Tag Archives: storytelling

U2 2018 “Love is all we have left”

I nearly spat out my Irish Breakfast tea when I read the LA Timesreview of the May 15, 2018 U2 concert I had attended at the Los Angeles Forum.

Music feeds the soul, the heart. It makes you feel. It celebrates the freedom of expression and the power of possibility. The LA Times reviewer over-intellectualized the event.

I saw four masterful musicians on fire, commanding the three connected stages set up so that the band could move from one to the next and play to the entire crowd.

Fearless. Kinesthetic. Urgent. All four musicians transformed their entire bodies into their instruments.

Imagery that, at times, resembled minimalistic modern art, vintage photographs, and projections of U2’s performance dominated two huge screens. One screen ran the length of the runway stage connecting the other two stages, and the other one sat atop the circular stage in the middle of the arena. Sophisticated engineering allowed all of this, yet did not detract from the simplicity of the staging.

Love Is All We Have Left
Love Is All We Have Leftis the title of one of their new songs. Its six words are exactly a sign of the times and give voice to those who long for social justice. Those few words serve as a reminder of:

  • The power and essence of love
  • Sadness regarding oppression and what has been lost
  • Hope

New Year’s Day
I experienced the concert with my 19-year-old son at my side.

At his age, I heard U2’s New Year’s Day for the first time on KROQ and saw colors. I was not high. I did not hallucinate. Rather, the song prompted colors, auras, in my mind. Rivers of bright colors flowed through my thoughts about halfway through the song, which evoked longing, anticipation, and the giddiness of being in love.

My son and I at U2 concert.

New Year’s Day also represents a far more profound story, the story of the victory of the Polish Solidarity Movement as detailed in this January 2018 article in IrishCentral.

Pride (In The Name of Love)
During their rendition of Pride (In the name of Love), historic images detailing Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights journey displayed on the giant screens. SongFacts details the evolution of the song. The song not only tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s courage and message; it inspires.

Bono quotes. I find one of his quotes comforting exactly now:

“Music can change the world, because it can change people,” Bono.



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How empathy can compel you to become a storyteller

Empathy turned Jennifer Lawrence into an actress. During a 2018 60 Minutes segment, Jennifer Lawrence revealed that she had no formal acting training and relies solely on empathy:

During the interview, she further revealed that sensing another’s feelings and letting go of her own identity comes easily to her, allows her to focus, and is tremendously rewarding.

Jennifer Lawrence (from 60 Minutes transcript): … That’s what I crave —that really getting lost into something, being almost possessed by another emotion. That’s the adrenaline rush, that’s the high that I can’t live without.

Lawrence described herself as a poor student, a misfit, and hyperactive in a traditional school setting.

The 60 Minutes segment is just as much a testament to parents who were able to step back and get to know their unconventional child and let her become who she was meant to be.

Unfortunately, so many children’s talents are wasted and their spirits crushed by school systems that subscribe to one size fits all.

But I digress.

Empathy can seem like such a hindrance. It can hurt to constantly sense others’ pain and many other emotions through their body language, facial expression, and notes in their voice.

Writing enables me to release many of those feelings by telling others’ stories. When I write, the characters appear in my thoughts and, at times, acting out premises results in their dialogue. When I get into flow, I experience a rush as well.

Did empathy turn you into a writer or another type of storyteller?




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Every Song Tells a Story

Some songs are better at storytelling than entire novels or movies. The nuances of the music, the lyrics, the tone, and the emotion of the singer quickly take you through the main character’s journey. Two recent songs come to mind.

Every woman who has a habit of falling for “bad boys,” can relate to Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”. These two lines sum up the fix, the rush, that instant, intense romance provides.

You can tell me when its over
If the high was worth the pain

Novelists spend pages and pages establishing characters, but what better way to describe a spirited young woman with a self-destructive streak than these seven words:

I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream

Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” laments the aftermath of the endless party enabled by designer drugs and the fall from popularity of a pop singer.

But you don’t want to be high like me
Never really knowing why like me

On his blog, Mike Posner details the evolution of the song, and the elaborate and unusual mixing process he came up with to showcase the lyrics.

Ironically, the song didn’t become a monster hit until a couple of Norwegian music producers called Seeb produced a dance club version of it, which is a story unto its own.

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