More thoughts on creativity from Daphne Gray-Grant in this month’s “Tell Your Story Newsletter”

March 2021 Vol 3 Issue 3

Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):
Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling
Let me tell your story!

Welcome Mid-March, 2021!
As spring is on the horizon in Saskatchewan, we long for more of the sunshine of last weekend but less of yesterday’s gusting wind! No Saskatchewanian ever dares to call an end to winter in March!

But longer daylight hours (and our province’s wisdom in not having accepted Daylight Savings’ Time), bring welcome relief!

Although the late phases of the Covid pandemic are wearying, I was relieved to test negative for the virus recently, after developing some troubling symptoms. I’m grateful to colleague and friend, nurse Laura Van Loon, for assisting me with getting tested. And I’m happy to be on-the-mend!

Despite these self-isolating, pandemic days, may the growing light and warmth of this month (even if limited to a balcony or back yard) bring you a return to or renewed good health, accomplishment in what you do and gratitude for the blessings (people, projects, books and more) that grace your life.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth

Principal
Storytelling Communications
www.elizabethshih.com

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IN THIS ISSUE:

ARTICLE 1: More thoughts on creativity from Daphne Gray-Grant
STORYTELLERS’ CORNER: Bryan Garner and the origins of “milquetoast”
SHOP NEWS
ABOUT US

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Article One, on Entrepreneurial Wellness: More thoughts on creativity from Daphne Gray-Grant

Readers of this newsletter will recall that I’ve often discussed the concept of creativity and how we can enhance creative thinking processes, as entrepreneurs. Recently, Vancouver writer and writers’ coach, Daphne Gray-Grant, recommended 10 ways we can all improve our creativity.

Unlike writers Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic) and more in the vein of Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird), Gray-Grant stresses that creativity is “not a special gift, reserved for a limited few,” but is “a skill that anyone can learn.” Do her following 10 tips resonate with you?

(1) Get enough rest: Gray-Grant reports that most of us need between seven and nine hours of rest, nightly, and yet very few of us reach that target. She questions while we feel shame about needing sleep and argues against subordinating our need for sleep to anything else.

Most sleep studies “confirm that creativity is better after prolonged sleep”
(Sleepline.com/creativity/). Right-brain centred, verbal creatives may fall asleep later and sleep later than those who are visually creative (i.e. artists) and definitely from left-brain, science thinkers.

An article on the US National Institutes of Health website tells us that sleep is needed to flush out metabolic waste from the brain that accrues when we are awake. Sleep helps to restore our thinking and creating capacities (reasoning, problem solving and attention to detail) and to store memories, as
well.

(2) Creativity can improve if we allow for boredom. Because of foolishly overusing our smartphones, we never allow ourselves to be bored. When we’re waiting for a bus or at the supermarket, we surf YouTube or social media.
Gray-Grant says that instead allowing our minds to wander is healthy. She suggests: “look at the other people in the same space as you—notice their appearance, think about what makes them tick, imagine what their lives are like. You can look at the physical space [near you]. What are the
colours? What re the objects like? What makes it pretty? Or ugly? Or boring?”

This kind of mind wandering allows for creativity, since your mind can “go in any direction it likes. “Doing the same old activities does not allow for creativity.” And “noodling” on one’s smartphone is the mental equivalent of eating junk food, says British psychologist Sandi Mann.

When people are bored, they engage in deeper thinking, create games, amusements, diversions. I recall the great English actress Emma Thompson saying in an interview years ago that when she was a new mother, she coped with periods of creative underwork (e.g. a film project that lost its funding)
by daydreaming and developing far-away thoughts that bore no relation to the present.

(3) Gray-Grant says that it’s a mistake to try to write or create in a silent space and that this is why many writers work in coffee shops. She recommends seeking sound in the “70-decibel range,” like some soft living room music, which will not be too distracting; something with consistent rhythm
and tempo, such as Baroque composers; music that you already know and that does not have lyrics (which are distracting). Writers like me who dislike hearing music when thinking, can use a soundbox that quietly plays the repetitive sounds of rain, the surf, running water, wind and singing birds.

(4) Exercising regularly helps our brains, because it encourages the growth and survival of new brain cells (in the hippocampus). Writers for centuries have spoken of walking as a stimulant for better thinking (e.g. Virginia Woolf’s famous essay on “Street Haunting.”), since physical movement
can also promote mental activity.

(5) Gray-Grant recommends allowing ourselves to be “more childlike,” by which she means to allow oneself to have more fun in life—by questioning the status quo; by speaking our own simple truths (without white lies meant to spare others’ feelings); by “approaching the world with open hands and
open hearts,” instead of selfish egotism; and by not allowing discouraging things to burden you, by looking for positivity elsewhere.

(6) She also recommends taking more frequent breaks. Taking rests from work and not chaining oneself to a 80+ hour work week allows mental rest that increases one’s productivity in fewer hours.

(7) Seek the company of others who are creative, or, when that isn’t possible, read about creative people. I blogged years ago on creativity as discussed by Twyla Tharp and Elizabeth Gilbert’s books on the topic. Gray-Grant recommends Just Kids (Patti Smith) and Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)
and The War of Art (Steven Pressfield), amongst others.

(8) Know that being and thinking creatively “isn’t easy” and can be messy. “It’s not about playing with paints . . . on a sunny day. Instead it’s about sticking with your program when you’re discouraged with it and frustrated.” She recommends “set[ting] up routines and practices.”

(9) Do creative work, “just because,” and not always for a specifically defined purpose. Creativity can be “for fun” or because you “feel like doing it.” These are worthwhile motivations.

(10) Allow yourself time to be creative, practice it as part of a routine, so you become used to allowing time and energy for it. Gray-Grant says that while we can’t simply turn on a creativity tap, we can get used to developing a routine that encourages it.

And now it’s your turn: do you already use these recommended activities to increase your creativity? What does or does not work for you? Please share your experience on my “Contact” page. I’ll be delighted to hear from you.
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STORYTELLER’S CORNER: Words, Stories, Riddles and Jokes on Writing and Editing . . .

This month: Bryan Garner and the origins of “milquetoast”

Etymologist Bryan Garner recently wrote in his “Usage Tip for the Day,” that the term “milquetoast” is derived from Harold Webster’s early-20th -century American comic strip, “The Timid Soul.”

