The protagonist in a short true life story I read recently could only be described as nice. Consensus, at least the voices that are loud enough to be heard, would have us believe that nice doesn’t work in today’s world. Yet, Mr. Nice Guy won my heart. He was likable, relationally enviable, one who was a subtle invitation to emulate. I wanted to know more.
Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe that’s why The Power of Nice by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Kavel became a national bestseller. It’s worth examination.
Fairy tales, fables, Bible stories, picture books, filmed animated fantasies, children’s plays, made up tales… I loved all forms of story I encountered as a child. Stories, real or fiction in any form, hinted in whispered tones that my life could be story, too. Tristine Rainer was the first to bring those whispers to actual considerations for me through her book.
Rainer was a television producer of other people’s stories when she realized she could not see the story in her own life. Her life felt fragmented, lacking what she felt was “coherent flow.” Examining her life caused Rainer to identify her passion for life story and led her to make herself her lab for discovering the autobiographical methodology she felt was missing at the time.
What was new about Rainer’s “new autobiography” thought when she published? Rainer’s view of autobiography was self-discovery rather than self-promotion and opened autobiography to the non-celibrity.
More than fifteen years later, Tristine Rainer’s thought still holds. If you want to achieve what James Atlas calls “unmatched depth and resonance,” let Your Life as Story be your guide.
The Writer’s Journey: Mythic structure for storytellers & screenwriters
George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, says he was influenced by myth expert Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Other screenwriters and filmmakers followed suit.
The help Lucas found through Campbell came to mind as I struggled with how to tell one of my personal stories. I turned to Campbell through Christopher Vogler’s Writer’s Journey which draws heavily on Campbell’s work. In the hero’s journey one can expect, at the least, a call to adventure, trials, a supreme ordeal, and a return.
Myth and the hero’s journey aren’t the only forms a story can take. And not everyone appreciates Campbell’s thought. But when your story fits the hero’s journey, Campbell’s thought is an extremely useful tool.
Want to raise a golden empire from scratch? Grab your creativity, combine it with dawn-to-after-dusk hard work under the tutelage of Sophia Amoruso in her new book #Girlboss.
Amoruso’s early beginnings start at her local thrift stores where she shopped for vintage she cleaned, styled, photographed, sold on Ebay, and shipped to buyers. I like the idea of vintage; my stunning personality and mother’s 1940s jacket netted me the first of several dates with a guy all the single girls drooled over at church in the 1980s. Having lived much of what is considered “vintage” these days (I’m a “sexy’-generian, remember?!), I don’t buy it. (I might make an exception and follow in Julia Roberts vintage Valentino footsteps if I ever am invited to the Oscars…) But enough folks did buy vintage to start Nasty Gal on its path to the more than $100 million online fashion retailer named 2012 Inc. Magazine “fastest growing retailer.”
How did the girl who once took a job checking IDs at an art school in order to get health insurance to get a hernia fixed escalate to mega-success? I don’t buy vintage, but I did buy the book. It’s worth the $26.95 (less online at Amazon) to discover the secrets of this rising fashion star’s route to online success!