StoryStudio Chicago Words for WorkStoryStudio Chicago Words for Work
Human Kindness

by Jill Pollack

We’ve been doing a lot soul searching here at StoryStudio as we prepare to grow the organization and expand our programming to reach more writers and storytellers.

We talk about how and why stories matter and their potential to help someone get a job, grow a business, make a new friend, de-escalate an argument, pass down family history, or simply help themselves make sense of their worlds.

But sometimes I wonder if we’re overdoing it, being drama queens about what a story really is capable of.

(1) Can you point to any novel that has truly changed the world?

(2) A piece of journalism that lead to new laws?

(3) A personal essay that offered you a new perspective on your neighbor?

 Of course the answer to all of these questions is Yes(See some answers below).

Driving home the other day I listened to a radio story about a man in Utah who stopped a raving, slur-slinging mob (yes, actually a mob) from attacking four gay men it had followed from a gay pride parade in Salt Lake City.

The men entered a store fearing for their lives. The man behind the counter, Terrence Mannery, put himself between those men and that crazy, hate-fueled mob. Terrence got beat up, but to hear him tell it, he was just doing what was right. 

 Get this: Terrence is black and bisexual himself. And still, he faced down the hate.

 When talking with Robin Young from the radio news show, Here and Now, Terrence simply reminded us: if we’re not standing up to the bullies and speaking out, then we’re a part of the problem.

It’s Up To Us

This is a story that needs to get out in this day and age when our president incites such hatred and pushes an agenda to further distance the haves from the have-nots.

Art has always played a role in social movements. Usually, because it gets past the rhetoric and tells us about people’s lives. Also, because everyone can make art. Everyone has a story.

StoryStudio has a role to play in all of this. We can help people find those stories that matter, and help to tell them in a way that will have an impact on readers-or even just one reader.

You have a role to play too. Stand Up. Speak Out. Write Down Your Stories.

Join us as we create programming that just might help save the world.


 Answers: 1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe; 2. Here is a list ; 3. Anything by Rebecca Traister

Jill Pollack
About Jill Pollack
 Jill Pollack is Chief Story Wrangler of StoryStudio Chicago, where she founded a creative writing school and the Words for Work business writing training. She now co-leads the Story Mode program with Beth Nyland, working with company teams and business people who are really artists in their hearts to become great storytellers, presenters, and creatives. She was a co-founder of the content marketing conference, Content Jam in Chicago, IL, and is a frequent podcast guest and speaker on the power of stories in our personal and professional lives.
Human Kindness
Why It Matters