It’s all about the stories

  • “I love your stories.”
  • “Your stories touched me right here,” she said pointing to her heart.
  • “Your story about your grandmother brought me back to a deep and painful memory about my own grandmother.”
  • “I can just picture your father saying that on the beach.”

None of my fellow worshippers mentioned my erudite theological reflection; no one complimented my scriptural exegesis; and no one was wowed by the sophisticated metaphors I crafted for my first ever sermon, preached this past Sunday at the Montauk Community Church.

It was all about the stories. A story about my father embracing his life, even near the end of a 21-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease. A story about facing my fears and finally getting up on that stand-up paddle board. A story about my grandmother’s zest for life and the abundant bowl of creamy mashed potatoes she regularly encouraged me to eat.

The stories are where we find connection; where we find kindred spirits; where we find comfort in recognizing that we are not alone.

As I continue to write my memoir, counsel college application essay clients, write grant proposals, and coach other writers, I’m going to keep reminding myself and my clients that it’s all about the stories.

On the paddleboard!

Today was the day.

I had vowed to myself that I would not let another summer go by without grabbing a paddle and attempting to stand-up paddleboard. I had even written an article this past spring for OnMontauk on paddleboard basics, and had publicly promised I would give it a try.

Last summer, not wanting to risk humiliation, I had stood on the shoreline and watched my friends, one after the other, swim out and get up on the paddleboard …

Today the ocean was calm, the temperature was comfortable, my friend’s paddleboard was in sight.  All it took was a nudge from Andrea to encourage me, and I was off before I had a chance to second guess myself.


I got up without incident, and it wasn’t too scary. My paddling technique needs some practice, but I’m on my way.

We all need encouragers like Andrea to push us outside our comfort zone.

Jump in — take the plunge — start that college application essay — it won’t be too scary. With some practice and an encourager in your court, you’ll be on your way.