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One of my favorite quotes regarding storytelling is this:
“Care about your subjects! Tell their story as if you’re the last person who will get that chance.”
Take a look around you. There are hundreds of things and people around you. There are shadows and highlights. Smells and textures. As you go through your day, do you think about many of these things in detail? Do you zero in on a certain aspect of your life because you expect to be intrigued by something you previously took for granted?
I started doing that in 2005, when I realized that everything looks different, if you take the time to look. Watch a patch of grass for more than a few seconds, and you will start to see an entire culture of tiny creatures and structures, where you used to just see something to walk on. Follow along with a plastic bag as it gets tossed around by the breeze from passing cars, and it becomes a great adventure to see if it will get to safety. The same idea goes with people. When you allow other things to fall away so that you can really listen to a person’s story, you get a whole new appreciation for who they are. You get invested in them, because they aren’t just part of the ambiance of the job or park or school where we spend so much of our time. Good or bad, pleasant or treacherous, their story allows you to connect more intimately with them. I want to listen to, and tell these stories.
Everything looks different when you care to look.