Category: Interestingness

The Tree of Life: A Simple Exercise for Reclaiming Your Identity and Direction in Life Through Story

In my last post I shared a book that has made a profound impact on me. It’s called Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience by David Denborough. As I read this book so many things about the nature of stories and their role in human life came into sharp focus. Things that I have been working out for years on my own but could only vaguely express in comparison to the clarity I found in this book. Just having the idea of using story to work through trauma or a crisis of identity...

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5 Simple Tips for Telling Better Anecdotal Stories

Stories are the lifeblood of community. They are how we humans have evolved to share our values, contextualize our place in the cosmos, and connect on a deeper level with other human beings. An anecdote is nothing more than a simple story. The kind that every single human being on Earth tells on a daily basis. When we share a memory from our childhood, tell our friends about something that happened at work, recall an important lesson learned–these are all instances of anecdotal storytelling. Because of the ubiquitous nature of anecdotes, the average person doesn’t spend very much time...

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Storytelling Advice from the Creators of South Park: The But & Therefore Rule

I look for storytelling advice and wisdom anywhere I can find it. What can I say? I’m utterly fascinated with the human response to stories as well as the human compulsion to create them. In this case, the advice is coming from the legendary creators of the now classic animated comedy South Park. The advice is given in what looks like a college class that the co-creators have been invited to visit (there’s not a lot of context). It centers around a problem that many writers have. Namely, a boring story. A story that lacks a sense of cause and...

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6 Writing Tips from Jerry Seinfeld

Whether it’s watching re-runs of Seinfeld, videos like this, or his new web-series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee I just love listening to Seinfeld talk shop and tell jokes. His style comes across as so effortless and fun that it’s enough to make you believe it might just be possible for you to tell great jokes too. That is, until you try. That’s when you figure out writing is difficult; even if you’re just writing down funny observations. 6 Writing Tips from Jerry Seinfeld As the video above explains, there’s a method to Seinfeld’s mild-mannered madness and a process...

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Kurt Vonnegut on The Shapes of Stories

Kurt Vonnegut is one of my all time favorite authors. I’m in awe of his ability to communicate volumes in a single sentence. Especially since his sentences are so often funny on top of being so damn clever. Here is a funny and clever clip of Mr. Vonnegut creating shapes that represent common (perhaps even archetypal) story plots. Enjoy! Kurt Vonnegut on The Shapes of Stories A Closing Thought I’m fairly confident that one could actually take the basic elements of storytelling and do a wide variety of things with them in terms of software. From coming up with...

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