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idea generation

Ever wonder about the origins of these things: like antiperspirant, artificial limbs, bikinis, Botox, cotton swabs, mascara,mirrors,nail polish, nylons, pantyhose, rubber bands, shampoo, suntan lotion, umbrellas and wonder bras.  This list reflects only a few of the many inventions that have improved the lives of women, and yes, no doubt, men and children have also benefited, but not as much as the females of our species.

I must admit, I am a bit of a history buff with an ultra curious mind about the origins of things and how everthing works. I view an object and I immediately want to know, who or what was behind its ultimate creation.  I am fascinated by the ingenuity of people and the determination of those who decide to create without a model version, conjuring up something that never existed without a prototype to work from. They intrigue me with the way they can take something make it viable working out of nothing and turn it into an object that becomes a household name but, that is only part of the story.  What I am really amazed by is what they went through along the way to bring their vision to market. It seems to me that without this sheer determination; we might not have these items that make our lives so much the better for it.

girl in library

In fact, just yesterday, while browsing the shelves of my favorite establishment, my local library, I came across a book that caught my eye, the name of which certainly spoke to me when I saw its title. It is a small publication, a brainchild of three very inventive people: Johnny Acton, Tania Adams and Matt Packer. The name of the book (this little treasure trove as I refer to it) is “Origin of Everyday Things.”

book cover

What I found so wonderful about its contents is that within a few minutes of flipping through its pages, I felt forever changed by the information it presented.  The publication lists not just the handy dandy articles I chose to focus on, but, altogether 400 highly intriguing inventions; in short, it’s a phenomenal masterpiece for bookish people like me, because it is an instrumental guide to aid in the understanding of the most common things of our world and the formation of these marvelous creations that are so much a part of it.   As I leisurely glance over the content, my mind wanders, I see the long hours, days, weeks, months and even the years of the author’s research and writing.  I imagine what it must have felt like to be the one who discovered some tasty tidbit that they could include in their joint effort to produce this book. In looking over the data, I can only imagine the pride it must have given this person to introduce to the others what they stumbled upon. I can almost hear their rings of laughter, and the joys the three of them must have shared during this project and the process of their manuscript’s inception.

research

 I know that it may not matter to everyone but I am delighted to note that the person who invented something that most of us could not live without daily, antiperspirant, was a nurse, and that the earliest generation of users of her body odor preventative were exclusively female.  And, equally as interesting to note, is the original patent awarded to the inventor of the first artificial limb back in 1920, just glancing at the title of the book is not  something I would not have anticipated seeing when I first encountered this publication.

person thinking

Every time I step inside a building of architectural significance, mainly, because of its grandeur, I feel privileged but rarely, even though so many of these structures are old banks, do I think of these commercial spaces as the temples they once were and how they housed the valuables of the multimillionaires who were responsible for building of America into the great nation it eventually became.  Learning the basis of the word “bank” and how it is derived from a word (an Italian word) that comes from the declaration banca “bench” because when a lender went bust he would literally break his bench to advice people of the demise of his financial venture. The term bankrupt is an extension of banca in that the Italian expression “banca rotta” means broken bench.

The book also reveals so interesting facts such as the original name for a cotton swap, “Baby Gays” and how they were the brainstorm idea of a Polish-American back in the 1920’s.  I cannot dream of what my infancy, let alone my childhood would have been like if the next invention I read about had not come to pass. I can still hear my mother repeatedly saying to me “get the hair off of your face” and of course she expected me to pull it back into a ponytail with a rubber band, a highly versatile tool for young ladies of the day, and even today.  But, it was the bookkeepers in 1823 that it was invented for when it was thought up by a Brit who created elastic bands for the purpose of holding together stacked papers and envelopes.

According to authors Acton, Adams and Packer there are surprises to be had everywhere and in everything, not excluding the most elementary of objects such as safety pins (which have held together more than a billion baby diapers since they first were thought up by innovative minds.

