One of the first practices we encourage is first-person story-telling. Take any story you know well – whether it be your favorite movie, your favorite childhood fairy tale, a song you love, or a story that happened to someone close to you – and tell it with yourself as the star of the story.

I like to choose the movie Boogie Nights and tell the entire story from the perspective of Julianne Moore’s character Amber Waves. Introduced as Burt Reynold’s partner, Amber goes through so much in the course of this film. She has a promising porn career while struggling to get custody of her kid. She helps a new actor rise to prominence in the field only to find her own success eclipsed as he finds mainstream success. She loses her children indefinitely, is shamed for her career and choices during a custody hearing, and descends into drug addiction while also trying to mother her fellow actress Rollergirl.

Her entire life is comprised of experiences and associated emotions to which I cannot relate at all. For this reason, I feel more empathetic and well-rounded when I tell her story as my own story. I assign the emotions I assume would fit to scenarios I cannot imagine. I feel different types of relationship and their strains.

Once a week I meet with another member of The HCC and we tell one another stories. I’ve been meeting with the same member for over a year now and I don’t know a single thing about her as an actual person. Once she told me her story as a muse for a fashion designer in haute couture London of the 1950’s. Another time she was Hannah Horvath – a voice of a generation.

To us, it is important to see the world through different vantage points.

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