My latest interview was with Sam Eldredge, co-author of the bestselling book, "Killing Lions"; a book that was co-written with Sam's father, founder of Ransomed Heart and bestselling author himself, John Eldredge.

Taken literally, "Killing Lions" might appear to be a tactical guide on how to hunt the king of the jungle, but the meat and bones of "Killing Lions" deals with a very different issue: how do boys become men? And even more importantly, how do they transition into manhood well? "Killing Lions" explores a series of conversations between Sam and his father, John, and what the rites of passages look like for young men. Having gone through the book a few years back, I was elated to speak with Sam about the origins of this book and what it was like for him to co-publish something with his own father - who just so happens to be a published writer in his own right. 

Sam is one of the minds behind And Sons magazine and is currently working on a few other writing projects (a couple of which I tried to get out of him, but you'll just have to listen to see if I succeeded). 

Either way, I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. For more on Sam, you can go to andsonsmagazine.com 

 

One of my favorite films of all time. Arguably one of Disney's greatest works of the past 30 years, The Lion King is the coming-of-age tale of Simba, a lion cub destined to be King of Pride Rock, who is framed for murdering his own father, Mufasa. Whose evil uncle, Scar, takes over in Simba's absence, runs the Pride Lands into famine and death, but is confronted by an aged and courageous Simba, who has spent years running away from his problems. 

It's a great story, further accentuated by its iconic music and iconic voices (James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, and Nathan Lane, to name a few). And though its popularity is undeniable, does The Lion King truly offer up a redemptive narrative? Simba regains what was rightfully his - the throne of Pride Rock - but is that all there is to a good redemption story? This is my analysis episode for Disney's The Lion King

The animated one. Not the live-action-which-wasn't-live-action version of 2019. Enjoy. 

In the first episode of a new series, I take a look at themes supporting popular books, shows and films. 

First up is the Netflix original, "Dark"; a show that puts a twist on time travel. Or rather, puts its audiences minds in a twist with its complex characters and increasingly complex plot developments. Great writing aside, it made me wonder something, which became the catalyst for this episode: What would we do if time travel was possible? 

 

After a couple weeks' break, we're back to finish this small series on Exploring, Exposing, and now, Exalting Ideas. What does it look like when an idea is glorified? And how might we be more cognizant of the ideas we are ingesting?

This one got a little ranty, but that comes with the territory. 

Ever have a conversation where you couldn't convince the other party of something? You have all the facts. You have all the information. But for whatever the reason, the other person just won't see things from your perspective. 

Never? Yeah, me neither (insert sarcasm).  

Changing someone's mind is hard. We aren't really as open as we'd like to think (cruel irony there, is it not?). New ideas can rock our worldview. And it can make for some rather uncomfortable situations if we're discussing them openly with another who thinks differently than us. 

From a writer's perspective, storytelling - effective storytelling - is a powerful means by which to change the course of someone's mindset. A great story can make someone aware of something he never knew or even cause him to consider making a 180 on his own thinking.

This episode of the #NarrativeWars is a deep dive so be sure to stick with me till the end. 

In my last episode, I talked about exploring ideas in story. In this one, we'll talk about how stories can bring to light something that might be wrong. Whether it be from a personal, subjective experience, or from a seemingly large scale issue. 

And I also give some insight into what I used to binge on when I was a poor college student. 

What is a life worth? More importantly, what is a human life worth? 

This episode attempts to explore the many narratives which surround this very energized topic. A bit on the ranty side, I'll admit, but my hope is that you will hang with me throughout. Especially if you're someone who enjoys a good rant. If not, just do your best. That's all anyone can ever ask. 

Ah, Stranger Things. The biggest franchise on Netflix and one of the most highly anticipated binge-worthy shows of 2019. So how does Stranger Things do in its third go-round? Is it the best ever? Or is it the worst of the bunch? 

This episode is all about the good, the bad, and the ugly of season three. Full disclosure: SPOILERS are ahead. You have been warned. 

A writer may have a new idea and think it the best thing he's ever conceived. Yet if he is unable to make it believable, he's sunk. His audience will leave him before he even gets going. 

In the first of a three-parter, I talk about some of the ingredients for exploring new territory. For example, the importance of developing tension between good and evil and why we must acknowledge that humans are corruptible, foul creatures. 

Or something like that. 

We get bombarded with commercials and ads daily. Buy this thing. Check that item out. If the tactics were that simple, no company would go to the effort of creating mascots or telling unique stories to gain the attention of their potential customer base. 

But we know that's part of what gains customer loyalty - a good story; a testimonial; some good word-of-mouth from recent buyers. Companies have to be able to tell a good story on top of making something useful. 

So if a company tells us something that speaks into what they believe - how do we respond to that? We may enjoy what they make, but do we also endorse what they believe in too? 

What do you think about that? 

 

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