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Why “The Bridge Is Out”?

Welcome, Friends. 

Somehow, I feel as if I should begin with the words, “Once Upon A Time…” as this site is intended as an exploration of the Art and Power of Storytelling.  Yet, I chose to start with “The Bridge Is Out.  I’m afraid you’ll have to stay the night.”


I’ll admit that I was thinking of the James Whale classic, THE OLD DARK HOUSE, when I came up with the title.  It evokes the image of a group of people stranded, with little else to do but tell and experience stories until their journeys can continue.  (That’s not the plot of THE OLD DARK HOUSE, but I’m sure you understand the metaphor.)

We are hard-wired to understand and appreciate good Storytelling.  It was present around the campfires of our youth; we grew up dancing to the accompanying rhythm in our music and we recognized it in our Art.  Many of us find it easier to recall the details of a well-told joke than it is to remember the name of a recently introduced acquaintance.

This point was vividly illustrated to me several months ago when an underwriter in our insurance company recounted five of the fifteen “red flags of arson” that had been the topic of a class I had conducted…seventeen years before!  I set about trying to find out how that had happened.

The connection was a story.  Rather than run through a list of the fifteen signs that could potentially point to a pending arson, I had decided to frame the content around a true story.  It came from the case files of our Claims department, and the details of the investigation had unfolded not unlike a particularly addictive soap opera.  (Some readers who attended that class will likely recall the fictional name I had created for the subject of that arson, The Smoke House Inn.)

The underwriter had recalled the lesson so well because she was replaying the events of the story in her memory.  As certain story incidents flashed onto the screen in her mind, she recognized key examples of the arson signs that went with them.  She told me how much she had appreciated the class and still used what she had learned when reviewing inspection reports.

I was flattered…and amazed.

However, it wasn’t the teacher.  It was the delivery method.  It was Storytelling.  The story provided her with a pathway to the knowledge that lay within the lesson.

There is no doubt in my mind that effective Storytelling improves memory retention.  (This may also be the reason why I can give you a scene by scene breakdown of a classic 1930’s film that I saw on television as a child when I can’t give you a content outline of the majority of meetings that I attended last week.)

So, I invite you to join me on this continuing exploration of Storytelling and to share your discoveries…and stories…that have made an impact on you.  Together we may come to a new understanding of how to improve the quality of what we want to share with one another.

In the meantime, I have saved a seat for you beside the fireplace.  Try some of this sherry that I have been keeping for a special occasion.  After all…

…The Bridge Is Out.  I’m afraid that you’ll have to stay the night.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
good luck in your story telling journey.. good story telling is certainly what keeps one interested in a book or movie..
Mar. 4th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the Good Wishes!
...And for taking the time to stop by!
Mar. 3rd, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
Cool post, look forward to more.
Mar. 4th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
I Appreciate The Visit
I will certainly do my best to keep things interesting!
Mar. 6th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
I love the title and premise of this blog. It creates a great atmosphere for the art of a good story...everything is a little unknown but that is what draws my interest.Can't wait to see you "deliver on the promise."
Mar. 11th, 2012 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thank You For Your Comments!
In the interest of "full disclosure," Joanna is my daughter. Also in the interst of "full disclosure," she has taught me a great deal in life and I value her views.
Mar. 7th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
Laurel and Hardy in storytelling
Dear Jim:
This is from Bruce. I was delighted when I read your L&H thing on stories. I once had it in my mind to take some L&H photos and give them a funny stand on Grammar and call it "Stan and Ollie Look At The English Language." Like taking the photo from "The Finishing Touch" and the caption would read "Every sentence has one." Hardy would be labeled "subject" and Stan would be labeled "predicate. Can you please send me a copy of this on-line? I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Bruce Weaver
Mar. 11th, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Laurel and Hardy in storytelling
Hello, Bruce:

Thank you for the comments, and especially for sharing your intriguing idea! The Boys would certainly make the study of grammar much more palatable! ...And, yes, I'll be very pleased to send you a copy! Best Wishes.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )