Why is that sometimes I see memories clearly as self-defining moments and sometimes just as something that happened? Why do I see my story as being made up of certain specific memories but when I think about my whole life an entirely different set of memories arises?

Dr. Susan Bluck & Hsaio-Wen Liao presented a way of looking at the past in this 2013 article that helps answer those questions. Bluck & Liao describe the two streams of memory that we constantly navigate as chronological self-continuity and retrospective self-continuity. They describe the creation of self-continuity as “remembering and reminiscing about…


Evaluating our lives can be a tricky task. When one begins to actually sit and think about their story, they can often have a hard time knowing where to begin. It’s easy to say to yourself, there’s just too many places to start. Do I begin in childhood and work my way forward? Do I start with where I am now and work my way back? Clearly, there are many ways to go about this, but we find that it is often easiest to start with the question “what was the moment when everything changed for me? There was a…


I am thankful for this John Coltrane boxset. It gave me one of my favorite stories.

I have a friend named Karuna. I met her years ago, while we were both students at Santa Fe College. She lives in New York City now. About two years ago, she worked at a gala event. She told me that she saw Spike Lee and a bunch of other famous people there. The event had a table of free jazz CDs and she snagged this John Coltrane box set for me. She asked me if I wanted her to mail it to me, and I was like “heck yeah I do! That sounds awesome!” …


When I was in my first year of college, I had a difficulty stopping. I had to always be doing something. I went to classes, I was involved in theatrical productions and a street percussion group. I did my homework, I had a job and I was social. Yet I found that there was still more time in the day.

Life was abundant and it felt like I was wasting any time that I had “free.”

So I started to write. The problem is, I’m not a great writer of fiction or poetry. I found that I could write about myself, so I tried to write insightful essays, emulating David Sedaris. This was as fool’s errand…


On October 16, 2015, I walked up in front of a crowd of people at Volta, a local coffee shop, to present my PechaKucha talk: “The Power of Storytelling.”

I was nervous and more than a bit scared.

I was first on the bill at the quarterly PechaKucha Night event and, although I had prepared rigorously for this moment, it hit me as I stood there that I had never even seen a single PechaKucha presentation before and here I was, about to give mine.

PechaKucha is an unconventional presentation format. You choose 20 slides and each plays for 20…


I self-reflect often. For one thing, it’s a good practice to be in for personal and emotional well-being, but for another, I encourage others to do the same during Self Narrate presentations. I’m not going to suggest others do something that I am not doing myself! When I self reflect, I focus on memories that define my story. I focus on those remembered events that make me who I am. But then, all of a sudden, a random memory will pop into my head, much like the TripleDent Gum music from Inside Out. I was recently thinking about my experiences…


In her book Literary Folkloristics and the Personal Narrative, Sandra Stahl describes why we know that we have interesting stories to tell: we interact with stories all the time. Through the stories we encounter in movies, books and other forms of media, we can see themes that resonate with our own personal experiences, and when they align we think, “okay that thing that just happened to me is a good story.” Without even realizing it, we inherently piece apart the patterns in the stories that we’re told and the entertainment that we consume.

I find this to be both somewhat…


When we think of public storytellers, it is the people with super-human resiliency that tend to come to mind. You don’t ever think about the guy who had something terrible happen, who’s bitter and angry about it. We think about the person who had the worst tragedy that we would never want to live through tell us that they made it through. The thing is that most of us will not have our arms bitten off by a shark, or suffer triple amputations from an IED, or something equally horrible and tragic.

Most of us will live our lives in…


When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.

Iyanla Vanzant

We all go through difficult times. In our darkest moments it can feel like there’s nobody else out there that understands where we are in our lives. In these times of trouble, hearing the account of someone else who has been through the same issue and come out the other end can be a powerful experience. It can be that revelation that shows that there is hope.

STORIES HAVE THE POWER TO HEAL.

Stories have the power to heal. If you…


The benefits that self-narration provides to the individual are many. The field that has best researched these benefits is psychology. This makes sense given that narrative has been described by psychologist Dr. Theodore Sarbin as the “root metaphor” of psychology.

In crafting your story, you are shaping your identity.

Your identity is the way in which you understand yourself and describe who you are to yourself and others. Your identity is your life story. Understanding and constructing one’s own identity provides purpose and meaning to one’s life. As a life story is constructed from chosen memories, so too is identity constructed from the meanings one associates those memories with…

Brandon Telg

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