The Beauty of Stories: The Ultimate Staycation, Part II by Dr. Ondra Krause Dismukes

It’s officially Day #52 of the Covid-19 2020 quarantine, and you probably feel like you have “Googled” everything there is to “Google;” you have subscribed to every YouTube channel you ever even remotely contemplated, and some you never even fathomed; you have updated your social media profile for the tenth time today; and you have posted every single minute of your life – both real and imagined on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone, and you’re in luck! Allow me to reacquaint you with the beauty of stories: the ultimate staycation (Part, II)![1]

Need to get away . . . to anywhere? Take a trip down memory lane. Write your story! In his blog entitled “Men, Tell Your Stories,” my colleague Alex Howard offers this unique challenge: “M en, it’s time to tell our stories. Some of you are probably thinking that your story is not worth telling because you are just a normal guy. Those are the stories we need” (Howard). He goes on to say, “You don’t have to write like Shakespeare, and you don’t have to be as smart as Einstein. Just tell your story” (Howard). I extend Alex’s challenge to everyone to write your story. Whether you are male, female, both, or neither, you have a story to tell, and you’ve been writing it since you took your first breath.

Let’s take a staycation stroll down memory lane! Remember that story Uncle Albert – or Aunt Cheryl, Big Mama or Papi – told at every family gathering? Write it! The same reason he found the story interesting and fun to tell may inspire friends or other family members, maybe even you!. Let’s face it; most “family stories” involve some type of lesson in bravery, cunning, or just good old-fashioned humor; who couldn’t use more of that? On your next much-needed “Quarantine Check-In” with family and friends, share one of these stories with others who are familiar with this memory. Do they recall it differently, emphasize or delete various aspects of the memory altogether? Even better! These distinctions underlie the beauty of storytelling; they create good dialogue; and they offer yet another way to connect with those who share these memories.

Moreover, as Alex reminds us, “It doesn’t matter the format, and your story can have pictures” (Howard), because, face it: a story without pictures is just a lifeless narrative! That’s why we sing praises to creative writers everywhere for using words, alone, to create a virtual cornucopia to please the eyes and feed the brain. Admit it; even the basic appeal of any vacation stems from its root word vacate, meaning to leave. Pictures take us to specific times, places, and events that now frame – pun intended – a specific episode from the stories of our lives. Share the funny stories with your kids, your partner, your friends. Let them see a side of you they’ve never seen before, or share a story that will surely have your friends and family say “Yep! That’s you!” or “Yes (knowingly)! I can sooooo see you doing that!” Now, thanks to the beauty of your illustrated story, they literally can!

Consider, as well, introducing or reacquainting your kids with family members who have transitioned and now live through the memories embodied in stories and photos. Caption those pics with names, dates, and a brief description of the setting or occasion. Want to really turn up the fun on family game night? Create memes from family photos. Compete to see who can create the best meme within your household or - Go virtual; “Zoom” it! – among other family members’ households. The winner wins social media bragging rights!

Finally, what’s a vacation without time for self-reflection (and what else have we on our side right now, if not time)? Look back on pictures of you through the years. How do they tell your story? Take care not to dwell too long on the circumstances behind some of the pics of you where you appear – or remember feeling – less than happy or “not so you;” instead, focus on what you learned from that experience - whether about yourself, people, or life, in general. There’s a story there! If it means something to you, record it! Do the same thing with those selfies! Create a meme from some of those selfies to convey how you felt in that moment. If you’re bold enough, share it! Post it on your social media pages. Again, you will likely receive spectral responses from “Wow! Is that you?!” to “Wow! Yes! That’s soooo you!”

Either way, I join with my colleague, Alex, and a host of other Creatives who implore you to allow yourself to luxuriate in your story. Spending this reflective time, alone or with family, allows you to escape – even if briefly – to a place and time that means or meant something to you and has somehow influenced the person you are today . . .It is here, in these brief moments of escape, that the beauty of stories affords us the ultimate staycation: time away from the here and now, and time to reflect on those moments, people, and places that have given you a beautifully unique story to share. Be well!

Works Cited

Dismukes, Ondra. “The Beauty of Stories: The Ultimate Staycation, Part 1.” The Linguistique Mystique. April 11, 2020. Accessed 28 April 2020.

Howard, Alex. “Men, Tell Your Stories.” The Linguistique Mystique. February 10, 2020. Accessed 28 April, 2020.

Piacquadio, Andrea. Accessed 28 April 2020.

[1] See “The Beauty of Stories, The Ultimate Staycation, Part I” in TLM The Linguistique Mystique.. April 11, 2020.

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