Weekend Reads: forget your fear, remember this day.
Storytelling is a compulsion—biologically. Just ask your doctor.
Yet, even though every single one of us craves storytelling down to the marrow of our bones, we seem to forget what it takes to truly tell an unforgettable story.
We expect stories to appear, magically, as if conjured from the ether—without having to actually find them. Without have to submit ourselves to the curiosity and adventure that brings the world’s best stories to light. Without compelling ourselves to go out into the world and live our lives boldly.
Storytelling is a matter of forgetting, and then remembering: forgetting your reasons why not, and then remembering why this world is worth exploring.
A few months ago we spent some time in conversation with our good pals at Gnarly Bay—who will, taking time out of their busy schedules of spelunking, jumping, and diving through the world’s richest locales, be one of our educators for Tell Amazing Stories—and above all they encouraged us to ask ourselves one question.
One question every single morning: will this be a day I won’t soon forget?
As storytellers, this question should be the hymn coursing throughout our blood. It’s why, after all, we’re having our Tell Amazing Stories course: to show that for any storyteller, the best stories are those we’ve captured on an ordinary day.
Which is why this week’s reading list is all about forgetting your fear: of danger, of judgment, of missing out, of reward—and simply heading out into a moment to experience it for what it is. Fully.
Here are 4 reads we’ve recently run head-first into that remind us how a life worth living is felt one fully remembered day at a time.
Each day we wake up and the choice is simple: to get out of bed or to stay and let the day slip away. And so Blake Owens wrote himself a manifesto: a sort of modus operandi to get him out of bed.
Because obligation is one thing. Obligation is based on fear. But the real reason to get out of bed? The day could simply hold an important chapter in the story that is your life.
Remember to be grateful for the people, places, and opportunities in your life. Take a couple minutes every day to look around at this amazing world; never take it for granted. Stand in the rain, look at the stars, watch a sunset.
IFAS workplace researcher Renaud Gaucher points to our perception of our own level of happiness as a matter of what we do and what we don’t remember—the moments in our quotidian that affect us so emotionally that we can’t help but remember vs. that which we conveniently forget.
What are the parts of your day you’d rather forget? What can you do to make for less and less of such moments?
So, why is it important to know that the happiness you are experiencing at this moment is different from the happiness you will remember from this moment? It is important because it affects our decisions. We make decisions based on our memory of a situation, and not on what we actually felt at the time, and we do this without being aware of the process.
3. “This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life”
Like last week’s “interview” with Philip Seymour Hoffman, this is as much a “watch” as a “read”, but such is the beauty of David Foster Wallace’s grasp of language: it flows as well in your head as it does in your ears.
In 2005, Wallace gave a commencement speech to Kenyon College that was essentially about every college student’s biggest fear: life after graduation. Will I get the job of my dreams? Will I lead a happy life? What does any of that really mean? Wallace doesn’t dispel any of that fear so much as break it down into bits: a happy life is an aware one, and an aware life is one lived giving yourself as fully as you can to the world around you.
A happy life is about remembering where you are—in that moment, in the water—remembering that this is everything. This is it. And it can be beautiful.
The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what "day in day out" really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I'm talking about.
The title says it all: we spend our lives consumed, busy, and seemingly always catching up on a life we think we should be living. But, as David Foster Wallace asks, what about life as it is, now?
Perhaps, then, a day of moments worth remembering is one in which fear held little sway over us. This is, in essence, what it means to take “a passionate leap”.
Don’t ignore death, but don’t be afraid of it either. Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive. Be bold. Be courageous. Be scared to death, and then take the next step anyway.
And if life only teaches you one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it.
Ready to remember that passionate leap, that energy, that drew you, drew all of us, to filmmaking in the first place?
Meanwhile, if you have any articles or good reads about adventure, nostalgia, excursions—anything that draws you out of your comfort zone and compels you to tell an amazing story, please share in the comments below. This is what we'll be reading this weekend. What about you?