The popular cartoon featured Caspar Milquetoast. His surname (then and now) refers to a “weak, timid person who is easily led” by others. The character is meek, overly sensitive and paranoid of offending others.

Webster had his character speak the following, which was reprinted on a Christmas card in the 1950s: “If you won’t think it presumptuous of me I’d like to -uh-er-wish you a merry-or at least as reasonably pleasant-a Christmas as we are entitled to, things-uh-er-being what they are.”

Garner says the word is now so commonplace that it should not be capitalized. Today, we might call someone a “milquetoast” if, for instance, after many years of political correctness, the person becomes unable to speak assertively about anything.

The name is derived (as sources including Wikipedia remind us) from “bland and . . . inoffensive food, milk toast, which, light and easy to digest, is appropriate food for someone with a weak or ‘nervous’ stomach.”

The cartoon started in the 1920s, resurged in the 1930s and continued for one year Webster’s death in 1952.

Do you have a story, riddle, cartoon or joke on any aspect of communications? Please share it with me; I’d be delighted to use it in an upcoming issue.

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SHOP NEWS:

I’m taking a needed few days off from my usual writing and editing activities, so am happy to delve more deeply into my stack of unread books.
Maybe Middlemarch or Tristram Shandy will finally get their due . . . .?
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I’ll be delighted to return to editing Praxis School of Entrepreneurship (PSE) colleagues’ blog postings and to develop their website copy, as part of the staySMART, pandemic-friendly program.

The program will be renewed in 2021, so stay tuned to join in! Meantime, it’s always wonderful to work with fellow alumni. I’m grateful as ever to PSE Chief Visionary Office Monica Kreuger, group coach and facilitator, Deanna Litz, and Elaine Mantyka and the PSE administrative team, who developed this work for me and other service providers.
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Special acknowledgement to those of my readers who in recent months have lost beloved spouses or family members, whether due to Covid or other illnesses. You are on my mind and in my heart.
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And deep thanks to those who continue to provide support via the province’s Healthline (811) and at our Health Region’s Covid-19 Testing Centre.
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Finally, thanks and prayers to those who care well for seniors in these trying times, providing necessary stimulation, support, good nutrition and other basic needs, even when the pandemic limits our activity.
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ABOUT US:
Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.

Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now teach English as a second language that helps new and economic immigrants to secure better jobs; I write communications documents that help SMEs to close more sales by communicating more effectively; and I write ebooks and chapbooks that help major companies share their legacies.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant
website (www.elizabethshih.com).

After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!
Please visit my website for more information (www.storytellingcommunications.ca)

Uncle Frank’s morning constitutional and other stories, in this month’s “Tell Your Story Newsletter”

February 2021 Vol 3 Issue 2

Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):

Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling

Let me tell your story!

Welcome Mid-February, 2021!

Today marks the start of a reprieve from two weeks of unseasonable cold in Saskatchewan. The mind-numbing, bone-chilling temperatures, descending at times to –55C with windchill, have kept many of us indoors. As I write this issue, it is Valentine’s Day, and pandemic restrictions (on top of the inclement weather) mean that few couples are dining out and no one observing the holiday out-of-doors.

Local media have reported an unprecedented use of energy to heat our homes in Saskatchewan, during this “Polar Vortex.” We’ve also distracted ourselves by powering up Netflix (in my case, BritBox) in our leisure hours.

What are you “binge-watching,” this weekend, if the options touted on CTV’s supper-time news on February 12th, “The Notebook” and “Dirty Dancing,” do not appeal?

What about “Truly, Madly, Deeply” (featuring the late, great Alan Rickman) or the BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel, North & South? Thought-provoking love stories that defy Hollywood’s “success” formulas.

And arguably more importantly, what are you reading, for leisure? I’m looking forward to delving into Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength and Happiness, by Rick Hanson. In a very different vein, Eliot’s Middlemarch is waiting patiently for me, although there never seem to be enough hours . . . . .

This month’s articles features a surprising encounter at my local gym; and writerly thoughts from GrammarGirl, Mignon Fogarty, on using “person-first language,” when we discuss people with illnesses or disabilities.

If Valentine’s Day has left you out in the proverbial cold, you may be interested to know that we have just entered into Asia’s Lunar New Year! So much of the Eastern Hemisphere is celebrating the Year of the Ox: That animal predicts that 2021 will be a year requiring hard work and steady reliability. Just the thought makes me crave some Valentine’s chocolate!

Wishing all my valued readers a good month ahead,

Elizabeth

Principal, Storytelling Communications

www.elizabethshih.com

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IN THIS ISSUE:

ARTICLE 1: Uncle Frank’s morning constitutional and what it teaches us about writing good copy

STORYTELLERS’ CORNER:

On “person-first” language, with Mignon Fogarty

SHOP NEWS

ABOUT US

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Article One:  Uncle Frank’s ‘morning constitutional’ and what it teaches us about writing good copy

A few weeks ago, I witnessed an unusual scene at my local fitness facility. (Yes, it was open, but everyone there kept at least 10 feet apart and adhered to strict cleaning protocols. Those few of us “regulars” who still work out  during Covid, tend to do so out of medical necessity.)

After I finished my workout and just as I was leaving, one of the retired (70+) members, a 5 foot 5 inch ball of energy, caught the front door, as it swung behind me and exclaimed “Thank you!”

Surprised to find anyone so close on my heels, I stepped aside to let him pass. A sight–and a story–ensued!

“Uncle Frank,” as he is known to us, clad only in a long  green, terry cloth bathrobe and  barefoot in slingback “croc” shoes, cheerfully passed by, padding down the  sidewalk toward the back of the building,

“Clacketty-clack-clack,” his feet sounded, when his plastic crocs made contact with concrete. Although Saskatchewan’s current Polar Vortex had not yet set in, it was still a cold morning (-15 C), and with colder temperatures expected. When Uncle Frank’s feet met the snow and ice of the parking lot, his gait turned into more of a fast-paced shuffle–a sort of “swish, swish.”

Startled, I thought, “How far will he be going, dressed like that?” What about whatever health issues he may have?

But Uncle Frank, who by now was a good 15 feet ahead of me, continued to make his through the back parking lot, out onto the sidewalk, in the direction of the neighbourhood’s main thoroughfare. He evidently had no qualms of being seen in a bathrobe in high traffic.

