Categories
Self-Help

How to Make a Long Story Short

How to make a long story short

Stories teach us about life, about ourselves, and about others. One can’t underestimate the power of storytelling. From the beginning of time, knowledge was shared from generation to generation thanks to storytellers who used their artistry to pass on information, knowledge, and wisdom to their community. While ancient storytellers probably had rather limited repertoires, a problem today is information overload. With all the data and information that is available, it can be difficult to extricate useful lessons from all the stories that are out there. This article is my attempt to help declutter your mind and make a long story short.

Cutting long stories short, from the beginning of time

From the beginning of human history, our ancestors’ primary concern came from the necessity to survive. Back then, our ancestors had evolved sufficient intelligence to allow them to understand their environment, sense when changes of climate became less favorable, and when necessary, to migrate in order to find more hospitable lands. Our ancestors developed tools for hunting resulting in the introduction of meat to their diet which was a key factor in their physical development and their ability to move away from the familiar plant species they used to rely on for nutrition.

Photo by PV Production via freepik.com Long story short

Our ancestors’ Quest was to find food was made easier by utilizing the resources they had available (i.e., the tools they invented) and the improved physical capabilities of their bodies made stronger by their meat diet. Human interaction and community living were practiced from the beginning of time and helped tribes prosper and thrive. Our ancestors’ daily activities and concerns, such as having sufficient resources to survive, a community to interact with and rely on, and an improved diet that enhanced their physical and mental ability, are similar to what motivates us today, i.e., Money, Love, and Health.

Long story short, from the beginning of human history till now, our concerns remain the same i.e. resources/money to survive, love and health.

The accepted theory was that the Earth was flat

For thousands of years, the Earth was thought to be flat. The flat earth society of ancient civilization included the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, and the early Greeks. This belief (and it was a belief, there was no proof of a flat earth) was changed by the Greeks using the scientific method to demonstrate that the Earth was round, even coming up with the first calculation of the Earth’s circumference. The Greeks were pioneers in science, politics, architecture, medicine, and philosophy and are deservedly recognized as the most advanced civilization of their time.

It was Pythagoras1, who in 500 BC provided the earliest arguments as to why the Earth was round; he reached this conclusion by observing the Moon. The Moon, he noted, is a sphere, so it would follow that the Earth is round as well.

Later, it was Aristotle2, (Plato’s3 greatest student) who offered the best explanation for a round Earth. He stated that the Earth was spherical because the position of the stars and constellations seemed to change as a person traveled either North or South. In his book On the Heavens, he wrote:

“Again, our observations of the stars make it evident, not only that the Earth is circular, but also that it is a circle of no great size. For quite a small change of position to south or north causes a manifest alteration of the horizon.”

Aristotle

Some travelers, he pointed out, noticed stars and constellations in Egypt and Cyprus unique to their sky. It also pointed out that the Earth must be spherical because of the shape of the Earth’s shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse. In the 2nd century AD the Greek mathematician, astronomer, geographer, and astrologer Ptolemy created a map that portrayed the Earth as being round.

Photo by Kuzmich Studio via freepik.comLong story short Sailor Captain

By the 8th century AD, very few people from the civilized world were still arguing that the Earth was flat. Though Europeans and Middle Easterners had recognized the spherical Earth, it wasn’t put to the test until the 15th century, when Portuguese sailor Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe, sailing out of Spain with finances from the Spanish crown. What gave Magellan the confidence to risk his life and the lives of his men to go on an expedition around the world and prove to all that the world was round? His faith lay entirely on a shadow!

“The Church says the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.”

Magellan

Scientists who, in the early days, ventured to put forward theories different from the accepted theory faced prosecution from the authorities. In 1633, the physicist and astronomer Galileo4 was prosecuted by the Chief Inquisitor appointed by Pope Urban VIII, for his belief that the Earth revolved around the Sun. This belief was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church who refused to accept the belief (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. The punishment for Galileo came in the form of the following Order:

“We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of the Holy Office during Our will and pleasure, and as a salutary penance; We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.

Galileo agreed not to teach heresy anymore and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was, in fact, correct and to clear his name of heresy.

“Of all the offspring of time, error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.”

