Lauren Nef We need Storytellers

Are you ready? Seated comfortably? Got a snack?

Okay then. Let me tell you my story.

I was born and raised in the technology capital of the world -- Silicon Valley, California. I live 15 minutes away from many major technology headquarters (Apple, eBay, LinkedIn, Netflix, Adobe - I could go on forever). Access to technology and media was simply a way of life, granting me an innate thirst for information.
In high school, I followed my older sister’s example and joined the school newspaper (mainly because of the rad journalism instructor who blasted indie music all the time, if I am being honest). I had never planned to be a journalist, but one day, I was assigned the front page story about a random freshman kid.

And it changed everything.

As I finished my interview with the skinny, friendly blonde boy about his recent ankle surgery, that rad teacher strolled past and said nonchalantly, “Did you ask him about his drug problem?” Needless to say, the interview did not end there. We dove into his past of drug abuse, which began at infancy continued to his present prescription drug dependence. I was enthralled by his strength throughout this horrifying ordeal. I went home and drowned myself in the story, toiling and fine-tuning for hours. This was the most interesting thing, let alone article, I had ever written.

Alas, given the subject matter, the school didn’t let me publish the story (I am still slightly miffed about that), but it didn’t matter. I had discovered my passion.

I want to tell stories.

The ones that normally don’t get told. The ones hiding in the shadows. The ones that inspire. That incite change. That make the world better by simply reading them. Whether through digital, print, or social media, that is what I want to do.

Off I went. After serving as editor for my high school newspaper, I went to BYU Idaho and worked for one semester in the news section on the university paper, The Scroll.
Then I left on my mission to the South of France, which immensely increased my love for telling stories - both those involving teaching the gospel truth to my investigators as well as writing down their stories.

After my mission, I transferred to BYU Provo and found that my passion for telling stories was still burning. But I came home to a broken world, where truth is no longer considered truth, where hate controls, and where violence abounds.

The one thing that assuaged the torrents of anger and malice was stories. Seeing the world from another’s perspective through reading cultivated understanding and compassion in my soul.

Empathy - that is the answer.

Empathy comes from viewing the world through the eyes of another, from a perspective that is not one’s own. Writing allows us to do that. We can see a world, an entire lifetime in fast motion without even leaving our seat. A click of a button, turn of a page can change everything.

Our world needs empathy. It needs storytellers. Truth seekers. Life changers.

And I want to do it.

Created By
Lauren Nef
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Created with images by Eric Fischer - "Freeways, Northwesterly Section, Santa Clara County, California (1952)" • NS Newsflash - "Newspapers B&W (4)" • kev-shine - "pills"

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