Tag Archives: artists

Toxic Stories: Stories That Cause Harm

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The story is the most powerful form of communication. This idea not only applies to verbal and written communications but other types of human expression as well.  If a story can be infused into other forms of communication such as  the music, visual art, and dance, they will be more accessible and memorable.

The story structure with its beginning, middle, and end is sticky and approachable. As children, we are drawn to story. When we grow old, we remember and find purpose through our stories. During every stage of our development stories wait for us and we search them out to be entertained, to understand, and to be understood. Stories connect us as individuals, communities, and societies.  Stories allow us to form identities on many levels.

Yep, stories are powerful…

But that doesn’t mean they are always good.

This very powerful form of expression and communication can be used for good and for bad—no, not just bad, some stories can be downright evil.  In my last series of articles, I wrote about junk stories: these stories fill you up like junk food, and if over consumed can affect your mental, emotional, and spiritual growth.  This new series will focus on toxic tales: stories that can cause harm.

We can often look back in time and identify stories in history, literature,writing, and folklore that generated hate, self-loathing, and confusion, but when they are presented as popular culture or “the next big thing,” it’s often difficult for the target audience to understand how toxic a tale can be.

I’m not suggesting that stories, movies, books, or shows should be banned.  Banned content often becomes more popular, besides, poisonous prose is often embraced.  The best way to protect yourself from toxic tales is to learn how to identify it and then refrain from creating, consuming, and/or promoting it.

I will focus on one form of toxic tales at a time focusing on my experience storytelling and story coaching.  Please send me your thoughts about different types of toxic tales…and I encourage you to list specific movies, stories, shows, and books.

 

Next: Toxic Tale #1-Promoting Hate through Discrimination

Getting Unstuck: Taking your Art to the Next Level

We all get bogged down, stalled, blocked. Musicians, painters, writers, performers: all artists get stuck.  It often happens after a success and a burst of productivity. Other times it happens after a well deserved break or vacation. We tend to stall right at a time when we’re ready to surge forward.  That’s when things stop.

It’s a lot like driving a car and getting stuck in the mud.  You’ve been zooming along, making good time when the tires get swallowed by soft, supple mud.  It’s wet and unformed.  If it was in a farmer’s field you might call it fertile land, but it’s part of the road so now it’s a major headache.  You spin your wheels in an attempt at freedom, but you just sink deeper. Maybe you get out of the car and get the shovel from the trunk, (I always carry a shovel in my trunk) and try to dig yourself out.  Unfortunately there is a lot of mud.  Whatever mud you dig out is instantly replaced by other mud.

Finally you decide you can’t do this alone.  You need help. The first person to walk by just got their driver’s permit. They suggest gunning the motor.  Now you realize you not only need help, but you need help from somebody who knows how to get out of the mud. You look around and find somebody who lives in the area.  He tells you he’s been stuck in a similar mud hole just down the block.  He puts cardboard under the tires and tells you to gently move back and forth and then he pushes. It doesn’t happen right away, it takes some time but together you move out of the mud and return to the road.

It’s the same for artists.  We often get stuck when things are fertile and we get frustrated. Sometimes we work really hard, {spinning our wheels} and just get more stuck.  Maybe we’ll go for the shovel and logically try to move forward,but if you don’t know how to handle the mud, more will just replace it.

So, you got to find somebody to help, somebody who knows about being stuck. I suggest a story coach.  She knows how to listen and guide you through the story that’s build a wall around you.  Maybe a new story will open the door, or maybe owning the beginning or end of the story will move you forward.  A story coach will also listen to the process of your music, painting, sculpture, dance, or performance. As the story unfolds, your art will not only move forward but rise to new levels.

Story coaching can be done in person or online through Skype or Google Hangout. If you are ready to embrace your art and get back to work, please give me a call.

Learn more about story coaching or schedule a session with me at Rivka@SimplyExtraordinaryTales.com.  862-268-4989

Mention this blog and receive $50 off a 3 session package.