New Year Reflections: The Importance of Story-Telling

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Story-telling will always be one of my true joys and loves.

A story is created and shared. Entire new worlds can be envisioned and escaped to. Strong emotions may be evoked, perhaps in response to scenarios far from personal experience. Self-awareness can be guided to new depths of perspective. Wisdom and values can be shared, for any to benefit from.

Writing has always been a natural medium for my story-telling. I wrote fantastically whimsical, silly stories as a child, with an illustrious start at age 6(?) with an award from the local library for my illustrated short story about a unicorn having breakfast with a princess. I generated prolific amounts of poetry in high school. I abandoned words briefly for numbers at my numbers-obsessed university (where I majored in Course 2), but was reunited with them post-college, when blogging became my digital umbilical cord to the world-at-large.

Writing is my artistic outlet to express my reality, and to synthesize my thoughts into vignettes for your enjoyment and utility, my much-appreciated reader.

I also love hearing stories. For each story I am exposed to, I am grateful for the opportunity and appreciative of the person behind it.

I embrace the heart and soul of my elders as much as the historical and cultural significance of their lives. I soothe and commiserate with the emotional needs of those close to me. I learn from the everyday adventures and musings (societal, parental, etc.) of my peers. I listen to the tribulations and motivations of those who use the products my company develops (I thank you for reaching out to me!). I relish learning a designer’s core motivational philosophies (be it fashion, beauty, jewelry, product, furniture, or otherwise) and see how they are reflected in the things that they create. I have fun discovering how a brand’s mission and values of a brand are expressed across consumer touch points.

Recently, I watched ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi‘, a documentary about a man quietly and intensely self-driven in perfection of his craft of sushi-making. It reveals his larger-than-life reputation which spills over into and shapes the lives of those who work with him, most notably, that of his two sons.

Unlike documentaries that expose conflict and challenge, this can be described as peaceful. We follow diminutive Jiro through his workdays. At a glance, one might easily dismiss his steadfast, strong (incredible at 85!) body language, his rare and almost imperceptible facial expressions, and his simple statements. It would be a mistake to do so. Over the course of the film, they reveal a complex painting of a supremely powerful human emotional capability: determination despite fatalistic acceptance.

“There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is.”        – Jiro Ono

It is an honest and simple story of a man, and the legacy he built. It was utterly beautiful. Watching this film, I had an epiphany. However, it wasn’t about the movie; the movie was simply a catalyst.

I realized that there are stories to be told about anything – truly, anything. It just takes someone to spend the effort to learn what it is, weaving together collected threads to find the unique perspective and value inherent to the subject.

And I want to tell as many of these stories as I can. I want to craft them in beautiful, compelling ways. I want to orchestrate an experience that engages senses beyond the mental stimulation of the written word.

I can do this with video. With video, so much complexity and depth can be expressed by thoughtfully choreographing multiple elements: visuals, a spoken story, human gestures and experiences, and music. I have heard this echoed over and over again: “2015 is the year of video”. I believe it, and I embrace it.

I could never put aside writing. I am certain I will find ways to use words and video to create a special brainchild of the two (instantly, the heartfelt real-time narratives that Paavo creates for Above & Beyond’s performances come to mind).

I eagerly look forward to the challenges and opportunities of video creation and production. Based on my steep learning curve across the few videos I’ve made so far, I know it’ll be an exciting and beautiful exploration. I invite you to come along for the ride, if you’d like to subscribe to the Eye For Elegance Youtube channel.

Happy new year to you and yours!! May it be full of new opportunities and adventures, and filled with self-fulfillment, improvement, and above all, wonder.

“Always look ahead and above yourself. Always try to improve on yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft.”        – Jiro Ono




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