My father used to tell stories.  He would gather us around, myself and my two older brothers, and at bedtime we would collect on his bed, and he’d weave some fanciful ribbon about three boys on a grand adventure in a jungle, with monkeys and tigers and snakes.  We would sit for what seemed like ages, just listening.  No television show or comic book had anywhere near as much excitement and plain fun as his wonderful tales.

I’ve been following in his footsteps, telling stories to my three wonderful children.  We gather, usually at bedtime, and I’ll weave some tale about princes and castles and riddles.  There’s usually some poor person who plays a role, most often ending up better off. 

The stories are informed by the books I’ve read, including hundreds of short stories, as well as my father’s wonderful tales.  I carry the influences of generations of great story tellers before me, though I am a poor shadow by comparison.  I join in a great tradition of sharing great themes and tiny choices and bits of detail to enrich, enjoy and enhance. 

One thing that my mother had always voiced: a regret that my father had never written down his stories.  He did, later in life, write his stories… literally over 2,000 of them in a collected set of unpublished volumes, but they weren’t the same. 

They weren’t the rich and wonderful stories that a child hears when laying on the edge of his parents bed, tugged by dreams, listening to the musical tones of a great teller of tiny epics as he weaves among the trees, brushing alternatively up against the oak of adventure, the spruce of sadness, the maple of cleverness, and redwood of achievement. 

And so, as I tell stories to my children, I vow to make an honest effort to write them down.  They will not be original.  They never are.  They will be blends of bits of stories I’ve heard and ideas I want to express, and the mood of the night. 

To my dear father, I give you this.  As you look down from heaven, know that I carry, in my heart, a story that you started. I will finish it for you.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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