Tell Me a Story and I Will Tell You Mine

Nothing Comes Close to the Power of Storytelling for Human Communication

 

This time of political divisiveness and isolation reminds me of the power and grace of storytelling. It is, at once, a social convention and an art form. We need it now more than ever.

Like most people, I have always enjoyed a good story. I am fortunate at this point in life to live in an area that revers good storytelling. Here in Appalachia, storytelling is celebratedand practiced widely. It is still a primary means of communication and of social bonding.

Random Thoughts from a Mind Adrift

Assorted Thoughts About Everything and About Nothing

Do you ever have one of those days where your brain will not be still, but neither will it focus? Yeah, me, too. I have decided that when such periods appear, one might as well enjoy the ride. It’s a bit like high speed cruising through a bookstore you like. All sorts of interesting odds and ends can pop up.

I made one of those “bookstore drive throughs” recently. I thought I would share with you what popped up. I hope you find some of it amusing,

Use the Power of the Marketplace to Drive Social and Political Change

 

Changes People Seek by Politics and Government Can Be Helped by Free Markets

We Know the Big Issues

The case can be made that a good portion of the American public agrees on what we want as a nation, although we may have some differences on the details. This is the case even this far from the election. For example, most Americans want some version of the following:

  • Sensible gun policies. Break the growing randomness of deadly violence in public places. The vast majority want universal background checks and some form of registration.

Funny Thing About Church Services…

 

People Come Together on Sunday (or Friday, or Saturday…) for Very Different Reasons

First, an acknowledgment. I am likely the least religious person you will ever encounter. Still, I maintain an active membership in the Unitarian Universalist community. I attend services and other activities with some measure of regularity. I support the organization with time, talent, and treasure in a conscious manner.

I attended a service this past Sunday (and a fine one it was). I reflected, as I often do during a service, on why I was there. What was it that made me decide that this was where I wished to be?

It Has Come to This – And They Are Not Done Yet

 

If What You Are About to Read Doesn’t Enrage You, Relook Who You Are

Immigration – Big Scale, Human Scale

We will be talking in the coming days about immigration writ large. Not just current issues, but the broader and deeper nature of this part of humanity and how we might think about it. That should be a conversation that is balanced and reflective.

But before we get to that, we need to call out the worst of what is going on now in our name. There is not a lot of room for balance and reason for what we will discuss today.

Words are Magic. Writers are Wizards

Two Recent Events Remind of the Power and Universality of Great Writing


The title from this blog post comes from an anonymous source. Whoever first said these words has my undying gratitude. Truer words have rarely been spoken– or written. This phrase runs through my mind often. Partly as confirmation of a known truth, partly as a challenge to write better.

Two recent experiences underline this truism for me. I am thinking you can relate to both.

A Lesson Close to Home

The first is more local and personal. The community I live in has a small gathering once a month called Writers Read.

Planning for “What If” vs. Planning for “When”

Which Mindset We Have Can Make a Big Difference

The most recent series of mass shootings (think of what I just wrote there – the MOST RECENT mass shootings. Can you believe this is part of our language now?) brought home yet again that bad things can happen to anyone, any place, at any time. More than one survivor of this latest carnage said it well. “If you think it cannot happen to you where you are, you are kidding yourself.” It more likely is ‘when,’ not ‘if.’

This need not be a reason for living in fear and paralysis.

Music Hath Charms to Soothe the Savage Beast

 

Music Is Surely One of The Most Unique and Ubiquitous Inventions of Our Species

The title of this blog post comes from the English playwright William Congreve. It is from Act I of his play “The Mourning Bride,” published in 1697. What was true then is no less true today. Indeed, it has always been so.

Different Music, Same Responses

I experienced a couple of really interesting reminders of this in recent weeks. A couple of weeks ago, I invested a week with the Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York. Part of the program there is a large dose of music.

What Do Baseball and Japanese Tea Ceremonies Have in Common?

Almost Everything, As A Matter Of Fact

An Unlikely Pairing

On a recent Summer night, as I was enjoying a home game of our local minor league baseball team, I had an epiphany at the bottom of the fifth inning.

I had run into a friend at the game and she said, “I love baseball, but sometimes it seems so slow.” Others have said the same, of course, but I always felt that was not correct. Why did I not feel as they do? As I pondered that question, fortified by my cracker jacks,

What Do Your Small Preferences Say About Your Large Traits?

“Mustard or Ketchup?” This May be a Bigger Question Than You Thought

Personal Peculiarities

I have been developing a theory of human behavior and I am curious as to what you think. My theory is based on zero scientific process or any compelling logic, but it feels right to me.

Ever since I can remember, even as a very young child, I have preferred mustard over ketchup. Tart over sweet; savory over mild. I have always preferred ice cream with nuts or fruit in it rather than artificial colors or flavors. My preference is for odd numbers,