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I came across author and illustrator Ella Frances Sanders in 2015 after she published her first book, “Lost in Translation.”

She has a gift for marrying words and visuals, like the one above. To probe the “how,” she agreed to an interview which covered topics ranging from Bill Murray and the Yiddish word “meshugah”

 

Lou:
From a marketing standpoint, did your publisher worry about the book title competing with the Bill Murray movie “Lost in Translation?”

Ella:
Ha! I don’t think so. There were a couple of books with the same title too, but I think mine was different enough that it wasn’t going to be an issue. Is it terrible that I haven’t actually seen that film?

 

Lou:
Bill Murray has some amusing scenes. It’s worth a rental. OK, one question that’s been on my mind since first reading the book. Did the Yiddish word “meshugah” rate consideration for the book? To define this word as “crazy” doesn’t quite capture the meaning; there’s really an undertone of affection. My grandmother from my mom’s side was big on that word at family events.

Ella:
If I remember correctly “meshugah” was in my provisional list of 200+ words, and I can’t think exactly why it didn’t filter through to the final 52, but as there are enough of these words to fill several volumes, perhaps its day is yet to come.

 

… to information overload

 

Lou:
Any thoughts on storytelling in today’s world where people are pummeled with so much information 24/7?

Ella:
Oh, many. We are fed on a steady (frantic) diet of images, news, more images, advertising. In general people aren’t very good at slowing down — reading more slowly, living more gently. I think storytelling is a brilliant way of reminding us we are human, because stories are all that we are. Where we have come from, and hopefully how we will stay together.

 

 

Since that first interview, Ella has published two more books “The Illustrated Book of Sayings” and “Eating the Sun.”

Her form of storytelling, taking what can seem mundane or trivial (or both) and recasting into something that pokes your sensibilities, shares common ground with the Agency.

I’m not suggesting we’re poking the sensibilities of our clients.

But we do devote a considerable amount of time to the discovery process where uncovering even story shards helps us lift the narrative in telling our clients’ stories.

The story is always there.

With that as the backdrop, we contacted Ella, and she agreed to create original artwork around our initiative.

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The artwork serves as a reminder to the staff in our Silicon Valley office that the story is always there.

Just look for the quirky stuff.

And if you come across a bird that’s not chirping or a person gazing at the sky, find out why.

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