Despite moving at a good clip, Uncle Frank, whose activity inside the gym I’d barely noticed, had an air of total nonchalance. He could have been enjoying an amble through his back garden in the height of summer. “Good Morning!” I heard him exclaim to a winter cyclist who was riding the wrong way, down the one-way street. The cyclist, a young man less than one-third of Uncle Frank’s age,  sped by in full winter gear, pausing long enough to do a “double take” at the older man’s dress.

A middle-aged African Canadian woman, who was waiting for a bus, was the next one to catch sight of Uncle Frank. Her eyes boggled, as she exclaimed (in her francophone tongue): “Il est vraiment fou!”

And yet, despite the oddity of Uncle Frank’s behaviour  that morning, he appeared to be firmly in control of himself and not someone I’d have thought an exhibitionist.  For as many months as I could remember, he had regularly and energetically exercised on machines in the gym without raising an eyebrow.  Now, however, he had let loose a quirkier side, making what some call a “morning constitutional,” in the out-of-doors. Instead of being satisfied with a routine “workout,” Uncle Frank engineered a  “breakout.”

Witnessing this reminded me of the nature of copywriting—or, as many Saskatchewanians prefer to call it, business writing. Most days, Uncle Frank uses machines like treadmills and benchpresses. But on this day, after completing that activity, he evidently craved a more “creative” finish . . .

In the world of copywriting, similarly, writers know the usefulness staying “safely tethered to the fundamentals of persuasion” (to quote Canadian copywriter,  Steve Slaunwhite). We think through questions when we start a  project and often apply “starter” formulas, as well as SEO or A/B testing, when we draft our documents. These procedures are like the calibrated weight machines at the gym. When writing marketing materials, copywriters often measure success rates by numbers.

We tend to consult copywriters’ formulas, such as  “the 5 Ps” (stating the problem; positioning one’s service as the solution; presenting the key features and benefits that differentiate one’s service; proving one’s claims by giving evidence; and proposing or inviting to act, via a call-to-action).

While such formulas help to structure our documents, good copywriters also know when to drop them, in favour of some quirkiness—a spark of insight or magic, some whimsy— that the standards alone do not allow.

Copywriting will only truly sing if we balance our use of standard, numbers and formulas with some creative play.

Did I mention that Uncle Frank took his “morning constitutional” that day, while sipping in his right hand from a dark mug of – water? Coffee? Something stronger? (No one seems to know!) Maybe he was shuffling his way toward the neighbourhood coffee shop, after he passed beyond my line of sight.

While other, more conventional athletes at my gym (me included) end our workouts routinely, Uncle Frank reminds us that writing (like exercise) only becomes truly interesting when we set conventions aside and open ourselves to something better.

And now it’s your turn. In the work that you do, how do you both adhere to standards and break free from them?

What do you do (in Covid times, no less) that reflects the spirit of Uncle Frank’s shuffle in his bathrobe and crocs?

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STORYTELLER’S CORNER: On person-first language with “GrammarGirl,” Mignon Fogarty

American “GrammarGirl,” Mignon Fogarty, wrote recently in her newsletter on English usage that “the way we refer to people with diseases or conditions has changed in the last few decades.”

She posed the question: “Should you call someone a Diabetic or a person with Diabetes?” A few short lines later, she says that “it’s better to put the person first rather than emphasizing the disease . . .  [So] ‘people with Diabetes’ is better than ‘diabetics.’ ” But she hastens to add that this is “not true for every group, and you should make sure you are referring to people the way they want you to refer to them.”

An unhappy correspondent challenged Fogarty to adopt this perspective, some months earlier, by complaining that people with cancer are not referred to as “cancerics” and those with colds as “coldics!”

I recall listening to another aspect of this debate, 30 years ago, when U of S

English professors Ron Marken and Terry Matheson (on CBC radio’s “Watch your Language”) decried how “politically correct” language used to describe people with disabilities could undermine the seriousness of these people’s experiences.

I distinctly recall one caller to that show saying that he was “BLIND, NOT visually challenged!” It was the early 90s, the heyday of political correctness, whereby garbage collectors were referred to as “sanitation engineers.”

So how do we separate “person-first language” (“people with disabilities”) from trivializing (and ultimately dehumanizing) political correctness? Use of the term “person-first language” itself began to rise between 1980 and 1990, after which “diabetics” was a still “more common [expression] than ‘person with diabetes,’ ” but was becoming much less dominant.

Fogarty adds that in 1990 in the US, the influential “Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA) favoured the phrase “people with disabilities” above “the disabled,” further bringing “person-first language” into the mainstream. In some ways, these changes are positive.

But Fogarty rightly nuances the issue by saying that “person-first language isn’t as simple or black-and-white as it initially seems.” Identity-first language can, in one moment, reflect pride from a minority group; and other times, it can elicit stigma, as it implies that someone’s difference is a “problem” that needs correcting or controlling.

Some minority groups disagree with others on these issues, both inside and outside of their communities. For instance, some people who have autism prefer to be called “autistic” or “autistic people,” since they see their condition as part of “an identity in the same way that ‘American’ is seen as an identity (when you call someone an ‘American’ ).” Others find such terminology to be oppressive.

Fogarty’s conclusion makes sense: Simply ask people within a community what they wish to be called. If they are not available to answer you, then consult reputable online resources that reflect these people’s interests, to see which term(s) are in common use, today.

But, even more importantly, Fogarty reminds us, citing the Associated Press, “you should only mention a person’s identity if it’s relevant to the story.” Otherwise, it’s far more respectful–and appropriate–to “leave it out.”

And now it’s your turn: Do you use “person-first language?” How do you deal with the inevitable problems that can result?

Please send your comments to my “Contact” page. I’d be delighted to hear from you.                           

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SHOP NEWS:

I am particularly grateful this month to the Can-Sask Labour Market Services, Monica Kreuger (CVO and Founder of the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship), and alumni of Praxis’ staySMART program, who have called upon me to revise some of my colleagues’ website copy; to interview and write promotional articles on them; or to edit some of their blog postings.

As an alumna of the startSMART program, myself, I’ve joined forces in this work with Christina Cherneskey (CEO of Christina Cherneskey Communications) and with Megan Kent (Project Manager of Little Ox Film Company), to help alumni, who started smart, to “staySMART,”  especially in Covid times.

