We carry around our stories. They drive us, they define us. Our stories are who we are. Beneath this skin, this frail facade, we are a collection of experiences and ideas.
Sometimes they are heavy and we strain beneath them. But that only makes our legs and shoulders stronger. Over time our stories make us impervious to the weather of our lives. If we choose that. If we insist on growing. If we have faith in ourselves. Because our stories can also buckle us. They can break us. How we tell the story matters, not just to others but to ourselves.
The glass is always half full. Things can always be worse. If you are alive and breathing you are in the game, you can help people. And if you can help people then your life has meaning. Our meaning does not derive from what we can do for ourselves.
I must always ask myself ‘what story am I telling?’ and ‘who am I helping today?’ That is my anti-depressant. That is my raison d’etre. My story is only complete if it includes yours. And it does. Not...
Sometimes people ask me to do an ODE for them, and sometimes I ask them to allow me to tell their story. Such was the case with Edward who, after 28 years as a San Francisco firefighter, had stories to tell.
I couldn't possibly squeeze all his wisdom and experience into one ODE so I chose what I thought were the salient points from his interview and created an 'overview', a short summary of who he is. That's all an ODE is supposed to be.
Since he won't toot his own horn allow me to do it for him. Edward is a kind, giving, caring person who embodies love and respect for life. This is the face you want to see looking back at you through the smoke.
Just look into his eyes and you'll feel him. He's the real deal. I chose that photo because it moves me the most.
What I learned from doing his ODE (because I always learn something) is that fear is the thing that holds us back, and that you can choose how you deal with your fear. It's a timely lesson for me and I have to believe that Edward came t...
I wanted to do an ODE for Brandon because he’s a really good guy. And I wanted to know more about him. The ODE process lets me dig a little deeper into a person’s story. If I can convey it to you, I learn something by default. And that’s how this whole thing got started. Because I wanted to tell people’s stories. Not the whole story but enough to get a sense of who they are, what they’re made of. Could I distill a person’s experience and philosophy down to a few basic truths? Maybe. Sometimes. But regardless, I could at least hope to depict someone with dimension, and depth. The whole point of ODE is to humanize people in an increasingly dehumanizing world.