The Power of Stories: a Video by da-AL

photo of da AL


Here, in another of my Toastmasters speeches, I talk about the importance of fiction. “The Power of Stories” is a subject that’s dear to me, in this time when people only read how-to. Fiction makes us more empathetic, smarter, and creative. It makes us better people …


Albert Einstein was asked how to make children intelligent. He replied, “Read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”


By intelligent, he meant beyond good grades and paychecks. He spoke of our becoming human beings, not merely human doings.

Imagine that in this video, my white sweater hood is red, that covering my head with it transforms me…

That an ordinary plastic bag is a wicker basket filled with fresh baked cinnamon rolls, and that when I hold my fingers to my lips, I’m licking the stickiness of honey. Under my feet, a forest of spicy pine needles and earthy wetness crunches to mingle with the sweet scents.

Imagine that beyond trees ahead, sound the yips of what might be new puppies that she’s adopted. The nearer we get, however, the more our skin tingles with panic.

Okay — a different scenario — when I rip paper into strips and place them before us on a pretend version of an oak table in an imaginary one-room log cabin, the scraps represent three sizes of bowls of porridge. When I toss paperclips about, they double as tufts of greasy brown fluff. The chairs we sit on are three varying sizes of them chairs, one broken to bits.

When we shut our eyes, warm steam rises from the bowls. We inhale the delicious scents of melted butter and hot maple syrup. Cold air rushes about our ears from an open door to the outside. We look around and discover that the prior inhabitants left in a rush.

Okay — now scratch both stories, and we’re back to reality.

Was either tale familiar to you? When you were quite young, did you hear, read, or tell the stories of “Little Red Riding Hood,” and of “The Three Bears”?

Imagining is a muscle — as essential to flex, deepen, and expand as it is to eat well, exercise, and think positively. Fiction helps us become better in every way.

If there exist cultures that don’t value the power of stories, I’m not aware of them. Most people I know barely read, and when they do, its non-fiction — spiritual, how-to, self-help, work facts, or textbooks. They say they don’t have time for novels or shorter stories.

If people understood the value of fiction, they would make time for it. As a former journalist, I know facts are important. As a reader and a novelist, I also know the unparalleled power of fiction. Facts help us become productive. Fiction helps us make sense of life. Fine literary fiction transports us into imaginary shoes, times, and places. We become more human. We take the time to value fun.

The best stories, it has been said, are those that make us cry as well as laugh.

Do you allow yourself time to read fiction?

Guest Blog Post: “How to make rational decisions while keeping your mind clear?” in Jeyran’s exact words

Ever feel too overwhelmed to make wise choices? Jeyran, who has a great book review blog, shares her tips here (at da-AL’s) for staying sane…

Albert Eistein photo and quote

How to make rational decisions while keeping your mind clear?

Here are a few tips and points that may help you when the time comes.

Pause and reflect

Many people like to prepare and plan and some like to be fast and respond to situations immediately. This can sometimes work both ways. Both traits are good to have but when you want to make a rational decision with a clear, unbiased mind, then pondering on the subject may be the better way to go about it.

Do Not Respond to Negative Energy and Criticism

There is a difference between negative criticism and constructive criticism. The moment you respond to negative criticism, you are biting the hook. These people are trying to hook you and get your attention. As soon as you respond, you are feeding the negativity. Other negative energies feed on this response and surround you as well. You have then become the “feeder.” It is important to remember that what you focus on in life is what you get. If you want less negativity, then it’s important to ignore it. As time goes by, it will go away or will reduce substantially. Don’t allow the negativity to over shadow what is important.

Make a Chart

Write down the pros and cons of the situation and try not to overreact to it before you have sat down and thoroughly thought about the issue. Try to be logical and have an open mind towards filling out your chart.

The process of making a rational decision is by using logic, objectivity and analysis over the subject matter. Therefore formulate your goal, identify the criteria, leave yourself some alternatives, make a chart and then you are able to make your final decision.

Thanks, Jeyran, for sharing your wisdom!