Project Give Back is all about story telling. It’s finding something you are truly passionate about and learning how to tell that story with conviction and heart. Just like painting, writing begins from a blank canvas. How do we create that masterpiece? Well, here are some tips and tricks from people who know.
Our first guest was Craig Offman, who is the Arts Editor at The Globe and Mail. Craig began his career in Journalism and then became a literature student, earning a Master degree in Fiction Writing. He worked at Vanity Fair and Salon, where his writing on culture and politics have been featured in GQ, Wired, The Financial Times and Time. Now, at The Globe and Mail, Craig oversees all forms of the arts, including books.
Craig told us what differentiates a good story from a great story, saying that, “A good story holds your interest momentarily, but a great story will stick with you. It makes you want to live in the world that was created in front of you”. It could be told in a variety of formats; whether it be dance, song, or film. It doesn’t just have to be written on a page.
Craig provided tips for aspiring writers, telling them to work hard, extremely hard. He compared the art of writing to the training of an elite athlete. The best writers are the ones who can create a world that makes you feel; as writing is an emotional experience. People want to laugh, and they want to cry. A good story teller should never second guess oneself. Be confident, as you need to believe in yourself to sell your own story. He added, “If you don’t believe in your own story, no one else will either.”
Craig also went on to explain why Harry Potter is a perfect example of a great story. He explained its popularity, and the reason it resonates with so many people. It is both unexpected and surprising. It provides great conflict, characters, and the drama never stops. We are transported to a world we never expect and when someone can guide you through an unexpected story that you can’t stop reading/watching, well, that makes for a great story!
Our next guest was Erin Silver. Erin is a successful writer of children’s books, whose latest book, What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19, is a picture book about the amazing ways kids around the world helped during the pandemic.
Erin shared her own experience as a story writer, and how she was impacted by COVID-19. She wrote this book last summer, by searching the internet to find stories of kids that accomplished so much, when everyone else was still. She shared snippets of many of these inspiring and empowering stories:
A dance troupe in Toronto, who raised over $20,000 for UHN
A boy from Japan, who put together a virtual graduation ceremony
A boy in Kenya, who built an automatic hand washing machine!
A 6 year old boy in BC, who made a joke stand!
Then, Erin introduced us to Veronika Kolarska, whose story was featured in herbook. Veronika was on hand to tell us how she initiated both music and fitness fundraisers to get people off their couches and moving. She created a global fitness workout, with all proceeds going to ‘Doctors Without Borders’. She also helped children heal through storytelling and music, by starting a music club where students could perform songs and launch games to get people engaged online. Quite the accomplishment for someone who is just beginning high school!
Our musical segment demonstrated how lyrics are stories, told through a magical format. While the lyrics hit your brain, the melody strokes your heart. Tonight, we heard from a young and very accomplished singer songwriter, Mikalyn Hay. Mikalyn performed a beautiful song that she wrote, called, ‘Younger Me’.
We finished the show with a word from Kindness Corner and Lindsay @one2giveto. Lindsay is continuing to collect socks for ‘Seeds of Hope’. Socks are the least donated and most needed item for the homeless. In the past nine days, they have gathered 5400 socks, but the campaign has been extended for another week, as they could still use more! Additional items such as batteries, flashlights or old cell phones can also be donated. All these small gestures will lead to a big difference!
Another storybook ending! Thank you to all our guests for enriching us with the stories that they shared.