Storytelling Matters

The Live Art and the Power of Words

Archive for the tag “a to z challenge”

Reimagining Beauty – J is for Jocular

Blogging A to Z

If you are new to this blog, welcome!

For my Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, I am writing about how storytellers, writers, parents, teachers (in other words, just about anyone) can reimagine beauty to be more inclusive. That way, people with disabilities, varying body types and racial backgrounds, etc. (in other words, anyone) can feel and be recognized by the world as the beauties they truly are.

Reimagining Beauty – J is for Jocular

When people think about what qualities they want in prospective friends and partners, good looks don’t rate as a topmost characteristic. How do I know this? I did a quick and quite unscientific search engine query of “answers” sites. People who posted on the sites I viewed mention a variety of qualities. But one quality repeatedly bubbled over the babble. Humor. Apparently, funny is pretty attractive.

People are drawn to humor. At gatherings, people flock into the room where they hear laughter. When life is dark, levity lightens it. In the face of a tragic image, jokes help people cope. Recent research suggests that although positive jokes are best, even snarky and negative humor can, to lesser effect, help us deal with the hard stuff. You can read more about that study here.

Humor draws us in and it helps us handle troubles.

Jokes, and more to the point, the people who create them, have the ability to enliven the world with laughter. What a wonderful, beautiful gift.

When someone defuses a tense situation with a joke, when laughter replaces angry words, an ugly moment is transformed to a beautiful one. When someone reminds us of the hilarity of situation, or can tease out the humor from an overworked job situation, that too is beautiful.

Who are the mirth givers in the stories you tell or write? Raise the jocular ones up on pedestals. Hold them up as the beautiful ones. Find the funny in characters who aren’t witty by nature and take notice of a beautiful comic moment. Rightly placed and smartly commented upon, jocularity is a beautiful thing.

People love the class clown is for a reason. Even if the clown’s humor doesn’t help raise class grades, that class clown helps raise class spirit. And beautiful, high spirits earn the highest marks.

Would love your thoughts on this: Exactly one week after the Malaysian plane disappeared, I heard my first joke about it. As I indicate above, research suggests that it is important for people to laugh to cope with darkness. But this is a raw and recent issue. What do you think? Is there a window of time that people need to not be hearing plane jokes? Is it never okay? I still don’t recall hearing 9/11 jokes here in America. Do some tragedies rate as “okay” for jokes and others not? Anyone up for a conversation about this?

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Copyright 2014 The Storycrafters. All rights reserved.

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.

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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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Copyright 2014 The Storycrafters All rights reserved.

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