This past week, I had the privilege of addressing audiences at four speaking events across Chicago’s western suburbs. With the release of my new book, Your Turn: Ways to Celebrate Life Through Storytelling on October 1st, it was truly a special time for me to come back to a place that I called home for many years as a school superintendent.
In addition to talking about my new book, the importance of storytelling, writing to heal and the power of human connection, I was thrilled to have the distinct honor of presenting alongside my great friend Karen Keilt. Although our stories and personal narratives are different from one another, we both understand the power of sharing our personal stories as a means of self-care, but also as a catalyst of personal empowerment for others.
When I present to different audiences, I always find something unique that allows me to personally connect with members of the group. One of the major points that I try to make to my audiences is that every story, no matter how “big” or “small” has inherent value; telling your story matters, and people always find authenticity in storytelling awfully compelling.
That sense of connectedness happened right away at our first speaking event at the Oak Park Public Library. After talking about the unique story of my grandfather’s instruction of how to pull out the juicy heart of a watermelon, and my favorite recipes I shared with colleagues as an educator, I had the audience talking about their family’s unique histories.
One member of the gallery talked about how her mother always used the term “breaking bread” as a term of solidarity and togetherness, a phrase that I use as a chapter in my book, Your Turn. Another member of the audience discussed her family’s storied Italian recipes and their place in her family’s heritage. Soon enough, we were all finding common ground! Whatever the topic, whether it be food, music, family events, etc., there are countless stories that bridge people together.
I was also thrilled to encounter long-time friends, colleagues and meet new people from around Chicagoland. At each event, I talked with amazing people, some of whom I’ve known for decades. It’s special to re-connect with these friends and see each other in person while encouraging them to share their own stories.
At the last event, it was also truly special to have a large contingent of some of my former colleagues and teachers that I hired as a superintendent. It was thrilling to discuss Your Turn with them and give Karen an opportunity to present her compelling personal narrative of overcoming tremendous hardships. What a way to round out a great series of presentations.
Thank you to everyone who attended the events, and if you would still like a copy of Your Turn, please check out the following Amazon link: https://amzn.to/330XSgV or visit TyraManning.com.
I also want to thank the Oak Leaves for the tremendous story about my book tour visit and personal story below.
Oak Leaves story: https://bit.ly/337kyvX