Charles Mackay

“Long story short the truth is sometimes very inconvenient, leading some people to spend a huge amount of energy and every ounce of power they have to bury it as long as they can.”

For more on these fascinating stories, feel free to check Chapter 1 and 4 of my book “This Is Your Quest

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

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About the Book

Author Interview – Why Story Telling Matters

Why one would be interested in reading an author interview? Because ‘you cannot underestimate the importance of writers; writers described things that other people don’t have time to describe’ – James Baldwin

I was recently interviewed by the Literary Worm and the Nerdy Bibliophile who kindly recommended my book ‘This Is Your Quest’ to their respective followers. I would like to share this interview with you, not so much to shine the spotlight on myself, but more so to highlight the importance of why story telling matters.

There are two ways to learn valuable life lessons that will teach us to become a little bit smarter and wiser. The first method is through trial, errors and personal experience and the second method is through story telling. The downside of the first method is that it will no doubt brings you a fair amount of pain and suffering, which is something that we all want to avoid as much as possible. Learning life lessons through someone else’s struggle and ordeal is a much less painful way to go about it whilst still bringing the same benefits. And that is where story telling comes into the frame. Stories teach us about life about ourselves and about others.

So, sharing my story with readers as to how I came to write my book and what I found out along the way may well trigger some interest, it may motivate some aspiring authors to jump into the literary arena, and also get more readers to join me and find out how they can go on their own Quest to find happiness.

Meet the Author

When did you first realized you wanted to be a writer?

Writing is a fairly new thing for me, I never had this big childhood dream of becoming an author. It just happened and it surprised me as much as it surprised all my friends and family when they discovered I became a published author.  I started writing because I had a lot of things to says, there is so much wisdom and knowledge out there, some have been forgotten and some has been hidden away. I just wanted to bring those stories back to life and share them with all the curious souls out. You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books, so I wanted to write a book that will help people go on their own Quest to find happiness.

Toni Morrison said: “If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I couldn’t find anywhere a book that deal with all the subjects I was interested in; most self-help books are very focused on one particular subject either money, love or health taken separately. I couldn’t find a book that dealt with those subjects all at once, a book that inspired me but also challenged me, a book that could act as a compass when I was feeling lost. So, I decided that I should write such a book myself.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

More than an author I consider myself an artist, because it is more fluid and more suited to my current state of mind. Charles Bukowski said: “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way, an artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” I made it my personal Quest to make my writing informative, accessible and entertaining and I want to be part of that new self-help trend that make philosophy and history cool again, not reserved for the up-tight academic and his students.

What genre of books do you enjoy the most?

I read a lot of non-fiction books. There is so much information, tips and wisdom in those books; but reading those books feels a bit like ‘work’. I like taking non-fiction books with me on weekends away and on holiday. I also enjoy reading poetry because words in a poem have a lot of meaning and intensity. Before I write a piece, I like reading poetry, I let the words in the poem envelop me; it helps with my writing style.

What is your suggestion/advice to aspiring authors on writing and publishing?

Advice to aspiring authors: Read a lot and write a lot

My advice to aspiring authors is to read a lot and write a lot. Authors are inherently curious in nature. Reading is one way to express that curiosity whilst absorbing a lot information and getting acquainted with lots of different writing styles. Writing is the process by which you let go of what’s inside your head and heart. The most surprising thing I learned about writing is that “your book is not finished until it has been read.” New authors should see themselves as marathon runners and not sprinters. There are thousands of books being published every day; sadly, the majority of these books will stay in semi-obscurity. New authors should be relentless in their Quest to make their work visible and accessible to a larger public and you do this one reader at a time.

How many books have you published so far and are you working on some new project?

This is Your Quest

I launched the 1st Edition of my book in April 2018. The 2nd Edition came out in May 2019 together with the French version of my book which I translated myself. So, I wrote one book, but I have three versions of it. I am currently working with a professional voice actress (her voice is amazing) on the audio version of my book. I am anticipating being able to launch the audio version of my book by the end of October. Watch that space!

Where can readers find your work?

You can find my book on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo. Or you can purchase the book directly from my publisher www.bookocker.com/9732. You can also visit my website and  do an easy purchase from there www.authorjoannereed.net.

