Storytelling Matters

The Live Art and the Power of Words

Reimagining Beauty – A is for Actions

Blogging A to Z

April 1st is Letter A Day! Welcome to my first A to Z Blogging Challenge post. I am very excited to be doing this and I look forward to meeting many folk along the way.


There is a story in our repertoire about a young woman is who ravishingly beautiful. Every character in the tale recognizes her beauty. Audiences who hear the story know that she embodies beauty in all its fullness.

Yet we never once say what she looks like.

Instead, we paint pictures about how she acts in her world. Compassion runs through her like a vein of golden ore; it shines up her every gesture. Other characters in the story take note of the beauty of what she does and how she acts. They say she is beautiful, through and through.

Like her nasty sister, she has choices. But unlike her nasty sister, who chooses ugly actions, our protagonist chooses to carve a path of beauty through life. She cares for her ill mother, helps those in need, brings comfort and beauty to everyone she meets. By touching her world with beauty, she shows that she is beautiful.

Characters in stories have choices in how they live and how to behave in relation to others. How they act can be beautiful. Characters in life are no different. Mother Teresa was a beautiful person who is remembered not so much for what she looked like, but for the great good that she did in the world. And she is remembered as a beautiful person.

So, when you write or tell any story or anecdote, remember that you have the power to describe beautiful characters not by how they look, but by what they do. When characters meet in stories, show them recognizing beauty in each other’s actions. One doesn’t have to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount to achieve that kind of beauty. By depicting beauty in actions, you will help others to reimagine and value beauty in a new way. That will make it possible for everyone to be beautiful to ourselves and others.

Take a beautiful action yourself. When you write or tell any kind of story, describe your beautiful character by what she or he does. That way, you encourage those who read or hear your story to see that beauty is as beauty does, and that anyone can be beautiful in what they do.

Looking forward to the letter B!


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20 thoughts on “Reimagining Beauty – A is for Actions

  1. I’m looking forward to B, too. Not to mention C through Z!. Oh wait, I mentioned it, didn’t I? Oh well. Happy A-Z!

  2. This is so true!!! So true and always good to remember.

  3. Ed Hotaling on said:

    Off to a great start! I’m looking forward to the rest of the month.

  4. Beautiful! 🙂 And very true. A lot of people doing story analysis say that outer beauty in folktales usually stands for inner beauty; that is why good characters are always beautiful (or become beautiful in the end) and evil is always ugly. I wonder what that says about the recent resurgence of stunning evil queens…
    Thank you! I hope you will have a lot of fun with A to Z!

    • Thank you Csenge! I hope you are having fun with A to Z too! You are totally right, outer beauty is metaphorical for the inner in folktales. Sometimes I refer to the beautiful in ‘looks’ without specifying literal beauty. But we can do that a bit as storytellers, with spoken words only. It allows listeners to conjure beauty themselves. But with so much visual accompaniment to stories – (picture books as well as other visual media) – coupled with societal definitions of beauty (models, movie stars, pop icons, etc), I think that the metaphorical idea of beauty has become literal for so many…. I think your idea about the advent of stunning evil queens is intriguing — it may well spawn a post-A-Z blog post… or more chat 🙂

  5. Very well said. Today’s society is so focused on physical appearance that the value placed on it is out of balance. We need more reminders of what true beauty is.

  6. From one storyteller to another: I really enjoyed your thoughts here! Thanks so much.

  7. Allison Forsythe on said:

    LOVE this post! What a wonderful way to look at storytelling — and life!

  8. Suzanne Ong on said:

    Yes. I find myself remembering fictional characters’ characteristics rather than how they look, and I think in real life people should value personality more than outer appearance. Great post 🙂

  9. Beauty is as beauty does! I love this. I’ll be meeting with my storytelling club next week. What a fantastic activity for my “all girl” club this next week. Thank you for your thoughts on character analysis!

    Cheers, Sue Kuentz

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