putting words to work for you

Author: John David Kudrick (Page 1 of 15)

“What Is This?”

I knew from school that the world was made of atoms and molecules, and we knew scientists were out there somewhere splitting and spinning and bouncing and breaking down matter to the smallest building blocks of the universe, but all I wanted to know was why there were building blocks in the first place and what was building with them. What wasn’t and wanted to be? What is this?

That was my big question: What is this?

To me, it felt like we were all living in a snow globe and people in white lab coats were out there just counting snowflakes. I didn’t want data. I wanted to bask in the stomach-dropping, tingling sensation of unknowing and soak in something more basic—namely, “What the fuck are we doing in this snow globe?”

pete holmes in his book comedy sex god

Classic Story-Song Craft: Part 4

Show-and-Tell: Eating the Pie in One Sitting

Time for the fourth in a series on various elements of crafting engaging stories by way of looking at popular story-songs …

Grab a cup of joe or what you like to sip on, because it’s nice to have something to drink with a BIG helping of dessert. This time around, we have “American Pie,” a song written and performed by Don McLean. Maybe you’ve heard the old story-writing adage of “Show, don’t tell.” Sometimes, of course, you need to just point-blank tell and not beat around the bush when weaving a yarn. So why is showing always put forth as a more engaging way to share a story? To answer that, here’s a song that is chock-full of all sorts of symbolic phrases that show rather than tell, like a pie stuffed with every kind of berry you can think of:

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Classic Story-Song Craft: Part 3

Telling the Raw Truth: Digging Into a Ballad from Bob Dylan (you knew he had to be coming sometime)

And the third of a series on various elements of crafting engaging stories by way of looking at popular story-songs …

This time it’s “The Ballad of Emmitt Till” (aka “The Death of Emmitt Till”), a tune written and performed by Bob Dylan (under the pseudonym Blind Boy Grunt on this recording). If you want a songwriter who pulls no punches, look no further than Dylan, and in this case, he doesn’t sugarcoat the story itself or his take on it.

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Classic Story-Song Craft: Part 2

Details, Details, Details: Sitting with Billy at the Ivories

Here’s the second of a series on various elements of crafting engaging stories by way of looking at popular story-songs. Next up is “Piano Man,” a tune written and performed by Billy Joel and a shining example of walking the knife’s edge of finding the perfect amount of details to include in a tale.

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Classic Story-Song Craft: Part 1

Economy of Language: Heading West (as in Country & Western)

This is the first of a series on various elements of crafting engaging stories by way of looking at popular story-songs. We start with two tunes from the world of country & western music, both classic ballads using a minimum of words: first, “Streets of Laredo” sung by Marty Robbins and, according to various websites, claimed to have been written decades earlier by cowboy Frank H. Maynard, and then “Big Bad John” sung by Jimmy Dean and written by Dean and Roy Acuff.

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