As previously mentioned, what makes the creations in this tiny book so enthralling to read about is their arduous beginnings and the opportunity to learn more about those who would not give up until they brought them into the consumer market.  Case in point, if it was not for a Scottish engineer who responded with his ingenuity after hearing a plea from the War Production Board hoping to circumvent a shortage in order to produce a synthetic alternative to rubber we would not have had the luxury of playing with Silly Putty as kids, nor would have our children and their children. It was quite by accident, that inventor James Wright who was working on the problem in General Electric’s laboratory came up with a gooey concoction by combining silicon oil with boric acid in a test tube (visco elastic). When Wright threw it on the floor, he immediately discovered its bounce when it came right back at him.  A good number of chemists over the next seven years paid no attention until a woman who owned a toy store; Ruth Fallgetter had the bright idea to reach out to the marketing community and called in consultant Peter Hodgson to help her to generate sales for this novelty item.  Sometimes another’s invention needs some additional development and refinement in order to get it off the ground and running, Hodgson, eventually acquired visco elastic putty. He had the cleverness to repackage it in brightly colored plastic eggs that specifically appealed to children and renamed it, “Silly Putty.”  After some assistance from “The New Yorker Magazine” in the late summer of the 1950’s who brought it to the attention of the public by focusing on this putty as a unique plaything, Hodgson knew he was right all along when he received orders to fill for no less than a quarter of a million units.

I invite you to partake in a marvelous experience offered by the Acton, Adams and Packer, to venture into the past and to learn more about the things that have been the brainchild of so many artistically inspired minds or wander over to the web page www.think-books.com and become inspired by the by-products of human genius.

WHAT BUNGLES BEAUTY?

The word bungle means to spoil, to let something fail through the carelessness of incompetence.  For beauty to be perceived through the eyes of others it must honored, either by the bearer of it or by those who cast their gaze upon it with the hope that they will be bewitched by its mystic effects.  Beauty only exists if one wants it to, and can only be cherished as something of worth by those who recognize its divinity. The Lebanese-American artist, poet and writer Kahlil Gibran,. (1883-1931) once wrote that “Beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.”

Beauty must be celebrated for what it is and acknowledge for what it is not.  Beauty can be both tangible and insubstantial. Beauty can be found anywhere. We can feel it in our touch when we stroke our cat’s fur,  it’s there, present in the smoothness of our canine’s  sleek coat or we can uncover it by running the lightest of silky feathers through our fingers a time or two in a harmonious, rhythmic way. Beauty is thought to be only skin deep J. Davies (1569-1626) but it can carry its own weight depending upon how it is to be had.   

The greatest indicators of beauty arrive, often plainly set, packaged in incorruptibility, innocent in the composition of their own natural world, and unaware of the power and allure contained within its secret potential.  Birds are beautiful and so are the trees they nest in. 

Beauty has its own value that can only be estimated by its admirer’s and their sense of taste.  Anything that one decides is beautiful has the capability to be so, regardless of its unattractiveness or its strangeness to others.  True beauty always exists, even if at first it is not so readily apparent, one only has to look long enough, and hard and deep enough, and the aesthetic elements that are buried within its veneer will gradually emerge, aspects that cannot be completely disputed not even by the harshest of critics.  “In each person I catch a fleeting suggestion of something beautiful and swear eternal friendship with that. Santayana, G. (1863-1952) “The Middle Span,” persons and places 1944-1953.

What bungles beauty is our need to change it and in trying to make it into what it is not we deface it.  We mar beauty when we vandalize it by writing offensive graffiti all over it.  We destroy it when we critique it and impose our own judgments on it as if we were the Supreme Creator and could instantly alter the complexion of it. Beauty bias is what bungles beauty, restricts its course, incarcerates it, isolates it and disfigures its intention.  

“Some beautiful things are more impressive when left imperfect than when too highly finished.”

LaRochefoucauld (1613-1680)

If we will allow it to, and we choose to celebrate beauty, it will bring us a feeling of certainty, consistency and conviction that in all people, places and things it exists.

