A Rebrand For Brains and Heart

And a story you've never heard

Read time: 4 minutes

Welcome to Quarter Turn!

I’m excited to share that You’re So Venn has rebranded. I’d felt tension for some time about the tone and approach—it wasn’t warm enough.

It wasn’t putting enough into the world.

It was . . . well, boring.

I feel you, Kevin.

After a lot of reflection, a trip to NYC, and (speaking of yawning) an extra unplanned 25 hours stranded in the airport, I cracked the code: Quarter Turn.

I’ll still be seeing you on Wednesdays, but with more brains and heart. And I’d love to hear what you think—survey at the end!

  • An about page here for the new look and style

  • “Small Kindnesses,” a perfect poem

  • Book Stop: a killer paragraph from a book about dinosaur bones

  • A story that you’ve never heard, about rescue and Yellowstone—and the reason it stinks (and the one thing that would make it great)

Traditional school does poetry dirty.

Literature and reading in general, but poetry in particular. Kids should get to read more poems like this one, with everyday words saying something they can feel. Something with heart.

“Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.”

Amazing.

I keep reading this paragraph. Who wouldn’t?

This marvel kicks off Chapter 5 in The Monster’s Bones: The Discovery of T. Rex and How It Shook Our World, and it uses our senses to great effect: we get heat and smoke, the noise of breaking glass and screeching monkeys . . . and we get a huge dose of curiosity.

Who wouldn’t want to know more, reading this? If you write or enjoy stories, this is gold:

The mermaid burned first.

A wooden club said to have been used to kill the explorer Captain James Cook in Hawaii fell next in the path of the flames, followed by a case containing live boa constrictors that had dined on fresh rabbits before an audience of schoolchildren earlier that morning. As the fire spread to the upper floors, someone—perhaps a firefighter, perhaps a visitor who panicked and didn’t know what else to do—smashed one of the glass sides of an immense water tank with an axe, sending thousands of gallons of seawater cascading down the stairwells and leaving two whales beached on the second floor of a building in Lower Manhattan. Wax figures of Napoleon and Cleopatra, letters signed by George Washington, screeching monkeys of all sizes—seemingly everything that could be conjured by the human imagination soon came tumbling out of the windows and landing in a crowd that had begun to gather on Ann Street.

David K. Randall, The Monster’s Bones

A Story You’ve Never Heard—and What It’s Missing

In September 1870, one man went missing on the 2 million acres of wilderness that was not yet Yellowstone National Park.

He was found in October, 37 days later and 50 miles from where he disappeared, a starved-out husk of himself who no longer looked human. His rescuers couldn’t believe it.

  • Truman Everts was a 54-year-old unemployed tax man who joined an adventure he had no business being on

  • He had no survival skills

  • His vision was so poor he couldn’t see the ground from horseback.

He lost all his supplies the second day he was missing. He burned himself at least four times with fire, and once with steam. When he was rescued and recovered, he refused to pay his rescuers the $600 reward his friends had advertised.

(equivalent to $20,000 today, but still)

And heck if it’s not an unsatisfying story.

One thing would have made it better.

All great stories include change

Truman’s story stinks because it fails the change test.

He went through something awful . . . but he didn’t learn, or evolve. He wrote an account called “37 Days of Peril,” and after that he didn’t talk about it. He was ungrateful, his rescuers were unpaid, and he didn’t seem to learn about himself or life from the whole ordeal.

But change is what makes a good story great.

Here are 3 things a changed Truman could have learned:

1. Passion can leave you stranded

Don’t follow it blindly (no offense to Truman’s eyesight or anyone else’s).

In 1870 there were reports of amazing things to be seen in Yellowstone. Truman was out of work and had the time, and he had a passion to see those marvels for himself. But pure passion got him in trouble.

Don’t travel on passion alone. Balance it with preparation, with planning, with knowledge.

2. Don’t leave it all on the horse

This is why, when I check a bag during air travel, I keep toiletries in my carry-on. You just never know.

Whether it’s literal or figurative, never have everything you need in one place that can go galloping off if it gets spooked.

3. Make it mean something

We might not be burned or frostbitten, and we’ll experience various levels of luck (or unluck) in life, but all of us will get lost sometimes.

It’s important to make it mean something.

If we wander 50 miles through the wilderness, shouldn’t we actually get somewhere?

[read the full story on Medium]

  • Come across a story or idea you’d love to see included? Let me know!

  • Who do you love to follow on social media that you’d share with others?

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