What’s Your Story?

Mar 14, 2013


We all have a favorite tale in life. For some it is a piece of classical fiction such as “Lord of the Rings” or even something like “Animal Farm.” Others prefer nonfictional historical accounts. There are many great tales, too, in the study of world religions and mythologies. There are a few of us who even hold our preferences in guilty pleasures akin to comics or romance novels. Despite the myriad sources we draw upon, there is yet one tale we tend to treat with special regard … our own.

Mr. Koreander: Your books are safe. While you're reading them, you get to become Tarzan or Robinson Crusoe.
Bastian: But that's what I like about 'em.
Mr. Koreander: Ahh, but afterwards you get to be a little boy again.
Bastian: Wh-what do you mean?
Mr. Koreander: Listen. Have you ever been Captain Nemo, trapped inside your submarine while the giant squid is attacking you?
Bastian: Yes.
Mr. Koreander: Weren't you afraid you couldn't escape?
Bastian: But it's only a story.
Mr. Koreander: That's what I'm talking about. The ones you read are safe.
Bastian: And that one isn't?

That’s right, Bastian, this one isn’t.

The lesson we can take from this quote (“The NeverEnding Story,” fantasy/adventure, 1984 – a year that is a good read in itself) is that we are all living our own stories – but must realize we can’t just close the cover on them. They entwine, flare up, settle down, and sadly at some point end. So it is imperative we make the most of our storytelling time together, especially if you are looking to go into business for yourself.

Human beings are hardwired for this stuff. Storytelling is, arguably next to opposable thumbs, what differentiates us from the other animals. In business this is why ad agencies thrive or owners tie themselves into their brand. This is why creative architecture exists. Great Wolf Lodge most likely wasn’t built with the simple thought of “log cabins look cool” (if it was then I appreciate your taste and respect your luck). Instead, it invokes memories we have in fantasy and history and is a takeaway souvenir we can share with our friends back home.

So, as an individual and/or business owner, you must be willing to invest in your own story. Inspire your patrons. You don’t need a million-dollar ad agency to help with that. Put up personal artifacts around your shop. Not just a picture of your family. Maybe you collect dream catchers? Put a few up. Not for sale, but for inspiration and a visual aid and illustration to your story. Let it invoke questions and draw your reader, er, I mean customer, comfortably into who you are and what you do. If you have been in local, small businesses like Jo Wok or Munchie Monkey you will see this; and if I just reminded you of what I reference in each it worked, didn’t it?

Also, be sure to use tools that will enable your story to be heard and more importantly – retold. Facebook is excellent for this if you are consistent with posting times and content (please don’t use it to share your FarmVille accomplishments). Twitter can help and even many point of sale software packages allow you to email and/or text your registered customers with news and offers! Going back to Facebook, if you use a business account you can receive all kinds of relevant data about your followers to better tailor your goods and services. You don’t want to read “It” to a room of fifth graders after all.

Do you have any stories you’d suggest to others?

“Ishmael” – Daniel Quinn (philosophy)
“We3” – Grant Morrison (fiction, graphic novel)
“The Accidental Office Lady: An American Woman in Corporate Japan” – Laura Kriska (cultural, nonfiction)



lord of The Rings is Classical? lol......you would have to pay me money to watch any of those movies.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Hopefully you will enjoy the books more, then, as a lot of content was dropped for the movies. But if you aren't a fan there are other stories like Redwall you may enjoy!

Not Yer Pa

Richard Ross prefers books on tape. He wears his Walkman 24/7.


Not sure what that means, but ok. I just can't get into fantasy/nonsense. I've never even watched Star Wars. Any of them. And it pisses my friends off :-). No twilight, harry potter, star trek, or any other fads that came up, no thanks.

P.s. I haven't seen a Walkman since 1993

Not Yer Pa

I roller skate to the Dairy Queen with my Walkman on every day. I can even skate backwards. I tried breakdancing with my skates on once but I hurt my elbow. It hurt! Then my mom made me a grilled cheese sandwich and I felt better. I'm getting a hamster this weekend. I have to keep him at my Dad's house. I'm going to name him Hammy. Or Aquaman. I haven't decided yet. I had a beta fish named Walleye. My grandpa took me fishing one time. He's dead now. He drowned. The fish I meant, not my grandpa. My grandpa moved to Florida with my new grandma. My mom said she's a gold digger. She must not be good at it though because my grandpa met her when she was a waitress at Bob Evans. Anyways, that's what's up with me lately. TTYL :)


I liked Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (1969) . I've liked a few of Vonnegut's books. This one was my first.

Also, my favorite author and best friend, Tena Green.She writes fiction and non fiction in the teachers and school administration help. She researches everything very well. Her fiction novels make you feel like you are there.

I recommend for the first read in her fiction series, A WOMAN'S TOUCH by Tena Green. It will scare you, but it has much truth in the way society perceives domestic violence. I should know. My real life gave her the inspiration.

J. Hartman

Nice choice for this week Mr. Morgan! Oh, our personal stories never actually come to an end. We move on to the next installment. If that next installment, is a love story or a horror story, that's up to you the author! S.M.I.L.E.