In this work, as a copywriter and editor, I have been delighted to interview entrepreneurs Ken Strohan (Your Own Way Residential, Ltd) and  Miranda Young (Alt Haus Interior Design) to learn about their stories and to strengthen their website copy. More clients are queuing up for the same.

It’s a joy to share a common background and training with these clients, so that traditional interviews give way to informal but deep  conversations about best practices, hopes, dreams–and, of course, the inevitable challenges and losses. These passionate, self-motivated individuals whose businesses were molded in the crucible of Praxis’ startSMART program, continue to thrive, while pursuing their livelihoods.

Special thanks also this month to Kanchan and Sona Manek of the Raj Manek Mentorship Program for organizing a thought provoking webinar on entrepreneurial “adaptability vs. extinction” by Brenda Nowakowsi of JNE Welding.

Brenda shared an intensive and inspiring presentation on how entrepreneurs must maintain a nimble attitude and forward-looking behaviours to seek “continual improvement,” if we want to stay ahead both of rapid digitalization and workaday challenges.

I’m very grateful, in other news, to exchange emails on starting to teach ESL, with Steve Cavan, pioneering craft brewmaster of SK (former director of Paddock Wood Brewery). Steve has also taught philosophy, classics and writing over many years at the U of S. His capacity to pivot in pandemic times inspires me, as does his sensible advice. Thank you, Steve!

On a related note, I recently  completed my certification as a TEFL teacher (teacher of English as a foreign language), through Tefl.org in Inverness, Scotland. Their excellent training materials, useful webinars and job board are helping me to develop this new arm of my communications services.

Another thanks this month (it’s been busy!) to Rev. Roberto DeSandoli, Martha Fergusson and other coordinators of “Kidz Klub,” at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Saskatoon). They’ve kindly welcomed me as a virtual volunteer, so that I can immerse myself in working with children. This work is in part to give back to a remarkable faith community and partly to (re)teach me how to engage with children!

Another “shout out” to the very faithful staff at my local gym, who regularly prepare and (re)clean the spaces and equipment, making exercise possible in these deadening, Covid days.

As many Saskatchewanians know, the best way to shoulder the latest “Polar Vortex” is to keep one’s body moving, daily–and with it, increasing blood flow to one’s brain. Kudos and virtual hugs to gym staff Jackie, Fred, Val, Nima, Monika and other team members, who help us keep our endorphins flowing, and on a limited budget, too!

Special thanks, as well, to Delia, Anna and Abigail caregivers of an elderly relative; and the staff of the orthopedic division, SK Abilities Council (senior division); who support the elderly members of many families in Saskatoon, to live the best lives they can, in our community.

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ABOUT US:

Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.

Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now write marketing and communications documents and lead  workshops that help entrepreneurs and newcomers to Canada to strengthen their businesses or secure better jobs.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL compliant website (www.elizabethshih.com).

After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!

Please visit my website for more information (www.storytellingcommunications.ca).

STAY IN TOUCH: 

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January 2021–Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN)

January 2021, Vol 3 Issue 1

Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN): Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling

Let me tell your story!

IN THIS ISSUE:

ARTICLE 1: Missing out on reading? Writer Christian Jarrett on how to get back to the books

STORYTELLERS’ CORNER:

On Janus words with Mignon Fogarty

SHOP NEWS

ABOUT US

Welcome Mid-January, 2021!

 

With Christmas now past, many of you have expressed relief with the mild temperatures the month of January has so far provided. Such mildness has made weathering the ongoing pandemic much easier. Compromising on the choices we make, so as to overcome the hold that Covid-19 has on us, we can, however, understandably feel weary with the isolation and loneliness brought by social distancing.

In this month’s issue, I highlight the coping strategy of reading, by visiting sensible ways to gain or reclaim it, if you have lost the habit, in our daily lives. Pandemic times make  the library and local bookstores as essential as grocery stores. And in “Storytellers’ Corner,” I visit Mignon Fogarty’s explanation of “Janus words,” which often confuse us with their double and contradictory meanings.

While we are mid-winter, with today (January 18) often described as the “bluest” day of the year, the appreciable lengthening of daylight hours offers us hope, as does the promise of a spring and summer that will bring vaccinations.

Meantime, I wish you the calm, patience (and if need be, downright escapism) that good reading can provide, even if we feel we are trudging along, keeping “one foot in front of the other,” as resilience requires.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth

Principal

Storytelling Communications

www.elizabethshih.com

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Article One: Missing out on reading? Writer Christian Jarrett on how to get back to the books

One of the struggles for at least some creatives during the Covid-19 pandemic is that daily life can feel too frantic for books. Piles of both fiction and non-fiction lie stacked near my favourite reading chair, and yet often remain unread.

In a recent issue of “Aeon + Psyche,” writer and neuroscientist Christian Jarrett recommends habit-building strategies for pandemic-weary, armchair readers, who want to return to reading, for the self-improvement—and sheer joy— that it brings. I turn to those, below.

Like Jarrett, I envy heavy readers who can invest hours daily in the process. I find that a day spent without serious reading feels like a day misspent. I’m sorry to say that I’m not currently a heavy reader, not least because, as Jarrett writes, whatever is happening in the lives of heavy readers, “they’re never completely on their own—they always have their books.”

Twenty-first century life has many of us overwhelmed by the demands on our time, so we buy books with the intention of reading them, but often do not get there. Jarrett says that the Japanese even have coined a word for this condition, call “tsundoku.” A survey of adults in the US revealed that more than one-third wish they could read more than they do. Anecdotal evidence in Canada indicates at least similar, if not higher, rates.

He notes that editors, agents and book award judges—professional “super-readers”—manage to read (or to listen to audiobooks for) as many as 100 titles each month. While that’s not realistic for most of us, Jarrett emphasizes that we need to change our habits, if we want to restore the “attention and time” that reading deserves. Here are his six recommendations:

(1) Give up watching television or other screens for entertainment, so as to immerse yourself in good books—be they fiction or non-fiction. Jarrett observes that today’s reading of screens tends to “show you what’s happening; novels, by contrast, construct those fictions within your mind, allowing you to become anyone, and go anywhere.” Creativity and imaginative release can replace the mere distraction of screen based entertainment. Millennials, take note!