What do you like to do apart from writing?

I love being in nature and doing outdoor activities such as walking or riding my bicycle or my motorbike. Horse riding is one of my favorite activity, but I don’t have the opportunity to ride often. I also like keeping fit and the best way for me to do that is by practicing Muay Thai; it is intense, fun and a useful skill to have.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In 5 years’ time I’d like to see myself belonging to the category of writers whose work is appreciated and recognized by a large pool of people who read my work because they find a lot of value in it, and because it brings them some clarity and help them be the best version of themselves.

If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or you may also like:

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

Categories
Self-Help

How to Have Superpowers and Remain Resolutely Human.

Superpowers

How to have superpowers? Galileo said: “Books are our sole means of having superhuman powers while remaining resolutely human. The power of traversing the abysses of space, time, and misunderstanding that gap between our own life, our own self, our own subjective experience and another‘s.”

Happy National Book Lovers Day

National Book Lovers Day

August 9th is National Book Lovers Day. This gives me the perfect excuse to tell you something that you may already know but have forgotten or taken for granted. For this occasion, I organized a round table discussion with some renowned authors, Neil Gaiman, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison (RIP) in order to gather their thoughts on the importance of reading books and the role of writers in society.

The Importance of Books

Author Joanne Reed, “Neil Gaiman; you feel very strongly about the importance of reading and believe our future depends on it. Why is reading so important?”

Neil Gaiman, “Books are the way that we communicate with the dead, the way we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, it is the way the humanity has built itself and progresses. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have outlasted cultures and the buildings in which they were first told. These tales have survived on the shoulders of story-tellers and people who have transmitted them forward.”

James Baldwin: “For me, books are a way to change one’s destiny.”

Author Joanne Reed, “Interesting; throughout history, access to knowledge and education was the monopoly of a very few. Literacy was inaccessible to most and prohibited to many, i.e. serfs, women and slaves, to keep them in a state of servitude and ignorance. Knowledge is power; the ruling classes kept serfs uneducated by design so they could successfully rule over them. Under the feudal system women too had little or no chance of attaining education. In a few cases, girls from upper-class backgrounds enjoyed the benefits of education as there were certain obligation for women of nobility that required them to be literate; but whatever education women had access to was purely designed to help them marry well, or to become a good wife and mother. In the USA, slaves were prohibited by law to read and write. Slave masters understood that control over slaves could not be based solely on physical coercion and it was also understood that literate slaves would eventually demand the same rights that whites enjoyed; I discuss this in Chapter 7 of my book.

James Baldwin: “You cannot underestimate the importance of writing. Writers describe things which other people are too busy to describe. I didn’t decide to become a writer I discovered I was one.”

Neil Gaiman, “Writers have an obligation to write true things. Truth is not in what happens but in what it tells us about who we are. Writers have an obligation not to bore our readers, but to make them need to turn the pages. One of the best cures for a reluctant reader is after all a tale they cannot stop themselves reading. And while we must tell our readers true things and give them arms and pass on whatever wisdom we have gleaned from our short stay on this green world, we have an obligation to not preach, not to lecture, not to force predigested morals and messages down our reader’s throats like adult birds feeding their babies pre-masticated maggots.”

Toni Morrison, “I agree but wish to add, that if there is a book you want to read that hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one who writes it.”

Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019)

Author Joanne Reed, “Exactly, I always wanted to read a book that inspires and challenges me, a book about important subjects like love, money, and health in an educational and fun to read way; a book that contains a treasure trove of wisdom gathered from people who succeeded in their own Quests, where I can learn lessons from history and can have conversation with philosophers. I never found such a book, so decided to follow the advice of Toni Morrison and wrote the book myself!”

Superpowers Conclusion

I would like to thank my guests for agreeing to participate. In closing, for National Book Lover’s Day, I hope this discussion has reminded you of the power of knowledge and to help appreciate the story teller’s contribution to this art. Books don’t write themselves, and books are how to have superpowers!

Words have tremendous energy and power, they have the ability to educate, to help, to heal, to illuminate the minds.

“Books are our sole means of having superhuman powers while remaining resolutely human.”


If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, or you may also like:

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.