The Art of Storytelling

ORDINARY LIFE - Thoughts and Ideas to Help You Live a Happier Life

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Summary for May 7, 2017

Dear Folks -

Once again, this last Sunday found our teacher and spiritual guru, Bill Kerley, on his pilgrimage in Italy.  Bill has recently added a couple of new blog posts.  You can read about his adventures on the Ordinary Life webpage at

If you were unable to attend Ordinary Life this last Sunday, you missed a presentation that was described by many as "simply fantastic".  Mr. Marlon "Marley" Lizama, Program Director @ Iconoclast Artists, gave a talk he titled,  

The Art of Storytelling

Frieda Hale, our Ordinary Life regular and steering committee member, described Marley's presentation in the following way.

"Marlon Lizama is the Artist-in-Residence for Iconoclast and his talk was entertaining, up lifting and heartbreaking.  His program is about teaching high level creating writing to at-risk youths and incarcerated youths.  These programs came about through his life experiences and his experience as a writer, a poet and performer.  He believes that through sharing our stories, we develop connections that as so vital to our lives.  This is his message to youth, that their stories matter, that we are all the same, needing love, and connections.

He told his grandmother's story of being in El Salvador during the civil war and holding a mattress over her children to protect them from the bullets flying through their home. Despite being shot 4 times, she comforted the children telling them the bullets were really confused butterflies trying to get out of their house.

He told stories of his mother who left her children with the grandmother and went to the US to work 3 jobs and support the family. He talked of the confusing message in this action as a young child and how he eventually reconciled with this anger.

He came to the US as a young child and live in an at-risk neighborhood . He was constantly teased and bullied and often in trouble. As punishment, his mother made him read the poetry of Pablo Neruda. 

One of the life changing experiences for him was the first time he went to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. There he saw a painting by Jackson Pollack and was awed by the audacity of that art and the perspectives he heard of other viewers. He wanted to be that person that could "bend the will of the world". 

In high school, in order to pass a class he was failing, his teacher told him to perform a story he wrote for the class. As the story connected with the other students, he saw the change that created and felt empowered for the first time in his life. He also passed the class.

He read his amazing poetry and was a true inspiration.

Marlon is hosting the release of the 2nd anthology of the students work at The Museum of Fine Art this Thursday from 7-9 pm. It is a free event and we are all invited. I highly recommend that you come to meet this amazing man and the youth whose lives are saved through their connections built by writing."

Thank you, Frieda!

Marley spoke without prepared text or a slide deck; hence, there is only the audio of Marley's presentation on the Ordinary Life website.  However, numerous Ordinary Life members have made it a point to recommend listening to Marley's audio if you weren't there (or even if you were!).

You can click on the link below to hear Marley's presentation.

You can get a stronger sense of Marley and his work from his website:

More information about Marley's poetry performance this Thursday at the Museum of Fine Arts can be found on the MFAH website at:  I hope to see you there.

Once again, I close with Bill's words:

Be well and much love,

Wayne Herbert