 

 St. Patricks Day

Thirty years ago, on St. Patrick’s Day my favorite aunt died of breast cancer.   She was eccentric and wild, very free spirited and I am not at all surprised that the angels came to take her away on a day such as today.  Donna could never just be still, she wanted to taste life, take a big bite out of it and not just savor it; she steered away from the things that were only partially satisfying.  What I remember the most about her is how agreeable she was, although, that is not to say she was not hot-tempered if she felt someone was in the wrong; she would loudly and without hesitation, state it.  She had a complex personality, the youngest of five children, she could be either hyper-responsible or completely undependable, but there was always one thing she constantly showed up for and that was life.  She had a voracious appetite for music, especially soul music which I feel I have inherited through some distant strain of family genes.  Donna knew every word to every song that came on the local radio station KDIA.  She would take us out riding in her funky old car with the worn out leather seats and we would have contests singing the words to her favorite melodies from the seat and if my cousins and I did not know the words to the songs she would teach them to us on the spot, expecting us to remember them , line by line.

 Donna and I had something else in common too, we both loved clothes and most of all shoes, more than we could possibly wear.  In addition to our fashion consciousness at the time, we shared a mutual love for cosmetics and spent nearly an hour a day doing our makeup and hair.  Donna did not care about being beautiful, she wanted to look hip and she did!  She was an artist, the kind of creative soul that when she showed up on the scene; she made everything groovy.  She never tried to mask her identity; she was a person of true character whether she was liked or not.   

 Her parting gift to me was a cup, as inwardly practical as she was, she assumed that a mug with the words “Forever 29” inscribed on it would help me to remember our last year together, and it has.  I have dragged my chartreuse cup with me on every move, broken handles, chips and all.  I now keep it near at hand filled with pencils and pens to jot down any sacred notes or remembrances I can write about.  Donna never knew me as a writer, but she believed in me and gave credence to the things I said.  To Donna, I was more than a niece; she made me feel respected, even as a little girl under her care. A devote of originality, Donna believed that every person had the potential in them to be a true genius.

 Despite the fact that she is no longer of this world, Donna lives in my heart 365 days a year.  On St. Patrick’s Day I stop to think about her influence on me and how different I would be had she passed away before my birth.  I can never forget my experiences with her, not even the St. Patrick’s Day she died, although, it was the most painful of them all.  Her spirit, no longer physical in its being, has over the years become my guiding light.  She reminds me to look forward to everyday that life affords me and to old age and to not fear my eventual demise.  The energy that shaped my world as a little girl when I was around my aunt Donna and even today, as a mature woman springs from my fountain of memories of her vibrancy and her love of festivity .  

 Happy St. Patrick’s Day all!

 

 

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The way we feel when we are experiencing heightened emotions may not be correct for the situation or for those around us at the time but, there is a certain truth that emerges when we experience mental discord. It may come up for us after talking with someone we trust and they criticize us, their words cutting through us like a sharp knife. Whether we like to admit it or not, the opinions of those close to us mean much more to us than, the causal dialogue of strangers.  

Professional people speaking 

Our emotional reactions are like light houses, casting light across the surface of potential stormy seas, and when there is unrest; their illumination begins to reveal the contributory source. Our unreasonable emotions are worth acknowledging too because if ignored, they have the power to overtake our other thoughts and the combination, leaves us feeling apprehensive and hopelessly agitated.  

Anxiousness

Anxiousness is a side effect of unexpressed feelings, left unanalyzed; disturbances can interrupt our psychological focus, so that we feel unsettled.  They can temporarily occupy our view of life and lead us into being highly critical of those around us.  If our concentration has been affected by a clumsy mistake we verbally made, we can waste endless hours in a frenzied state, berating ourselves for our indiscretion.  No one wants to be the cause of someone else’s indignation or consternation.

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Most of us tend to forget during these uncomfortable disconnects that we were never intended to be perfect, we are only human and so are those whom we interface with, especially, those who say or do the unthinkable.  We must keep in mind, those mishaps, whether we are the cause of them or not, are just a natural part of communication and we have to expect to encounter them, anticipating their unlikely occurrence.

 man alive

 Contrary to what more reserved personality types believe, we cannot be overly emotional in our reactions; we can only be true to our way of thinking.  Each of us has the right to stand up for our convictions, and conversely, others should be entitled to the same privilege too. We all take in information; process it through our own emotional filters, deciphering its denotation.  

moral compass

 

Most of the time, we manage to honor our own truths and those of others if we are willing to tread lightly on their viewpoints without being defensive and insulting.  If we miss the mark occasionally, we can anti-up an explanation for our insensitive oversights, since rarely, do most of us have to be reminded to demonstrate simple courteousness.

cartoon talking

 

It is not difficult to show signs of mutual respect while engaging with another, all we have to do is work at being nonjudgmental during our discussions.  Honoring our true emotions is always a good idea; it permits us to construct a clear channel with which to articulate our genuine feelings.

