Cut The Strings: the True Story of a Soul Reclaimed
Author: Lynn Grocott
Foreword by Sir Chris Bonnington
Paperback: 152 pages
Publisher: Lean Marketing Press (July 1, 2005)
It may sound silly but the key to self-confidence and building more self-esteem is through practice. Practice what it is you want to feel more confident about and eventually, the confidence will show itself. That makes sense if we’re talking about a skill like playing the piano. With enough practice, you naturally begin to get good at it and then you feel more confident. But what about tougher things like public speaking or meeting new people? How do you practice something that you’re terrified to do in the first place?
Would you believe me if I told you that you already have the power to succeed? It’s latent and just waiting to be tapped into. It’s relatively easy to learn and it reaps rewards that help you throughout your lifetime. It is also one of the skills that never becomes outdated or even useless but one that only becomes better the more you practice. What is this power? Storytelling.
Storytelling has an effect of everyday life that is amazing. People have discovered it to get what they want in life and here are just four examples of actual conversations (with a few modifications as to names, places and so on) that show that when a story was told, there were positive repercussions, namely:
A sale was made
A lecture was successfully delivered
A job was secured
Friendships were made
Conversation #1 – a sale was made
Sales person A said, “The crystal you are holding in your hand is good for bringing wealth.”
Then, before Jane could ask anything, sales person A said, “the colour in this crystal is yellow. Make a wish, buy this and I guarantee that your wish will come true.”
Jane nodded politely, said, “Just looking …” and walked away.
Sales person B said, “I see you are interested in the yellow crystal.”
After Jane nodded and said, “You know, that has been my best selling item. Actually it has helped me personally too. Can I tell you the story?”
Jane agreed and sales person B said, “Well, about a year ago, I lost my job. The bank was after me. I chanced upon these crystals. They come from the caves of this mountain where there is a story that the Goddess of wealth who is supposed to appear from time to time. I don’t know what the powers are in these crystals but I tell you, that day, when I went to the bank, the officer was so patient. He listened to me and instead of seizing my property, we re-negotiated. I was given time and since then I have started this business and am slowly succeeding.”
Jane nodded and said, “Tell me more about this crystal…” and in no time at all, Jane bought the crystal.
Conversation #2 – a brilliant lecture was delivered
Jack, an average lecturer at the university, began speaking to his class about the rather obscure topic of ‘History and the art of story telling with an emphasis on examples of satire’
He began in a tedious, monotone: “There are many cultures in this world …” blah, blah, blah. He never bothered look at his audience to see it anyone was paying attention to what he was saying
When he did look up he saw some of his students beginning to yawn and some others preparing to leave. Even though he felt dejected, Jack decided to plod along and finish his lecture. When the class ended, there were almost no students and Jack’s energy was completely drained.
At 11 o’clock in the morning, Jack was to deliver the same lecture but to a different group of students. But this time, he decided to try something a little different…
Memoirs of a Geisha
Hardcover: 768 pages
Publisher: Random House Large Print (November 15, 2005)
At the start of this review, I must admit that I read this book after I watched the movie. Therefore, I found that a lot of the time, when I read the story I was visualising much of what I’d seen in the cinema.
Usually, when I’ve watched a movie or read a book, I’ve been disappointed because the stories would never tally but in the case of Memoirs of a Geisha, this was not so. I enjoyed the movie and I enjoyed the book even more.
One of the most important things about this book I enjoyed was that it was written in first person and when I did a little research into author and the book, I discovered that Mr. Golden had first attempted to write his book in third person. He says, in this interview, “But I did it in third person twice, and really only went to first person when I realized that I wasn’t going to get the book written that I really wanted to write, unless I made this kind of imaginative leap into the mind of the character.”
Mr. Golden, in that same interview stated that he first had the idea of writing the book when he was still living in Japan. He came across a gentleman who was the son of a geisha and that was the moment when Mr. Golden realised that this was an interesting topic to explore.
As a work of cultural import, this novel is exciting because it gives the reader an insight into a world that has remained exotic, even for someone who lives in the Far East. One of the most poignant moments for me was a very small point in the novel – for all of my life I wondered where Malaysians had derived the words ‘Ringgit’ and ‘sen’ to denote our currently and it was to my delight that I learned that the word ‘sen’ came from the Japanese currency and I assume we must have gained the same when Malaya was occupied by the Japanese during World War 2.
Essentially, this is romantic tale and it begins with a Translator’s Note and from first those passages, one is told that Sayuri was indeed one of the most famous of geisha who ever lived. Jakob Haarhuis makes it a point to say that Sayuri narrated the tale of her life in Japanese and that he has taken extensive notes and even recorded her voice. We are then introduced to Sayuri’s own voice and it is she who tells the tale.
Sayuri was born and given the name Chiyo. When she was young, she and her sister were taken from her family, separated and eventually, Chiyo was ‘sold’ to an okiya as a maid, with the view of eventually becoming a geisha. Chiyo faces an uphill struggle for she comes face to face with Hatsumomo, the villain in this story. There are also the lesser characters like Aunty, Mother, Mr. Bekku, Mr. Tanaka, the various suitors and a supposed ally, Pumpkin. However, at the age of twelve, Chiyo comes across a man whom she calls ‘the Chairman’ and is captivated by him. From that moment on, she resolves that she will do all she can to become a geisha and as luck would have it, she is taken under the wing of Mameha, a renowned geisha is Gin, the section of Kyoto where the geisha live.
It is a testament to Mr. Golden’s ability to write successfully in Sayuri’s voice for he says that once the book was published, many people wrote to him to ask him how they may contact Sayuri.
It is a novel that I would highly recommend for someone who would like, not only to be entertained, but to learn about a people, a culture and race that is considered far removed from ‘normal’ life.
Awaken the Giant Within
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Free Press (November 1, 1992)
It surprises me not one bit that this book has sold over a million copies.
FBI: The Fit Body Initiative
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Bookshaker (November 17, 2005)
The title of this book, for me, was immediately arresting. I would hazard a guess that I am not the first person to wonder what on earth the ‘FBI’ has to do with being healthy. However, upon closer analysis, it becomes obvious that ‘FBI’ is short for “Fit Body Initiative’. In the title alone, this book has achieved the aim of catching a reader’s attention.