Monday, November 30, 2015

READ: Whatever You Are, Be a Good One #IMWAYR

I'm fascinated by hand-lettering and all the creative people bringing words to life in unique ways by putting pen to paper. As much as I love my digital tools, the gentle swirl of a pen and the ebb and flow of ink through the letters is beautiful. 
I enjoyed a lovely cup of tea while reading Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: 100 Inspirational Quotations Hand-Lettered by Lisa Congdon. It reminded me of my aunt who has done calligraphy for weddings and other special events for as long as I can remember. I always loved seeing her bottles of ink and the special tips on her pens as she dipped them into the pitch black liquid. Sometimes she would sit me down and help me practice loop after loop, trying to make them all evenly sized.
Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: 100 Inspirational Quotations Hand-Lettered by Lisa Congdon is a lovely collection of motivational quotes, brought to life on the page by Lisa. I'm new to Lisa's work but I'm already in love with her website and her blog and have spent time poking through the pages. I'm sure you'll enjoy it too!

My favorite quote of the book is:
"The aim of life
is to live.
And to live means
to be aware, 
divinely aware."
-Henry Miller

I'll share more about my new puppy, Perdita, but she's already reminding me to be in the moment. She loves to just sit at the end of the driveway or the edge of our yard and just look around at everything around her. Don't worry...there will be pictures soon!

I find power in others telling their stories and I hope you do too!
Check out It's Monday! What Are You Reading? at Book Date
For the kidlit version, visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WATCH: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

I talked with a teacher yesterday who told me about an exciting research project her students are embarking on. They were curious about what life was like when she was ten. She just so happens to be turning fifty this year so it works out well that it was exactly forty years ago that she was ten. She reached out to her friends on Facebook and many were willing to share their memories from being ten forty years ago. 

Right away, I thought of Story Corps and their campaign this Thanksgiving called: The Great Thanksgiving Listen. Then I thought about my friends Colby Sharp and Brad Wilson and their series Stories From School. But then my thoughts kept swirling and swirling as more and more stories about stories came to mind. 

Stories are everywhere.

I know stories matter. And yet I'm reminded again and again, like it's so hard to understand.

Stories matter.

That's why I'm here. Because I love words and love putting them together to tell my story in so many different ways. Because I believe humans want to be seen and if we can find our stories, then we see into ourselves but we also find our story to share with others. 

I love Amanda Palmer's story. I first watched this last year and watched this over and over. Amazed at the simplicity and beauty of seeing someone else. Please watch Amanda Palmer's 2013 Ted Talk The Art of Asking and think about how she tells her story and how she invites others into her story and how that makes all the difference.

Watch and think about the power of seeing into yourself but also seeing others. What if we turned off everything else and really looked someone in the eyes. What would we see? What if you look at yourself in the mirror? What do you see? What would someone not see if they didn't look closely or if they didn't know your story. And then think how you might take some time to see someone else and how to invite them to share their story with you. 

Because stories matter.
Thanks for stopping by to explore with me!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

JOIN: Celebrate This Week

Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.

Last week, I was celebrating because NaNoWriMo was starting. I finished my beat sheet. Thanks to Elizabeth Eulberg, I discovered Blake Snyder's Save the Cat and I used the beat sheet to revise my first NaNoWriMo project and I used it to draft my 2nd YA and now my 1st MG. 

Hold it a second, can I just stop and say it's so wild for me to even be able to write those words above!? It just hit me and now I have to stop and marvel at what I've accomplished. I mean this in the most humble way. Over the last four years I've spent so much time writing and that last paragraph made me realize what all of it has added up to. Whoa. I still feel like that first-time NaNoWriMo-er not knowing at all what she was doing...and maybe I'll always feel a little of that.

So anyway, over the summer I came up with my why. It's taken me a long time to get here and to know myself but I know I'm all about the growth mindset and believing in the impossible. I like to think of myself as a daydream believer (I wouldn't be here blogging at Story Exploratory if's a total dream come true.) and so the words, "I believe I can and I will" seemed perfect.

Growing up, my dad always repeated these words to me: "Anything is possible, if broken down into manageable segments, stabilized by balance, and purified by belief." Those words are a big part of why I so strongly believe in the growth mindset and the potential inside each and everyone of us. 