(2) Jarrett warns that those of us who have fallen out of the habit of reading more books can expect to make an effort initially, until the habit returns “without conscious effort and willpower.” Making reading into a habit, even for just “two minutes per day” (I’d recommend 10-15), gives you time to adjust to making reading an “entrenched part of your daily routine.”

Writer James Clear asserts that “a habit has to be established before it can be improved.” Piggybacking reading onto habits you already have (e.g. making it a bedtime ritual) can help you to keep it up. When you “reinforce the association” between reading and a time and place, you’ll become able to do it without thinking about it.

(3) Neuroscience has shown for decades that readers benefit from reading: “People who read literary fiction in particular tend to be better at reading others’ emotions and have greater moral sensitivity, possibly due to their simulation of the lives of complex characters.” He reminds us that reading non-fiction also provides cognitive stimulation that protects us from Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.

(4) Beginner leisure readers who do not have much experience should start with books they enjoy, Jarrett says, so they find the process “entertaining, calming, moving or intellectually stimulating and fascinating.” Trial and error and time may be required for newbie readers find a sweet spot of authors and genres that suits them. Some patience is needed, here, but there are obvious choices to begin with, such as Alexander McCall Smith and Louise Penny (detective fiction). You can always describe your interests to a librarian or local bookseller, who will happily recommend an appropriate author.

Jarrett cites author James Clear on forming a habit of reading: “Read whatever helps you fall in love with the act of being a reader or the habit of reading. And once you fall in love with the habit, then it’s easy. . . Now you’ve got . . . options, because it’s part of your life.”

(5) Jarrett also recommends that we quit reading the books we don’t enjoy and consider re-reading the ones we do. Reading time is too precious to invest in a title we do not like.

(6) Recording our progress in journals can also help, since reporting on the books you have read will deepen the habit. Some readers cultivate their “own sense of self and identity as a reader,” by attending virtual bookclubs, or by joining “Goodreads,” where they can review books they’re reading and learn about new authors whose work can interest them.

As a former academic reader, I enjoy reading or re-reading literary classics and then watching their film adaptations over streaming services like “BritBox” or “Acorn,” or on PBS Masterpiece Classic and Masterpiece Mystery. It can be fascinating to critique the interpretations that film adaptations provide.

While many of my readerly friends and colleagues listen to audiobooks and read titles on iPads or e-readers, I am partial to reading books in their traditional, “hard copy” format. Since I don’t want to grow an unwieldy library in my home (which would turn storage and moving into headaches), I happily use the local library system, with its excellent, online reservation service–and encourage others to do the same.

And now it’s your turn:

Amid these pandemic weary days, do you want to become more of a reader than you currently are? Do any of Jarrett’s recommendations inspire you to get started?

Please tell me about your readerly journey on my “contact” page: I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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STORYTELLER’s CORNER . . . . 

STORYTELLER’S CORNER: On Janus words, with Mignon Fogarty

At the end of last year, “Grammar Girl” and writer, Mignon Fogarty, wrote a blog posting on “Janus words,” which are also called auto-antonyms. (The term “Janus” comes from Roman mythology, where the deity Janus had two faces, one looking forward and another, backward. In common writing, the term refers to something having two contrasting aspects; and, less commonly, to someone who is two-faced or deceitful.)

“Janus words,” then, are words that have two opposing meanings (i.e. “auto-antonyms,” or words that provide their own antonyms). A good example is the verb “to dust,” which can mean both “to add a light layer,” such as when one “dusts a cake with icing sugar,” and “to remove dust,” such as when one “dusts the tables and surfaces before company arrives”).

Fogarty cites “sanction” as another Janus word, as it can mean both “to approve or ratify something” and “to punish or penalize someone.” So too is “chuffed,” an English word that can mean both “pleased or satisfied” (more common) and “displeased or disgruntled” (less common).

Fogarty estimates that there are about 30 Janus words in the English language (others include “cleave,” “trim,” “seed” and “alight”), which add to the challenge of learning  the language for children and for non-native speakers. In most of these cases, one of the two meanings is far more common, but the second is still possible.

Janus words caused me frustration in childhood (verbalized in the 1970s and 80s to my family) that some words “don’t mean what they’re supposed to”–or at least don’t have a single, stable meaning.

They remain the delight of readers as well as literary theorists like Jacques Derrida and Slavoj Zizek.

And now it’s your turn: Do you notice Janus words in the reading and writing of your discipline? Why not share them on my “contact” page? 

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SHOP NEWS:

I am particularly grateful this month to Monica Kreuger, Deanna Litz and Elaine Manytka for leading and running the staySMART cohort of alumni from the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship.

This group of entrepreneurs has been meeting since last fall, to strategize on how to make our businesses more Covid resistant. The 90 minute, weekly seminars, combined with 45 minutes of weekly coaching from Deanna Litz, have been fortifying and inspiring; and the contact with fellow alumni soothing, in these troubled times.

As a participant in this program, I’m delighted to provide editing services for websites and blog postings, for several fellow staySMART alumni. Special thanks to Monica Kreuger, for making this possible.

Meantime, I continue with my ESL training through Tefl.org and look forward to upcoming months, when I will unroll services of language instruction. Between writing and teaching, I will help new immigrant entrepreneurs and others “to tell their stories in English,” or “to learn  English to tell their stories.”

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Hearty congratulations this month to Monica Kreuger for being named CTV Saskatoon’s Citizen of the Year. Monica’s 30+ years of leadership in entrepreneurial circles and her generosity, profound decency and genius all made it very easy to write in support of her nomination.

Special thanks to Lenore Swystun and Deanna Litz for spearheading that application process.

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  ABOUT US:

Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.

Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now write marketing and communications documents and lead  workshops that help entrepreneurs and newcomers to Canada to strengthen their businesses or secure better jobs.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant website (www.elizabethshih.com).

After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!

Please visit my website for more information (www.storytellingcommunications.ca).

 

 

December 2020–Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN)

December 2020 Vol 2 Issue 12

Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN): Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling

Let me tell your story!

Welcome Mid-December, 2020!

Winter in Saskatchewan came “fast and furious” with November’s storm and heavy snowfall. But after several weeks of mild temperatures, this week ushered in unseasonable cold, as if to reinforce our socially distant,  pandemic friendly, Christmas plans!

