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How to be a Storyteller: Essays and Advice on the Art of Storytelling

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Life: A Bouncing Ball
By: Jim Woodard

Life is like an acid ball.

Many people in today’s world feel overwhelmed with the complexities and stresses that seem to invade their lives. Some feel they’ve reached that insurmountable wall, and give up on life. Others manage to look beyond immediate problems and see ways to turn negatives into positives.

A good analogy is a huge acid ball, designed and constructed by the Boise Cascade paper mill in Salem, Oregon. It’s a 10-ton tank, with a diameter of 26 feet. Its purpose was to hold acids used in cooking wood chips into pulp.

But in time, the company abandoned the cumbersome tank. It was stored away for years. Finally the ugly and deteriorating ball was scheduled for demolition. Then something very interesting happened.

When a group of citizens learned of its planned destruction, they rallied to its defense. The group, headed by former Salem mayor Roger Gertenrich, came up with a highly creative idea to recycle and convert the eyesore acid ball into an artistically embellished globe where school kids could see and marvel at the great world in which they live. It’s now standing tall and proud in Salem’s Riverfront Park -- a world of cartographic icons, 200 of them, strategically positioned to help onlookers learn more about their world.

In many cases, kids see for the first time the positioning of the world’s nations, islands and oceans, and their relationship to each other, as they gaze at this fantastic creation. It now has the classy name of Eco-Earth.

It all happened when a group of visionary citizens saw a great artistic and educational opportunity in an ugly acid ball set for demolition.

Like that ugly old once-doomed acid ball, people can rise from their despair and frustration and reshape their lives into one of beauty and productivity, making a positive contribution to fellow travelers down the road of life.

Author Information:
Name: Jim Woodard
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