The truth is, "no" doesn't mean we are a bad person or doomed to failure. It's not evidence of a conspiracy against us by the fates or proof that our parents/teachers/siblings were right about us and we never will amount to anything. It just means "not yes." That's it. "Not yes."
A story, in its purest form, is possibly the most human way to communicate. Yet with the advent of technological and scientific advances, this forgotten art has taken a backseat to other, more data-driven, ways of communication.
We live in a one-size-fits-all educational culture that evaluates the worth of students through their test scores, GPAs, and college acceptance letters. It is this dominant narrative, and the system it supports, that needs to change.
Why the F*%K do we do it? Money? Fame? Love of the process? What is it? Why do we continue to write screenplays when aside from the outrageously arduous task of getting it even remotely right, the odds of then getting it sold and then made and then becoming a hit are...well doubtful.
Our relationship stories are our lifelines with others. By sharing our stories with someone important to us, we can see the events of our life from different, surprising perspectives. Creating our mutual stories could change our view of each other in unexpected and rewarding ways.
As someone who loves to hear people's stories and share my own stories with the world, I have found some of the stories I have continually told myself have not allowed me to listen wholeheartedly to others' stories.
Evenings of story-telling could be done in any town. Mine has a population of only 20,000. This kind of event does not require an enormous metropolis. Classical Athens was tiny by modern standards. What it had were traditions, an audience, occasions.
If we approach and accept art on its terms, it will offer us much more than familiarity and comfort; if we think we already know the moral to the story, we stand to miss what is there. There may be no story.
It's important to honor and acknowledge your past, to tease lessons from the stories that make you, you. But at some point the past becomes a crutch, something to fall back on when you're uncomfortable in the present or fearful of the future.
Maybe he didn't know how much an honest conversation or encouraging word meant to a kid -- but it set in motion a string of positive actions that helped me become the person I am today -- and I hope to honor his legacy by passing it forward.
You never know who may inspire you next. It may be the person standing next to you at the crosswalk or the student sitting next to you in class. Simple life stories and beautiful exchanges with just a nod, a smile and a crosswalk.