If the media’s obsessive coverage of Covid-19 (excluding so much other, important news) threatens to overwhelm you, or if this time of year is difficult for other reasons, please visit to the American Hospice Society’s menu on “surviving Christmas,” which I featured in the past two December issues of this newsletter (2019 and 2018).

In this month’s issue, I visit some of the teachings of Buddhist monk, Pema Chodron, whose insights help me cope with pandemic fatigue.

In “Storytellers Corner,” I visit the perennial grammatical issue of whether or not we can end sentences with prepositions (with a nod to “Grammar Girl,” Mignon Fogarty).

While it feels painful to miss seeing those outside our immediate “bubbles,” I hope that this Christmas/Hanukkah season allows you time to rest and recharge body, mind and soul. And that this time renews our awareness of the many blessings we do have, that are so easy to forget.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth

Principal

Storytelling Communications

www.elizabethshih.com

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IN THIS ISSUE:

ARTICLE 1: Pema Chodron: Some insights for pandemic times

STORYTELLERS’ CORNER:

Should you end a sentence with a preposition? 

SHOP NEWS

ABOUT US

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Article One: Pema Chodron: Some insights for Pandemic Times

When the world seems most off-kilter, vulnerable to the force of this international pandemic, Pema Chodron reminds us to turn inward, befriend our inner selves and let go of what we do not need.

The Buddhist nun (b. 1936) has been cited by people as diverse as Oprah Winfry and Seth Godin, as an “essential life-force” of human experience. I recently recovered Maria Popova’s notes, from a month-long meditation session some 20 years ago, held at the monastery where Chodron is a founding director. Chodron trains others to practice mindfulness through meditation, “to remain wholeheartedly awake to everything that occur[s] and to use the abundant material of daily life” as a “primary teacher and guide.”

In times of crisis and stress like the one we are in (where the media provide a far-too-steady diet of Covid-19), combining solitude, nature, meditation and a monastic life enables us to reflect on how to “be oneself without embarrassment or harshness.”

In such books as When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (2016), Chodron says that rather than seeking human perfection in thought or argument, we would do well to recognize that “our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material. If you throw out your neurosis, you also throw out your wisdom.”

Instead of judging ourselves for our shortcomings, Chodron says, we should “make friends with ourselves” and so find “a sense of warmth toward oneself.” Self-criticism is not purposeful. Self-acceptance, befriending ourselves and our world involves acknowledging “not just the parts we like,” but all of us, seeing that we can learn from all of it.

In one meditation, Chodron explores how precision, gentleness and letting go are related graces: “If we see our so-called limitations with clarity, precision, gentleness, goodheartedness and kindness and, having seen them fully, then let go, . . . we begin to find that our world is more vast and more refreshing than we had realized before. . . . The key to feeling more whole and less shut off and shut down is to be able to see clearly who we are and what we’re doing.”

Simple applications could be putting down all of our screens and taking long walks in nature and the outdoors. (In some ways, pandemic life has forced us to do such things.)

Chodron urges us to avoid aiming to please other people, and that we should not try to improve ourselves by exposing our own “ignorance, unkindness and shut-downness.” When plenty of business gurus endorse changing oneself, she observes: “The problem is that the desire to change is fundamentally a form of aggression toward yourself. . . our hangups, unfortunately or fortunately, contain our wealth.”

This is not license to be self-indulgent or settle for mediocrity, but an injunction to “gently let go” of our imperfections, rather than forcefully trying to expel them.

When we face fear or depression, such as in our current pandemic, Chodron finds freedom lies in “getting to know [that feeling] completely,” accepting it, without judgment and “learn[ing] how, once you’ve experienced it fully, to let go.” No, we do not want today to die of Covid-19, or for our loved ones or friends to die. But Chodron wants us first to sit with the limitations of human life without trying to deny them.

We can learn to view ourselves with “loving kindness,” such as through breathing practices that help us to “let go” of our ruminative lives, our epidemic of hurrying and our efforts of getting and spending (especially in the Christmas season). The “4-7-8” breathing exercise, developed by Dr. Andrew Weil draws on Buddhist meditation (see article one of  last October’s issue, “Remember to breathe”).

To be “fully present isn’t something that happens once and then you have achieved it,” Chodron says: “it’s being awake to the ebb and flow and movement and creation of life, being alive to the process of life itself.”

Whether or not one follows Buddhist teachings closely, most of us can find value in expanding our capacity for self-acceptance and the acceptance of others that it allows, as ingredients for peace.

If you lack time for yourself and quiet contemplation in this crisis-weary world, please consider picking up one of Chodron’s books. Additionally, mindfulness meditations pertaining to her teachings are made accessible by the Buddhist teacher, Sam Harris, in his book, Waking Up:A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (2014). These he has adapted to a website and even a cell phone app.

And now it’s your turn: Do you treat yourself with loving kindness, especially in pandemic times? Will our seeking spirituality find a way forward without fear?

Please share your insights with me on my “Contact” page. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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STORYTELLER’s CORNER . . . . 

STORYTELLER’S CORNER: Ideas, Stories, Riddles and Jokes on Writing and Editing . . .

Should you end a sentence with a preposition, asks Mignon Fogarty?

Just as many of us were taught in grade two not to start a sentence with “and” or “but” (practices long ago overturned as pedantic), some writers and readers still believe that we should not end sentences with prepositions.

Mignon Fogarty, the American writing coach who brands herself as “Grammar Girl,” recently blogged on this very point.

To review (for non-grammarians), a “preposition” is a word that creates a relationship between other words, usually dealing with space (e.g.“above,” “by,” and “over”); and time (e.g.“before” and “after”).

Here are two examples of these, respectively: “The nightstand is by the bed,” and “We had dessert after dinner.”

So long as the preposition is grammatically needed (unlike in the phrase:“The diver jumped off of the deep end”), it can legitimately fall at the end of a sentence. So it’s acceptable, as Fogarty says, to write “What did you step on?” instead of “On what did you step?” (Note that the latter sounds stuffy and pedantic.)

Fogarty says that prepositions often fall at the end of sentences in which phrasal verbs are used—verbs that are made of multiple words that usually include a preposition. For example, “I wish she would leave it off.” Or “You should cheer up.”