References

 How to recover after an unpleasant conversation. (2009) Genuis Beauty.  Retrieved from:

http://geniusbeauty.com/woman-health/how-to-recover-after-unpleasant-conversation/ 

Psychology Today Staff, (2003) How to Fix Your Hurt Feelings, Women tend to hold in their hurt feelings.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200312/how-fix-your-hurt-feelings-1 

 Stosny,  S. (2008) Love Without Hurt.Anger in the Age of Entitlement, Cleaning up pollution.  

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facial expression 

 The way we use our facial muscles and the messages they convey are among the highest form of expressive art. Observers instantly notice a person’s face, his or her facial features and facial gestures more than any other aspect of the individual’s human form; it is what we as people, are most naturally drawn to because a person’s face expresses emotion.  It communicates moods and attitudes, unlocks riddles about our responsiveness, and is generally, a great indicator of social behaviors during the introductory phase of social interaction telling that onlooker what will follow.

 It is easy to read a person’s smile, or to interpret his or her displeasure by the presence of a grimace.  Lips that curve upward are a good indicator a person is somewhat at ease and in high spirits, whereas; lips that are curve downward in a frown may tell us just the opposite about the person. When a person is of a more complex personality type, fewer details are readily visible; intense sadness can be facially masked temporarily, and obscured feelings of deeply buried hostility may not be so instantly identifiable.  

According to an American Psychological Association, article dated January 2000, Volume 31, No. 1 by Beth Azar, “If the emotion comes on slowly, or is rather weak, the theory states, the impulse might not be strong enough to trigger the expression. This would explain in part why there can sometimes be emotion without expression, they argue. In addition, cultural “display rules”–which determine when and whether people of certain cultures display emotional expressions–can derail this otherwise automatic process, the theory states. Facial expressions evolved in humans as signals to others about how they feel, says Ekman. (The use of facial expression for measuring people’s emotions has dominated psychology since the late 1960s when Paul Ekman, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco and Carroll Izard, PhD, of the University of Delaware, reawakened the study of emotion by linking expressions to a group of basic emotions).

“At times it may be uncomfortable or inconvenient for others to know how we feel,” he says. “But in the long run, over the course of evolution, it was useful to us as signalers. So, when you see an angry look on my face, you know that I may be preparing to respond in an angry fashion, which means that I may attack or abruptly withdraw.”

Other expressions, like fear or surprise may reveal that a person is experiencing frightful thoughts of dread or is clueless as to what to expect next.  Subtle variations can make a major difference in detecting what is going on behind an individual’s superficial expression.  A drooping motion of the head for example, when combined with descending eyebrows, in combination with a droopy jaw emphasizes a lack of internal vitality, in contrast to the appearance of sleepy eyes with heavy lids and a jaw that looks as if it’s gone completely slack could imply that the person is extremely tranquil. Eyes fixed in a blank expression emulating neutrality when combined with pursed lips or a slight grin suggests virtuousness.  Kindheartedness is most often recognized by a person’s gentle eyes and his or her soft smile that usually indicates that he or she is a tolerant soul and can put up with a lot before lodging a compliant.

Our facial expressions are an enormous part of our appearance and they are very versatile, we can wear them in many different ways.  Just changing the motions of our features can make a big difference in how we are perceived. They make it easy for people to quickly become acquainted with the state of our minds and the intensity of our thinking so that they can better connect with us. 

Academic References

Azar, Beth, (2000) What’s in a Face?  Do Facial Expressions Reflect Inner Feelings? Or are they social devices for influencing others?

