I’m Maseh Hadaf, and this is DeepTox. Thank you for being here with me.

I want to share what I have learned about storytelling. To be conscious of getting story-told and also, how to conscientiously storytell.

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” -Voltaire

Sleeping in Kyiv

The mighty river tore apart the heart of the city,

Dividin, realizin a terrain-ical prophecy,

Bleeding out into streams of the non-conscious,

West and east, both here to feast,

Breadbasket seems to feed,

all except those who plant its seed,


the outsiders on full stomachs soundly sleep,

but the child in me peeks,

With eyes that creak at the crack of dawn,


babucias already on the corner streets,

Hustlin books, flowers, leggings, home-grown beets,

While they grandsons adorned in military green,

Soldiers, shoulder to shoulder pullin triggers by order

of older men shufflin green behin’ the scenes,

I blink hard,

But not hard enough to miss seein,

That what’s lost isn’t found,

And what’s found is lost inbetween,

Etched in the metro-tunnel background,

Wretched beings hunched in they seats,


but still above da-feat,

low-lifes imitatin high (he)art against the concrete,

That roars with the sounds

of trains East-bound,

Where Doctors make 50 a month in the hot seat,

But still stick around,

To tactically re-treat

doesn’t mean throwin down your gown,

It simply means rinse and repeat,

I close my eyes but I hear a sound,

Two Uzbeki brothers selling mulberry toot, pistachios and dried fruits,

Younger brother smiling, “Hey,

we look the same, our ancestors shared roots”,

Older brother stone-faced, “Where you from?” “Canada” he looked away,

At once, the mirror is identical and opposite, and neither of us could face what we already knew,

Like maybe we could substitute,

Maybe you could be free too,

Three, four, maybe then I can even the score,

Like young hoopers layin-up on blue and gold backboards

Or shoot for the moon with some home-grown hops,

Freethrows facing Stalinksa backdrops,

My eyelids drop, and I’m almost asleep,

But I feel the plop plop of raindrops,

Running down my cheeks

Through my lips, and on to_my tongue, not sweet but salty drip-drops,

Into my eyes it leaks,

These are the tears of beautiful women left to weep,

By their lovers from overseas,

Those who take and take off,

The adventurer who starves the more he eats,

And at the river he kneels to take a drink,

In a deep whisper, he overhears,

I’ll be here when he leaves.

The Elements of Story-Telling

  • Show, don’t tell
  • Appeal to the senses, start at the first-order, not second-order or higher order (not telling you how it feels, letting you feel it; active voice not passive)
  • Make the focus on people not on things, tie them to the pulse of the world. Not about theories, concepts, can you deliver an organic real story that draws on concepts you know without using your characters as a means to an end?
  • Link elements of their stories to the story you are telling them, align them
  • Imagining the listener’s body (instinctual reactions), heart (feelings and emotions), and mind (thinking and intellect), to connect their soul with mine
  • Exaggerate and blur, trim the fat, stories don’t have to be chronological (I did a lot of other boring stuff, the order of events fit my message not the actual chronological order it happened)
  • Every word is intentional, the delivery might stick more than the content (intonation, pauses, emphasis, volume, tone, word-choice, tempo, the medium you choose to tell a story)
  • Give your protagonist a goal

Visualizing Inner Storytelling

There’s a deeper element to story-telling that I don’t usually come across, not explicitly at least. Inner storytelling. Visualization, trying something new here, let me know if it worked for you on contact us page on, facebook page, pigeon, whatever works.

Mindful of breathing, and close your eyes if you can.

  • What story do you tell about yourself, to yourself?
  • When you are alone, listening to music, looking at yourself in the mirror. Or a rainy day, when you’re looking out the window of the bus or the car, and you’re obviously the lead in the movie (or for some of us maybe not), how do you narrate your own story?
  • What other stories have you attached on to? Is it a religion, a sexuality, a nationality, a cause, a purpose, a career, a sport? Why have you attached yourself to this story?
  • What parts of your story exist that you know are there, but don’t openly admit even in your own mind, impulses you have, things you think about, fantasies you have, those dark suppressed corners we wouldn’t want anybody to know.
  • From being more conscious every day about how I frame my story, about who I am, I find that I can’t help but change my story. Change who I want to be come, I can let go of old ways of thinking that have been imposed on me. There are other parts of me that are complex, that feel as if they are broken, that I can sense will take maybe my whole life to transform meaningfully. But just by being conscious that I am telling a story to myself, that it is imagined, reminds me that I have a really scary, like really scary freedom to choose, allows me to tap into some unbounded energy to change my story however I want.

“Listen! Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell, for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend. When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.”