Other sentences without phrasal verbs can also end with prepositions and are also valid: “I want to know where he came from” is much more readable than “I want to know from where he came.” Fogarty says that one exception would be when writing conservative documents like cover letters (i.e. job applications), when it would be safer to avoid ending sentences with prepositions.

However, in virtually all other cases, ending sentences with prepositions will make them easier to read.

Consider the story that Sir Winston Churchill famously refused the rule against preposition use, saying: “This is the sort of pedantry up with which I will not put!”

Do you have an idea, riddle or joke on any aspect of writing or communications? Please share it with me; I’d be delighted to use it in an upcoming issue. 

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SHOP NEWS:

Attending last week’s virtual graduation for the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship’s 2020 students was inspiring! The graduation (on Zoom) allowed me to write copy behind-the-scenes, and so to collaborate with Little Ox Film Company (videography lead Megan Kent) and Christina Cherneskey Communications (podcasting and virtual event management).

Thank you to the alumni, friends and family who attended and shared their wisdom and experience. And thanks especially to the Praxis Team (Monica and Brent Kreuger, Deanna Litz, Elaine Mantyka, Silvana Cracogna) for spearheading this first-ever online grad for Praxis, with all of their ideas and effort.

I look forward to further collaboration in 2021, to continue to commemorate the achievement of 30 years in entrepreneurial education!

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Special thanks also this month to entrepreneurial coach, facilitator and all-around amazing woman, Deanna Litz. Deanna leads Praxis’ “staySMART” online group that keeps  entrepreneurs like me grounded and supported through pandemic times, by group discussion and one-on-one coaching.

I highly recommend Deanna as a business coach: read more about her services on her “Powerful Nature” website.

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Heartfelt thanks also go to the staff and owner/operator of Persephone Care Home in Saskatoon, who provide empathetic care and comfort to seniors during this pandemic-centred holiday season, when social distancing from family and friends is compulsory.

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 ABOUT US:

Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country. 

Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now write to help small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to secure more sales by communicating more effectively; help economic immigrants to improve their language skills and secure better jobs;  and I write the legacy stories of major companies.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant website (www.elizabethshih.com).

After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!

Please visit my website for more information (www.storytellingcommunications.ca).

November 2020–Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN)

November 2020 Vol 2 Issue 11

 

Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):

Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling

Let me tell your story!

Welcome Mid-November, 2020!

The month of November carries many psychological associations for Canadians and for our neighbours, allies and friends abroad. On November 11th we observed Remembrance Day, to commemorate the sacrifice of those Canadians who perished (and continue to), as a result of the conflic and strife of this world’s wars.

Our American neighbours recently concluded a federal election like no other in their history, whereby the potential re-election of Donald Trump loomed large in the electorate’s minds. It threatened many of the values that are fundamental to American democracy (such as honesty, integrity and decency) and to ours.

The ongoing pressure of living under the global pandemic of Covid (now in its devastating “second wave”) challenges entrepreneurs and profoundly affects our clients: The times call us to embrace the uncertainty that surrounds us, but often instability evokes paralyzing anxiety and fear. . . .

So it’s hard to imagine a month when more weighty issues including these could preoccupy us. For my local readers, much of Saskatchewan also recently experienced a severe winter storm last weekend, from which much of the city is still  excavating itself . . . . . Saskatchewanians have shown their customary generosity by helping to dig out motorists (sometimes perfect strangers) from densely packed snow and ice; and by driving others who have been stranded.

As I gradually return to work after providing elder care within our province’s very broken health care system, I recently found myself opening my “vault” (i.e. “swipe file”) of provocative (and sometimes soothing) insights and ideas. . . .

So this month, I’ll share some of the “nuggets” of wisdom and hope I found there, for clients past, present and future; and for fellow creatives who also loyally read and comment on this newsletter.

Stay warm, drive carefully, now that winter’s here (!), and thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

Elizabeth

Principal

Storytelling Communications

www.elizabethshih.com

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IN THIS ISSUE:

ARTICLE 1: November Nuggets: Some Wisdom in Trying Times

STORYTELLERS’ CORNER: “Good Grammar” to and for Whom, with Bryan Garner 

SHOP NEWS

ABOUT US

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Article OneNovember Nuggets: Some Wisdom (from my “Swipe File”) for these Trying Times

Seven years ago (2013), marketing guru Seth Godin blogged about the “legacy of Mandela” (a statesman whose name we might shudder to compare with so many of today’s politicians). Godin writes that that Mandela’s statesmanship and capacity to forgive the racism and incarceration he suffered under Apartheid in South Africa, has left us with a powerful lesson:

“You can.

You can make a difference.

You can stand up to insurmountable forces.

You can put up with far more than you think you can.

Your lever is far longer than you imagine it is, if you choose to use it.

If you don’t require the journey to be easy or comfortable or safe, you can change the world.”

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In the end, much of our life’s work is about, stories; we live, eat, think and sleep in some form of narrative. For that reason, I rebranded my company as “Storytelling Communications” in 2019. . . .  Marketer Seth Godin reminds us that “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

When we make strong connections with clients, we share their stories and they share ours. Working in communications and marketing provides a  service to our communities and should not be scorned or looked askance at, as I have sometimes experienced.

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America’s best known and most prolific copywriter, Robert (Bob) Bly, has blogged that “Being the best is overrated.” Anyone who has read Bob’s books and heard him speak (as I did, in 2012) knows him to be insightful.

He writes, in one of his timeless emails, against self-disparagement:

“Confession time: I am an inferior human being . . . meaning I come up short in almost every category by which people are measured.

Every day, I look around and see people who are more athletic than me . . . better looking . . . taller, smarter, thinner, kinder, more personable, wealthier, healthier, more well-adjusted, even funnier.

Whatever I do professionally . . . there are others who are more successful. . . .

How do I live with myself knowing that I am inferior?

The secret is that you can be lousy at 99.9% of things and still have a happy and successful life—as long as you are good at just a few or perhaps even only one thing.

As far as I know, Paul Simon is good at only music. He’s certainly not the biggest, strongest or best-looking guy on the planet. Also, most fans listening to his music would agree that Paul Simon doesn’t have the best voice and isn’t the greatest singer in the world.

But he has enough people who like his songs and his singing to give him a lucrative and successful music career.