Which brings me back to are some of my tweets from the week. Writing isn't easy, it takes dedication and a lot of strategies to know how to persevere through all the crazy feelings that come up when I write. The more I talk to writers - and even creators in general, the more I realize how we all deal with emotions when we write or create. This week, I took to Twitter as a way to let my thoughts out as I wrote!

And now I'm off to really, actually, and truly read what words I wrote last night! I was so tired but I was determined to write something. I vaguely remember writing a scene from my traumatic 5th grade spelling bee into one of my character's back stories...that should be interesting!

What are you celebrating? 
Nano or writing or anything else, please share!
I've got (virtual) confetti at the ready. 
Thanks for stopping in to explore with me!

Friday, November 6, 2015

WRITE: Perfect is Perfect

I asked Google what the definition of "perfect" is and here is a screenshot of what it told me:

Last week I asked you to write about your ideal life. I explained, "Your ideal is whatever works for you. Your ideal is perfect because it's yours." But it took me a long time to realize the notion of the word "perfect" is completely subjective - at least when we're talking about ourselves as human beings.

When I read The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander, I felt such relief in finally coming to the understanding that perfect is merely a standard we apply to our understanding of the ideal.
What does it truly mean to be the perfect parent, friend, spouse, sibling, coworker, etc? Society and our experiences contribute to our false sense of perfect. To be perfect, one must understand the required elements, the conditions or qualities, or the standard for preciseness. 

But you can't measure people like you do products in a factory. The beauty of being human is that we are multi-faceted people with specific stories that have made us who we are. And we are more enough. We are perfect in every way.

Let's Write! Explore your thoughts about what it means to be perfect. What standards do you hold yourself to as you strive for perfection in your life? And what might happen if you looked at your life and accepted yourself - your strengths and weaknesses - as perfect?

You are perfect. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

WATCH: Why Some of Us Don't Have One True Calling by Emilie Wapnick

Last week, I shared Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Ted Talk The Danger of a Single Story and I also invited you to write about why you are here. I hope you inspire you to think about your story and how knowing yourself and your story might help you move towards knowing yourself and appreciating yourself more. 

Today, I would like to share Emilie Wapnick's 2015 Ted Talk Why Some of Us Don't Have One True Calling. I love how her words helped me think about how I view myself. It expanded my thinking about myself. The more I explore my own story and why I think I'm here, the more I have to face the fact that I might not have one true calling...or maybe I do have one true calling but it's manifesting itself in so many different ways and all the little things I've experienced in my life are adding up to something bigger that I might not even see yet.

 and decide whether you are a specialist or a multipotentialite. How does it feel to look at yourself with this lens? Is it freeing to know that it's okay to dabble in a variety of interests? It it a relief to know it's okay if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up? And how might telling your story help others recognize their own potential - singularly or multi-ly?

Thanks for stopping by
and exploring the power of story with me!

Monday, November 2, 2015

READ: V Is For Vulnerable #IMWAYR

A colleague shared V is for Vulnerable with me and I didn't realize it was written by Seth Godin until I sat down to read it last week. I'm a definite Seth Godin fan. Tribes is my favorite of his books and I enjoyed his Skillshare class The Modern Marketing Workshop. If you haven't heard of Skillshare before, I recommend checking it out, there are so many classes to choose from. And I also suggest following Seth's blog, it's short and to the point and usually insightful.

V is for Vulnerable is an alphabet book for harnessing the growth mindset. It's illustrated by Hugh MacLeod who does an excellent job of bringing Seth's thoughts to life. Visit his website to sign up for a daily email with "insights and inspiration". 

I wrote down a few quotes that struck me and lots of ideas as I became inspired but one in quote in particular really stood out. 

are people
who take 
for the 
right reasons."

Should we always take a risk? Probably not, but there are times when a risk is worthy and all the excitement and hope has to face the fear and hesitation. And being able to weigh out the pros and cons and decide a risk is worth is pretty heroic. 

I find power in others telling their stories and I hope you do too!
Check out It's Monday! What Are You Reading? at Book Date
For the kidlit version, visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.