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Monday, August 29, 2011

Stories: Christine Kraft's Jacket

I paint in within my kitchen: it is the hearth, the heart, the home. 

On the night of June 6th, I painted Christine upon her own linen jacket.  I painted without priming.  I could make no mistake.  I painted her attentive face and piercing eyes.  I painted the face of girl, who is also a mother and she had eyes as old as time itself.

I painted her while surrounded by chaos, as deadlines loomed and children ran and played.  She appeared like sea of calm within that painting, just as she had within my life.
My mad scientist wall
Christine stepped into my path and cemented my future on May 3rd 2009.  I was selling toys on one day out of the three, I worked in as many months.  I felt compelled to talk to her, to tell her that Fred had kidney cancer.  The air around us was electric.  It was meant to be. 

We barely knew each other.  I was the nice shop-keep.  She was the nice customer.  We were consequential strangers.

She told me of e-patient Dave.
She told me to get on twitter.
She organized my first Health 2.0 meeting.
She made my 36th Birthday Cake, while Fred lay dying.
She came by hospice and talked with me.
She was there at the first mural.
She blogged one of the first blogs the day after it was placed.

Who would you call in order to talk from the depths of your soul?  Who would you pour out your grief to, your fears to?  I would answer: Christine.

So I painted Christine telling stories, painting stories.  These are stories as old as time, painted in ocher and painted in blood.
Stories: Christine Kraft's jacket
“I can tell you something about Stories they drive engagement, “ so says the oracle Christine.


  1. Thanks for this Regina -- it and the sentiment of Christine's jacket are right on target. It's not only a testament to the power of connecting with people on the periphery of your life, it's also a reflection of your openness and courage.
    Melinda Blau
    author, Consequential Strangers

  2. When I meet a story, the first thing I think about is audience. Is there already an audience for that story? If not, I consider what kind of audience could be receptive to its themes.

    I ask myself how the story makes me feel, honestly, and whether and how it moves me or makes me uncomfortable. If I sense that the story is balanced and its conflicts are alive and have work to do, I then look for a sign that the storyteller is engaged on all of these contexts too. This is part intuition, part producer and part social work.

    Audience has played a big role in your story, Regina. Initially, the questions were, who are the stakeholders willing to take a leap of faith? Who in the field will share a piece of their audience and voice with you? Where is there room for your gifts and supreme talents?

    Thankfully, there have been many stakeholders who have stepped forward to create audience for the story. The list is very long, as your speaking engagements calendar on the right shows.

    When a story takes hold in an audience its power no longer rests with the storyteller. The power is transferred to its audience, and it's the audience response that defines what comes next. Will the audience engage or disengage? Will the story be muted? Diluted? Co-opted? Or will the story get a chance to live on and inspire?

    When a storyteller acts, her audience reacts.

  3. Thank you Melinda and Christine, as always you have so much to add to the conversation. it is an honor to know you both.