Ekman, P., & Rosenberg, E. (1997). What the Face Reveals. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fridlund, A. (1994). Human Facial Expression: An Evolutionary View. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Russell, J., & Fernandez-Dols, J.M. (Eds.) (1997). The Psychology of Facial Expression. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Online References

Joumana Medlej.majnouna.com Retrieved from:

http://majnouna.deviantart.com/art/Emotions-and-Facial-Expression-47118559

 Longecity

http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/55432-how-to-learn-to-use-facial-expressions-to-better-express-yourself/

Facial Expression Analysis by Ying-Li Tian, Takeo Kanade, and Jeffrey F. Cohn

http://www.ri.cmu.edu/pub_files/pub4/tian_ying_li_2003_1/tian_ying_li_2003_1.pdf

 

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INHABITING HOME

 

home 6 

 Nothing has a more extensive and far-reaching impact on our physiological well-being than our home.  It is a social unit where people who are connected to one another live and function in the privacy of a space.  As the famous actor Clark Gable (1901-1960) best defined it “The most important thing a man can know, as he approaches his own door, someone on the other side is listening for his footsteps.”

homes 3

When a living unit is satisfying it nourishes all who share its comforts.  Homes create an even balance in our lives, they give us a protected place that encourages our emotional stability and stimulates our creativity.  A home is more than a residence; it is its own world as we have established it.  A home is not just an apartment, a loft, a duplex or a house. It is not just a structure with floors, walls, windows, doors and a roof.  It is a place that ultimately houses a congenial living situation, a space where one feels a good measure of safety. Our home is where we can think well, where we are free to daydream and visualize our new ideas and where throughout the day our minds can flourish unimpeded.  

home 2

One does not have to own the structure to be the possessor of a dwelling.  Habitation is more of a mental state about one’s physical surroundings and where lays one’s head to sleep at night, than it is a deed to a piece of property because the inside of a home is a container of energy, a reflection of all those who reside within it.  

home 7

Personal treasures dispersed throughout a home speak volumes about the people who live within; a thousand statements silently spoken about the inhabitants of a home are conveyed to an outsider the very instant he or she sets foot in it. Our friends and other welcome visitors bring pride into our homes. They comment on our décor and look around making mention of what they find interesting or attractive, reminding us of their values and why we go to all the trouble of decorating and entertaining in them.   

home 5 

 Homes require of their tenants as much as they offer to them.  The residents of a home must make a practical commitment to it; there are numerous functional tasks that must be performed to keep it operational and running efficiently.  Homes place demands on the people that live in them that extend far beyond the borders of the abode. 

home 11

Many supplies are needed for maintaining the upkeep of a living space and these home aids must be purchased on a regular basis and brought back into the home and utilized.  If we are not careful we can become slaves to our homes given the right set of circumstances.

home

No matter how nicely furnished, if a home’s temperature is uncomfortable (too hot or cold) or if its environment has be infiltrated by insects or rodents, it ceases to fulfill the requirements that make it a home, and it becomes no more than an empty, lifeless shelter because it loses its cozy allure and warmth.

home 4

It’s just human nature to want to nest every now and then, even seasoned travelers become weary eventually and want a place to hang their hat, but if we are not cautious we will be fettered by the invisible chains attached to our homes that have the potential to bind us and pin us down. 

 home 8

 Homes above all else should provide clear passageways into and out of what at times prove to be an overly hectic stomping ground for enforced productivity, a constant never ending race that runs us ragged and leads us to a finish line that is ever receding, further and further away until it eludes us because it is so far off into the distance.   

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To quote the famous writer Robert Frost (1874-1963) “A home is a place where, when you have to go there they have to take you in.”

home 10

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couple1 

Shooting the breeze can refer to a couple of things, taking a picture of something that is blowing in the wind as proof of the existence of the element or a spouting off of mindless thoughts in general conversation as mean off connecting superficially with someone.  Shooting the breeze is a symbolic social function that is mutually supported by a cohesive form of chatter, a form of communication that people engage in when they are just being polite with one another.  

It is a inner connected theory of sorts, its own ready-made chit-chat usually centered around sports and/or weather commentary or other breezy and light topics. It is based on the principle that one will have a chance encounter with an acquaintance or a stranger and without warning be called to participate in a highly civil form of social discourse.

