehow it seems very, very real.

So tonight, sit back and listen to a good ghost story. Feel your pulse start to quicken. The hair on the back of your neck start to stand up. Was that a noise behind you? Couldn’t be, it’s just a story isn’t…..

Isn’t it….