Melt. Turn. Form. Repeat.
More and more of my work is recasting. Telling an old story in a new way: finding the locus of interest for today, for these people, living right now. These people who don’t care how the story used to be told—it meant nothing to them and seemed irrelevant if not invisible.
My industrial-controls client wants a new way to talk about a neglected product. I write to find the words and the approach to make it interesting for today’s audience. My medical client wants to recast the backbone of their selling proposition with proper science and citations (versus just their own internal studies, which were not wrong, just limited). A consulting client wants to turn their expertise into a broader story that pulls in people outside the narrow audience with which they’ve been successful.
My process is to play with the story element. That’s why writing often seems like play or goofing off. It must be so: that’s where key discovery happens. Sort of like the process in my daily failures at Dumb Sketch Daily. I don’t know what’s right until I draw it wrong.
It occurs to me this recasting process is going on all over my life. Writing and faith and parenting and exercise are all changing before my eyes. A new story keeps getting told about each and it is important each story is told—telling and retelling the story helps me understand life. Maybe the retelling is all about making meaning.
What’s changing in your life and what story do you need to recast or retell? And who might benefit from that retelling?
Image credit: Kirk Livingston
Daughter: “You look like a different Daddy.”
Wife: “I feel like I’m cheating.”
Mrs. Kirkistan often laments the stages of beardom: from unsightly to “Ouch!”
Don’t Make Everything a Crisis Communication
Regular old talk has a way of lining things up. Steady, routine conversation between spouses, friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues can have a gentle, restorative quality.
Does that sound like an overpromise—especially given the mundane nature of so much of our talk?
It’s true in this way: like keeping roads open for traffic. We depend on open streets to drive to the grocer or to pick up our returning student from the airport. And sometimes we use those roads to race our pregnant wife to the birthing center.
Hard conversations are hard because of some urgency. Something needs to be said right now or else bad things will happen. Often we put on our formal language when we intend to communicate some crisis point:
- “I’m disappointed in…X” is a way corporate managers temper the screaming in their skulls.
- “We need to talk….” Is the time-honored way spouses bring up all sorts of unpleasantness.
But if those conversational roads have been open for traffic for some time, and relationships have been established, sometimes those formal words need never make an appearance. Talking about things can be handled on the fly, in normal conversation, in small bits. That’s because trust builds with the word traffic. And those conversational roads can carry quite a lot of weight.
Talking is a wonder.
Who would have guessed?
Image credit: Kirk Livingston