It serves to describe a light-hearted forum for casual, matter of fact exchanges, and the kindest of verbal niceties. It is an externally faceted platform based on the assumption that  insignificant trivia is worthy of sharing when one wants to kill a little time, now, and again.  It includes discussions  that link one person’s thoughts to those of the other with topics quickly shifting from one thing to the next.

 

 

doctors and nutrition

Photo Excerpted from abnormalfacies.wordpress.com

Ever wonder where medical specialists educate themselves about nutrition? A good clinically competent physician wants to know what he or she can about the relationship between food and disease and how certain toxins as well as nutrients contained in foods can make a difference for their patients. Doctors know that beside their role to treat conditions, to sustain lasting results their patients must be schooled in nutrition and well motivated to eat properly on a consistent basis.

It is no secret that many health issues occur later later in life as a result of poor eating habits during the formative years. We do not have to be medical specialists to make the dietary and disease connection. Among those who treat these competent conditions, both holistically and with traditional western health-care practices, there are a dedicated group of health care providers who are extremely interested in the field of nutrition.

The NIN, The National Institute of Nutrition in India was established with this goal in mind, to inquire examine, and evaluate the relationship between food, nutrition and health and toxicity leading to disease and document these findings in reports that originate from the lavatory, migrate to the clinic and work their way into the community. The researchers at the NIN investigate disease outbreaks, searching for the causes, they keep watch over contaminants, find toxicants, develop better means for revealing toxins in foods, look at the connection between medications and metabolism and for links to toxicity, trace relationships between dietary habits and cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, note the foods that are rich in antioxidants and their prevention properties and study the toxins in our environment (earth, water, air).

In the United States, there are various training programs where students of medicine and physicans interested in obesity reseach, nutrition, food toxcitity can participate in advanced studies in food therapy. One place they can attend is the Institute of Human Nutritrican at Columbia University. There are also numerous online nutritional courses available to members of the medical community such as the one offered at Texas Tech.

References

Web articles from the National Institute of Nutrition News

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/National-Institute-of-Nutrition/news/

Institute of Human Nutrition

http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/ihn/faculty_

Teaching Doctors about Nutrition and Diet

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/16/health/16chen.html?_r=0

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Eastern Beach Style

beach couples

Every year, at a certain time of year, like clock work the tourists arrive from the colder Eastern states and the landscape of the beachfront area changes and becomes more glamorous with there returning presence.  The Northerners are delightful because they bring with them a special air of attractiveness, a flair that announces their urban connection to city culture and high fashion.

beach glamour

Its apparent in the young and the older men and women. I see it in the hip clothing and the accessories of both the single beach dwellers and in the attire of the condominium couples.

cute couples

Suddenly, the surf and the sand appears transfixed, more like a stretch of beach that is part of a fancy resort than a patch of shoreline open to the public.

cute couple

Everywhere I go I see snippets of  “big city” fashion, it is so obvious, differences are so apparent, from head to toe, from the fancy footwear thongs worn by the men who cover their heads with their snugly fitted elastic handkerchief head wear worn in combination with their crisper than crisp linen shirts.  I enjoy staring at their wide and colorful plastic tire looking watchbands and safari themed  khaki shorts. I see them in the grocery stores, the cafes and the boutiques.  The snow birds who arrive early lead the pack and look at little out of place until the rest of the flock comes flying back.

air based surf boards

It takes a couple of weeks or two for the wet sand to make their sandals look worn. After 14 or so days they neglect to iron creases in their slacks and they put their shirts on wrinkled like the rest of us.  But, for a brief time, before they begin to resemble our more bohemian locals, I feel more elegant and sophisticated when I am surrounded by them.

bohemian

and I must admit that when it is time for them to return to their main residential homes, a sense of sadness comes over me knowing it will be another year before they circle back to us again.

sailor girl

All Images Excerpted from Google Online Photographs

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There are few things that deliver the value of a great story relieved and told by the person who had the firsthand experience (or who dreamt it up).  Stories are the most primitive means of civilized communication and maybe that is what makes them so powerful. 

When a gifted storyteller speaks, you can hear a pin drop because everyone within earshot is compelled to take in every word.  Sometimes what make the story so memorable are not the details but the way in which they are relayed. 

I have listened to story tellers that have had me so enthralled by their delivery that I have literally sat at the very edge of my seat, eagerly waiting for the next word to come forth. 