You do not have to be the best there is at what you do to make a great living at it.

“S.R.” is a great example. “S.R.” is a professional stand-up comic who decided to make the transition to more lucrative performing as a corporate motivational speaker.

I have heard “S.R.” do both comedy and speaking. He is not the funniest comic I have ever heard. He is not the best motivational speaker I have ever heard.

But he IS the funniest motivational speaker I have ever heard. So he makes a great living speaking for meeting planners who want a motivational speaker who can also make their audience laugh.  . . . .

You do not need a huge fan base to succeed at whatever it is you do.

. . . .

You simply do not need every company out there to consider you the top copywriter. You only need a few who like what you do well enough to want you to work on their promotions.

And even those . . . do not have to consider you the “best” at what you do. They simply have to feel that your service is a good fit for what they want.

. . . .

So if it helps you [Bly continues], I want you to know:

1: You can be middling to poor at most things and still have a successful life and career.

2: . . . You just have to offer something that other people want.

3: You don’t have to have throngs of admirers . . . to keep you busy and profitable all year long.” And yet, as Bly concludes, these consolations are not recommendations for mediocrity. If instead, “these comments provide some comfort to you and stop you from fretting about what you think are your shortcomings, then I have achieved my goal for this email.”

Remember: Negative self-talk and criticism do not support creativity or insight.

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American (Republican) president Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), although not commonly assessed as one of that country’s greatest leaders, has been viewed (by biographer Claude Moore Fuess, in 1940) as embodying “the spirit and hopes of the middle class . . . their longings and . . . their opinions. That [Coolidge] did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength.”

Coolidge may be best remembered for saying this:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

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As creatives (or those working in creative industries), we should also not forget our “second wind.” Anyone involved with creativity in this world (and who isn’t?) needs to allow time for mental incubation and rest, as even this (arguably feeble) trio of couplets reminds us:

“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road your trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but can only sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”

And now it’s your turn: What insights does the month of November raise for you? Have you thought to store them in your own swipe file? 

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STORYTELLER’s CORNER . . . . 

STORYTELLER’S CORNER: “Good Grammar” to and for Whom, with Bryan Garner

In a recent blog posting, American Etymologist Bryan Garner discussed the challenges facing writers and editors who believe in “good grammar.” In particular, he draws attention to the reality that what is “ ‘good grammar’ in the eyes of one person is, in the eyes of another, unacceptable intolerance toward linguistic variation.”

Garner says that there are two camps: on one hand, grammar tyrannists; and on the other, “anything goes permissivists.” What we need, he writes “is a middle ground in which [1] we recognize that Standard Written English does indeed exist (extremists doubt this, but it’s what you’ll find in first-rate periodicals . . . ; [2] learning it should be an opportunity given to everyone; [3] children shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of the language spoken in their homes; and [4] people should be encouraged to show tolerance toward and acceptance of speakers of regional and class dialects.”

However, he rightly notes that between these four issues, there are “clashing interests”:  With the above listed points, “No. 2 collides with no.3 and no.4.  . . . A teacher insists on ‘anyway’ (not ‘anyways’), Jane and I will sing a duet (not ‘Me and Jane will sing a duet’), I’m doing well (not ‘I’m doing good’), mischievous (not ‘mischievious’), and it doesn’t matter (not ‘it don’t matter’), I saw (not ‘I seen’), and so on.

“In their unsubtle minds,” Garner writes, “children view one as ‘right’ and one as ‘wrong.”

By early high school, some kids lose marks for using the language they speak at home, widening the “class divisions among students.”

Garner continues that “in many communities, the privileged kids go to private schools where ‘good grammar’ is taught, and the other kids go to public schools where the standards are less strict.” Class divisions start when students are young.

Politicians and others, he says, tend to “close their eyes to the issue,” focusing on “ ‘social justice,’” and not seeing any connection between “the language used in daycare and elementary school” and the kind of divisions we see in the most recent American presidential election.

Sometimes, Garner says, “the issue isn’t accent (how words are pronounced) but dialect (word choice and sentence construction).” If grammar should be “good,” he asks, good to and for whom?

So where do we ultimately go with this ever-present rift in Western culture that modern times have not resolved?

To begin to answer that provocation, Garner cites a radical “guest lecturer” whom he heard at Oxford University in 1981, who said that “he wouldn’t rest easy until all Oxford and Cambridge colleges were razed to the ground. ‘If education isn’t available to everyone,’ he asserted, ‘it should be available to no one.’”

And now it’s your turn: do you agree with Garner on the ever-present divisions among language use (and abuse) in the western hemisphere? If we agree that words carry fundamental cultural and educational inequalities, what should we be doing about it and how?

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SHOP NEWS:

Special thanks to friends and colleagues who have provided services and support, as I’ve gradually returned to the office, after being on leave to care for an elderly relative. It has been a life-altering experience in both positive and overwhelming ways: I appreciate the emails and calls of support!

I’m particularly grateful this month for the opportunity to study ESL online (part-time) through Tefl.org,  to add to the repertoire of business communications, which I can teach online.

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And I’ve recently been delighted to reconnect with mentors and colleagues at the Praxis School of Entrepreneurship. Having authored four extensive articles since last spring on some of the school’s recent graduates (posted on the Praxis website) and featured in recent postings on my blog, I have been delighted this week to help to plan the school’s first ever virtual graduation, to be held on Wednesday, December 9th!

Do you or someone you know have an entrepreneurial idea they’d like to discuss or develop? Please register for this graduation event, where the experiences of both 2020 grads and alumni will be shared. An amazing evening is being planned for Wednesday, December 9th at 7:00 pm.

There will be speakers, networking opportunities and multi-media presentations of alum insights all on offer!

Tickets are free, but you must register as soon as possible!

Whether for you (as an alum), or for a prospective future student at Praxis, please register for the virtual graduation here:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/praxis-grad-2020-tickets-128707352155

Or call Elaine or Silvana with your questions at (306) 664-0500

I hope to “see” you there!

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ABOUT US:

Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.

Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now write career and communications documents and lead workshops that help economic immigrants land better jobs; that help small businesses to close more sales by communicating more effectively; and that help promote companies’ legacies.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant website (www.elizabethshih.com).

After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!

Please visit my website for more information (www.storytellingcommunications.ca).