Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Richard “Rick” Stone

American Storyteller, Artist and Photographer

"A disciple once complained, “You tell us stories, but you never reveal their meaning to us.” Said the master, “How would you like it if someone offered you fruit and chewed it up before giving it to you?” No one can find your meaning for you. Not even the master."

"A map is only a flat representation of what is, in truth, dynamic, changing, and full of the unexpected."

"At the end of our lives, after we have passed on, all that is left of us is our story… our ticket to immortality. Telling personal stories is also a bequest, a deeply meaningful and intimate legacy."

"Don’t judge. Just hear what the person has to say. Thoughtfully consider its meaning for him. When you attend to another’s speech in this way, you may come to recognize the miracle of words. This is sacred listening. To such an ear, story, in all of its forms, is transformed into a melodious language. When the listener is this receptive, both he and the teller are elevated to a new realm of communication. This is the foundation of building trust and safety in any relationship."

"As much as 90 percent of what is communicated in a story is nonverbal."

"Real listening is the creation of a sacred space in which another’s words are contained and transformed into hallowed speech. Like remembering, this form of listening is also intentional."

"Family myths powerfully affect our relationships."

"Nothing is ever black or white, stories make them so."

"The narrative structure of story impresses understandable patterns of meaning on experience, no matter how discontinuous an event is with our core beliefs and current view of things. This shows up most vividly in the midst of personal crises."

"We pay a terrible price for not forgiving. Unfortunately, the people whom we hold responsible for these unfinished feelings usually don’t suffer because of our feelings."

"When a child takes his first steps alone, stumbles, and falls, we would never say he failed. Failing is a part of the learning process. Reframing the meaning of our own shortcomings and failures can be an important step in our personal growth."

"The very act of sharing a story with another human being contradicts the extreme isolation that characterizes so many of our lives. As such, storytelling carries within it the seeds of community."