I have often thought that some of the very best storytellers are seniors because they are older, have a better take on human nature and are more experienced with regards to life events. When they spin a yarn (so to speak) they offer their audience more than mere amusement or temporary distraction, they carefully combine these threads of life with undertones of sensible guidance which they intricatly weave into the stories they share.

They also seem to be more thoughtful about the reaction of their listeners as they draw on their filtered memories of past events, softly coloring them  with their active imaginations to recreate a strong resemblance of the reality they once lived. 

Understandably, not all good storytellers are the same, however, each has a striking quality that sets them apart, and yet, all seem to share two definitive characteristics, the ability to bring the words of action they utter to life, and to the determination to help others to visualize people, places and things that they have never heard speak, or laid their eyes upon.  

They have a unique talent, a true gift if you will, to tap into the mind of people exactly where their ideas, thoughts and images are formed.  They convert even the most harden skeptics with their vibrant recall, regardless of whether their story is factual or fictional. 

A great storyteller is so well versed in the practice of theroms and implications that he or she can recount the same story, tweaking it with slight variations, and still captivate his or her audience.

When a great storyteller speaks, he or she gives an account so vivid that it’s hard for listeners to imagine not having been there themselves. 

There is so much that goes into a compelling story, and a great story teller is well aware of all the elements he or she must bring into play to be as persuasive as possible.  Many gifted storytellers inherited the trait from their parents, siblings or other family members. 

Some have been mentored or they are great lovers of words, knowing the immense strength of passionate phraseology to begin with.   Storytelling is more than just the revisiting of a circumstance or a situation…

To have what it takes to be an entertaining storyteller, one must operate from a foundational platform, much like a pyramid, and build up momentum as he or she migrates his or her storyline toward the top.

Every aspect must be in succession and a cohesively aligned, and executed in proper sequence to avoid audience confusion, an endless series of questions which can cause disruption, forcing unnecessary repetition of earlier details relayed.  

 When telling a story, the teller of the tale must constantly gage the reaction of his or her audience, taking their emotional temperature periodically and being ultra sensitive to any indications that may signal that their narrative attempts are becoming boring.  

What follows are just a few thoughts on what makes a gifted storyteller, a “GREAT” one:

Age and the wisdom derived from it

A youthful perspective on things

A great imagination and the ability to share it generously

Expressive facial features

Descriptive body language

Enthusiasm for the given subject

Brevity

The ability to immediately detect when one’s audience is disengaging

Ability to readily capture the short and long term curiosity of one’s listeners

Suspenseful pauses when appropriate

Variety

A satisfying summarization that audience can relate to

An ending that is memorable and worthy of repeating

As National Storytelling Festival founder and International Storytelling Center president Jimmy Neil Smith has observed, “There is no substitute for the power, simplicity, and basic truth of a well-told story, as millions of story lovers all over the world know.”  The bards of yore likewise knew that simple fact. Excerpted from the International Storytelling Center Site, Olson, T. (2012).

Here are Some Eclectic Resources On the Subject of Great Storytelling

Olson, T. (2012). The Story Revolution, Breathing life into the Narrative. International storytelling center. Retrieved from:

http://www.storytellingcenter.net/learning/the-story-revolution/poetry-and-storytelling-breathing-life-into-the-narrative/

Sasson, D. (Sept 2012)Vulnerability, Your Secret Sauce, YouTube. Retrieved from: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLIg6LF5Lk0&NR=1

 Japanese female “Rinko” singer and rapper

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8iYvZymNYE

Iron Butterfly (2012) Musical mistro storytellers ” In-A-Godda-Da-Vita, Live at Mt. Tabor Theatre, Portland, Oregon. Rock Steady Video Productions

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA7V68w5hiA

Interomojo, Thursday’s thoughts: The relationship between storytelling and Leadership

http://interomojo.com/2012/09/20/thursdays-thoughts-the-relationship-between-storytelling-and-leadership/

American Sign Language Storytelling Contest Contest #1 (2007)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLll_VLr4oc

Utilizing Traditional Storytelling to Promote Wellness in American Indian Communities. Retrieved from:
 

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