Spring fever has a grip on me. The browns, blacks and whites of winter have been replaced with the primary colors of spring. Lemon yellow tulips, azure skies and spring green leaves lift my spirit and call to me to head out of doors. After such a long, cold winter it's good to see the return of milder temperatures. I hope you forgive me for putting on hold our discussion of life in the Fourth Quarter while I share with you my Monday musings.
Have you ever read a book whose ideas and characters stay with you for days or weeks after reading the last word? Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz is just such a novel for me. The book is a thriller that explores the stories that the heroine Grace Reinhart Sachs tells herself about her perfect husband, her perfect job and her perfect life. Korelitz brilliantly shows Grace's journey as she confront a terrifying truth putting an end to life, as she believed it to be. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a good read and engaging ideas. Should Have Know got me to thinking about the stories we tell ourselves.
My company helps organizations tell stories to their key constituent to achieve a goal. Now a story isn't necessarily a falsehood; it's an account or a vision of a real or imaginary event. I love the work because I love telling stories. I even volunteered one year to tell stories to elementary school children. Stories frame who we are and what we believe about ourselves.
I do wonder about the stories that bombard us daily. TV shows about murder and mayhem, news reports about the heartache and disasters in the world that seem to have no solution or end and the constant narrative that success is celebrity and extreme wealth. Is this who we believe we are now? Maybe the media are the modern day Brothers Grimm sharing cautionary folk tales that warn of us the evils of the world. But I do long for stories that bear witness to (wo)man's successes as individuals and as a group. I worry that we, like the fictional Grace Reinhart Sachs, are mono focused but unlike Grace, our stories are not about perfection but about a world is so horrific and despairing that it's deadening. I believe we need stories that highlight the best in humans so that we can hold on to our humanity.
What do you think? What stories are we telling each other as a nation? What stories do you tell yourself? Do they lift you up or tear you down? Let me know what you think about the stories we tell ourselves.