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June 2014 Publisher Letter

I appreciate Judith Fertig’s feature article, “The Healing Power of Story: How Telling Our Truths Can Set Us Free,” in this month’s Inspired Living and Men’s Wellness issue. In The Queen’s Code, the most recent book by Alison Armstrong, a nationally known expert on men, she explains why men tell stories and how important the retelling of a significant story is for a man’s well-being.

Armstrong, the CEO and co-founder of PAX Programs, Inc., ardently educates women and men about our differences with the goal of achieving greater understanding, acceptance and appreciation between the sexes. She refers to the male retelling phenomenon as the “storytelling phase of the hunt,” when a man is reliving a particularly vivid challenge or accomplishment. In the telling of it, he may be teaching a moral lesson, proving the value of a method, encouraging others or empowering and re-energizing himself. Most men are naturally providers, and often do so by sharing advice based on their wealth of life experiences.

Armstrong suggests that because women use stories for different purposes, they may not understand this aspect of the male psyche. Inadvertently, women may shut down a man’s repeated story, an act he perceives as emasculating and diminishing. Like most misunderstandings between men and women, this is just another piece of the puzzle that makes up the beauty of our differences. By understanding and appreciating them, we can support and empower each other. Everyone wins.

My good friend Zack, who lives abroad and with whom I have been corresponding for years, bemoans the near-universal loss of letter writing, noting that everyone used to be a writer and a storyteller. Storytelling is an essential human activity. It helps us think, remember and understand the world. “The fact that more and more people don’t see themselves as storytellers today is disconcerting,” says Zack. “It means we’re not thinking about things as deeply as we used to. We only process things enough to form a status update.”

On the other hand, I am optimistic, because we now have more outlets than ever for sharing our stories. The number of blogs and websites supporting fan fiction and amateur writing is exploding, as is the popularity of community storytelling events such as Milwaukee’s own Ex Fabula (ExFabula.com), a fun and lively monthly event where anyone can share personal and true stories. Its goal is to connect individuals through universal experiences and strengthen community bonds. I had a blast at the last Ex Fabula event I attended, and the best part was meeting a new friend and going out afterwards to dinner, at which we talked for hours, laughed and shared many great stories.

Here’s to the stories you’ll tell,

Gabrielle Buchnik Natural Awakenings Magazine Milwaukee

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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