Yesterday afternoon I gave my final presentation in a series of "talks" to local library branches. The topic was about finding the adventure in our lives and I usually based it around my own adventure of hiking the West Coast Trail which has been well received by the participants. Part of my talk over the past 8 weeks has been to encourage people to write their own stories and memories and yesterday I decided to spend a little more time devoted to that part of the discussion. In fact, I created a short exercise to help the audience organize and recognize the important facets of their own stories and bring them out in the telling.

At one point I made the statement that none of us was present on the planet to live an ordinary life and that regardless of spiritual beliefs, we are here to fulfill a larger purpose than mere existence itself.  I was a little taken aback by the person who disagreed with that concept and insisted that most inhabitants were, at best, ordinary. Fortunately, that opinion seemed to be a solitary one and I sensed that the balance of people took to heart the idea that they had something of value to share with their world.

So, here's a list of a few things that I learned about relating stories:
  • it's not about the grammar, punctuation or spelling
  • it's not even about how you got from here to there (or there to here)
  • it is about your experiences and your memory of them
  • the reader or listener will connect with how the event/story made you feel
  • answering the news reporter's who, what, when and where is a good story outline
  • supplying the what and how creates interest and flow
  • it is a good idea to supply your opinion or thoughts on the matter (this is why they are reading your account)
  • there is something to learn in everyone's story
  • if you don't tell your stories, who will?
  • each of us eventually wants to know where and who we came from
I really enjoyed sharing some thoughts and ideas with the group and provided a written outline to get them started. if you would like a copy of the outline, send me an email and i will send it to you
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  • even though the next generation may not be interested today, they will be eventually
  • relating all the historical details is not the same as relating a story