Stories bring things to life. My favorite purchases, my favorite pictures, my favorite memories - all are intertwined with a story.
I went to NY Comic Con yesterday with a friend/co-worker. I purchased quite a few things including: an original sketch by Ben Templesmith (sketch is of Medusa from Wormwood and, I believe, was a random sketch not used for anything in particular), also some signed comics from Mr. Templesmith (he drew a heart on each cover - kind of neat to see a little personalization with the signature), a limited edition signed print from Greg Horn (it's the '09 NY Comic Con Lithograph of Phoenix, limited to 100 pcs), and a limited edition set of Dawn prints by Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn and the seven deadly sins, celebrating 20 years of Dawn, limited to 2000 sets, Linsner signed each of the eights prints for me).
I love the art that I bought, truly, but I was also purchasing stories. This is art that, in an ideal world, will eventually be framed and hanging on my walls. And each of these pieces will have a little story to go with it about how I met the artist. Oh the stories aren't very moving or even interesting, but I met them. I saw them sign them. I was there. And these are the evidence, the centerpieces.
It's a concept Hugh MacLeod is fond of espousing - marketing as story-telling. If you make your product the centerpiece of an experience, something upon which the purchaser can build a story and relation, then you have achieved good marketing and you should prosper. Sell the story and the rest will follow.
Or something like that. (I am hardly a marketing guru like Hugh or Seth Godin. I just admire them from afar.) But I know of the concept, I recognize it as valid, and I believe in its power. I know it to be true. And so it is for these purchases.
Twenty or thirty years from now, when I am far removed from this place and time, there is an excellent chance that I will have that original Templesmith sketch on the wall and I will look at it with fondness. Someone standing next to me may turn and ask what it is. And I, in turn, will briefly relate how I met the artist at a comic convention in NYC oh so many moons ago and how pleasant he seemed to be. He's from Australia and he draws incredibly weird things. Tentacles and worms and mad hatters and vampires and, as the picture shows, a stripper named Medusa who guards a rift/portal/thing using tattoo snakes that she controls. Templesmith.