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Since you are reading this blog, chances are that you have some stories that you really treasure.  They have a special meaning, resonating deeply within you, providing a delightful nostalgic memory, or giving the sense of visiting with a dear friend.

That is one of the joys of storytelling…and one of the dangers, too.  For when a story has a special meaning for us, we need to be aware that not everyone shares those feelings.

This was brought home to me many years ago when I was a high school teacher.  I was about to illustrate a point by using a story example, and the class…almost as one…called out “STAR TREK!”  Yes, I used that television show often; too often, as it happened.  The point was missed because my students thought my point-of-reference was too limited.

That is undoubtedly why I am unable to enjoy the musical, WICKED, although I’ve seen it twice.  I did like the book, but the musical plays very fast and loose with a beloved childhood movie memory, THE WIZARD OF OZ.  I didn’t mind the enhancements, but I could never get past rewriting the story events that I enjoyed so much.  (Since WICKED is also beloved by so many people, I feel somewhat ostracized when its many fans discuss its merits.)

Taking for granted that others have had the same experience with popular stories, or that they share your love for them, invites problems.  I used to recall the movie RUDY in my training sessions when I wanted to talk about dedication overcoming adversity.  I mean, who doesn’t like RUDY?

Well, there are definitely some folks out there who are less than impressed with that story.  When I used it as an example, the anticipated “shared experience of a quick understanding” instead turned to a negative.  …And, if my taste was so flawed that I liked that movie, could my other examples be viewed with anything less than suspicion?  Creating a new, neutral illustrative story would have worked more to my advantage.

To my benefit, I have learned not to assume shared enthusiasm when the message of a story is important…although I am still caught unaware from time to time.  Most recently, it was the movie, HUGO.  Yes, I fell in love with HUGO, as only a student of the art of film could.  My daughter had a different opinion.

Yes, she thought it had some good moments, but the bulk of it was much too talky and slow.  I was entranced throughout. 

Still, that’s okay.  Every once in a while, I have a victory.  I kept telling my daughter that she’d love RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES…and, given my taste in films, she had her doubts.  She resisted as long as she could, but finally gave in to my wishes.  She was very impressed with it.

Now, if I could only get her to share my enthusiasm for FRANKENSTEIN….

Thanks for reading.