Innovation in Storytelling

What if we talked more about how much we truly depend on each other? What if we refocused our conversations and stories on the relationships that enable us to be a society?

First, a note about the times we are currently living in. This issue was going to the printer just as social distancing became the new normal. Several of our 500-plus distribution sites are temporarily closed, giving our online storytelling even greater weight.

As Minnesota Women’s Press prepares to celebrate its 36th birthday, we see this as a time of rebirth, emerging from a deeply matrilineal legacy that will not be forgotten.

Our team is working from our homes to bring you new digital content over the coming weeks. We intend for this to be a welcome diversion from the worries of the news, inspiration for the Big Picture thinking that is required, energy for rebuilding in the months to come, and a grateful breath of recognition to those in healthcare and customer services.

This month’s theme of Innovators reminds us that it is in collaboration that our imagination soars and our action steps gain grassroots power. How will we emerge from this time — fueled by inventive STEM minds and creative artists — to truly make 2020 the Year of Vision, bringing us closer to where we want to be?


Mikki’s Personal Story

When I was in middle school, we had a health unit about smoking. I wrote a letter to my dad, full of the dangers of smoking. I told him I wanted him to be around to see me as the adult I would become.

He did quit, cold turkey. I was awed by the power of story to impact change.

That memory shapes a big part of my identity. It was a pivotal moment that whispered regularly to me as I matured, believing in my ability to effect change through words.

My dad died on March 4, 2020, at age 89. He had a long slide with dementia and a shorter struggle with congestive heart failure. In the end, everything he once knew about analytical chemistry, cooking, driving, fixing things, and even sometimes who he was talking to, was gone.

Yet what my dad could and could not remember was not the definition of who he was. Even though he had lost most of his own stories — the ones that gave him a sense of his individual identity — that did not change who he was to me, to my mom, to my kids.

It did not erase the intersecting moments he had with thousands of people over a lifetime, such as the employee he helped get U.S. citizenship, and the co-worker for whom he learned sign language. He continues to be the man whose support whispered me into writing to make a difference.

Our personal lives are just that. Not a story that begins and dies with one person, but a matrix of what we do, feel, and inspire. We are so much more than what we think we know. We extend far beyond individual bodies that are brief containers for our memories.

The Continuous Evolution

Many years ago, I was enchanted with the BBC show “Connections.” The message of the show: nothing about our modern world was created in isolation. One innovation leads to another to give us everything we could never replicate on our own. All that we are is the result of a web of interconnected events over time and space.

The show pointed out, for example, that were it not for the flooding of the Nile, and the intelligence that led to a calendar that could predict that overflow of water, and the subsequent invention of the plow, that led to a surplus of grains, which were stored in containers made by a potter’s wheel, our small villages would not have been able to grow into civilizations.

In other words, all of our stories are part of a continuous evolution together. Commerce, industry, technology, and political rivalries have largely been allowed to take over the storyline. We have devalued the human while glorifying the machinery, the capital, and the drama.

I believe we need innovation in storytelling. In these pages we amplify and inspire, with storytellers and narratives that lift us up into remembering that we are part of an expanding circle, not a single line.

In this April issue, we meet women in the arts and in STEM who are innovating in collaboration — not in competition. They are role models and mentors for one another. Some build partnerships to create solutions.

The women in these pages create a stronger world together.

“We, this people,
on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and
every woman can live freely.”

— Maya Angelou

Table of Contents

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35th Anniversary Book

Tapestry: Commentaries About Ingenuity

GoSeeDo : Supporting Artists, Suffrage Events

Art of Living : Baptism by Fire

Remembering : Architect Elizabeth Scheu Close

Perspective : Realigning Affordable

Identity

Money & Business : Film Fatales

BookShelf : Magic of Creation

In the News : Community Artist Grants, Recovery for Nurses

Greater Minnesota : My Nontraditional Path

Equity : The Power of Conversation


Specialty Guides

HOME: New Action Around Homelessness

GREEN: Simplicity of Our Complex Ecosystem

CELEBRATIONS: Eating for Equity

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