HeroicStories needs your help, and a word about “but…”

September 10, 2014

It’s time for the every-so-often publishers notes and featured comments from the last couple of weeks of HeroicStories.

But first:

I need your help

After getting off to a rousing start, the number of people subscribed to the HeroicStories mailing list has started to decline.

Some attrition is expected of any email publication: people close email accounts, email starts to bounce, some might decide that they get too much email and others decide that what they’ve subscribed to just isn’t their cup of tea. The current decline is very slow, and I expect quite normal.

What’s missing are new subscribers. Every email publication needs a constant source of new subscribers to make up for, at a minimum, normal attrition. Ideally there’d be a lot more than that, but as I said – in order to say healthy the number of new subscribers at least needs to meet the number that are falling off.

That’s where you come in.

As I’ve said before, the best way to help HeroicStories is to share the stories with your friends, coworkers and families. Be it through email, social media or something else, share the stories and encourage them to subscribe.

It’s what HeroicStories needs to thrive and stay alive.

On to some of the comments on the stories of the last few weeks….

110 Degrees and No Shade

John shared: “People often mis-understand motorcyclists. Their impressions are usually based on what they see in the movies. Most motorcyclists are really very friendly and willing to help, if people would only give them the chance.” – Indeed. Just this weekend I was a volunteer at a charity event where a local Harley club was also a major presence helping to facilitate the event.

Mat says: “Years ago I was on my way to bow hunt and passed a young lady standing next to her car with a flat tire on a highway south of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I turned around and got her tire changed, no big deal I thought but I noticed that she was clutching a little collapsible umbrella the whole time. I didn’t put it together until the next day: Me, tall and white, dressed in camouflage head to toe, driving a pickup truck in redneck America. Her, smaller, black, stuck on the side of the road with traffic whizzing past completely ignoring us. We talked a bit while I was working. She might have been a year or two older than my daughter. I hope I poked a hole or two in whatever preconception she may have had.” – I think one of the best ways we can change perceptions is simply by being good examples – sounds like you’ve got it down, Mat. 🙂

Jo comments: “Bless you, Justin, wherever you are! You did a wonderful act of kindness by helping this lady and her baby, when the tire blew. I hope you’re having a great life!”

Love Never Fails

Butch says: “Wow this one made me seep quite a bit of water from around the eye region. Is it OK to post on my Face Book page.” – Absolutely! You’re always welcome and encouraged to post links to HeroicStories on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or whatever helps get the word out! You’ll find that there are sharing links underneath every story on the web site. (What’s not OK is to copy/paste or republish an entire story without asking.)

Joy commented: “So glad you are back with these heart warming stories, and this is no exception. […] parents must have thought they were doing right for him, yet stories like this tell us that is not the case. Nobody can really know what is right for us but ourselves. Thanks” – It’s easy to look in hindsight with today’s values and question decisions made in the past, but I agree with you completely – I’m certain that the parents were doing what they thought was best. (The comment mentioned Frank’s parents, but it was in fact Bette’s that prevented the marriage.)

Audrea reminds us: “Thank you. When I read stories like this, I no longer sees the world as large and threatening. I cried, but they were tears of emotion, a mixture of joy, sadness and thankfulness.” – Wonderful to hear – this is exactly why HeroicStories exists.

Panic in the Deep End

Bill give us some important information: “People who are drowning often don’t call out, or often show any signs (to the untrained eye) of drowning. Mario Vittone, a retired Coast Guard rescue swimmer and expert in the field of water safety, has a great article, ‘Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning,’ that should be read by anybody who goes near any body of water: http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/” – A very important read, thank you Bill for sharing it.

Kerry shares: “Something similar happened to me in the 1970s when I was about 7 years old. We were swimming in a man-made lake in Central Massachusetts. I was the one who could not swim well and my friend encouraged me to hold onto her shoulders as we waded out over our heads. I thought because she was older, bigger and a good swimmer that she knew what she was doing. She wasn’t strong enough to support both of us, and we went under. She panicked and used me as leverage to get her head above water. Thankfully, she was able to scream. Oddly enough, neither the lifeguard nor the other swimmers came to our aid, most likely because they thought we were just playing around. Our heroine was a stranger sitting next to my mother on the shore. My mom had frozen in fear but this woman just jumped up, dove in, and grabbed both my friend and I and pulled us out. After everyone had calmed down, my mother went to thank the woman but didn’t get her name. I wish I knew, because I would thank her again.”

Dinner For Two

Anna says: “What a wonderful story of friendship and giving! And it shows that being someone’s hero often doesn’t require extraordinary means or effort. You can be someone’s hero by recognizing and helping to fill a need.”

Shan says: “Just exactly what I needed tonight.” – I love hearing that.

And an update from the author, Betty! “Thank you for re-cycling my story. What a friend Dorothy was. She is now in a nursing home. But, she was the BESTEST. God Bless Her, and all who try to make our way a little smoother and easier. Again, thank you. I am truly humbled by her friendship.”

Going In Style

Jane comments: “From what I’ve read, Leo, you’ve put these stories on an automatic posting. How timely considering who just passed away, talk about going in style! I’m hoping for this courage as well. Yessssss, enJoy.” – Yes, the stories are pre-scheduled. This story posted the week of comedian Robin William’s passing, and I agree – seems particularly timely.

Colyn says: “There are many things out of our control, but how we react is all on us. What a great thing to share this with all of us.”

Rober shares: “I am fortunate to have known a man much like Ray; I met Him late in life. He lived a life most would envy. However; Most of his life was filled with work and high achievements, Much to busy to enjoy the fruits of his labor. The part of his life I knew was totally differant, all about giving joy and hope to others, and boy how he gave it, Prior to his death, which was totally unexspected. He gave the vast sum of his wealth to various hospitals, colleges and other charitable organizations, Totaling 10’s of millions of dollars.. While doing his best to keep it all a secret. His business, He gave it to his employees. who sold it soon after. But the Man had no regrets. He told them they made the business what it was and it was theirs to do with it as they desired. It seemed He received more joy giving most of it away, far more than earning it. Till the end, He; (like Ray) EnJoyed giving away a legacy much more than if He had received one.”

A Mission to Remember

Serendipity adds: “Beautiful story!!! Thank you :D” – You’re very, very welcome. 🙂

Publisher Comments: What about “but…”

We’ve been at this for just over a month now. It’s been fun and rewarding to see HeroicStories going out again (well, all except for that declining subscriber count, that is 🙂 ).

I’ve noticed a trend in the comments, and I’m not sure what to make of it.

Remember that HeroicStories is all about the assumption that people are basically good, and that the majority of their actions come from a good place. Telling stories relating those good actions not only reminds us, but also hopefully inspires us to take more notice of our own actions, and take the initiative to do more good ourselves. The stories and our actions then become examples and a small part of making the world a better place.

However I keep running across comments of the form:

“good words about the story, BUT, questioning some aspect of the story”

It’s almost as if people can’t let a story of goodness go without looking for something to criticise. It’s not uncommon for such a comment to make an assumption about some aspect of the story – an assumption that is, in my opinion, unwarranted if we really believe that people are basically acting out of goodness.

Am I off base? Visit these notes on the website and leave a comment letting me know if I’m seeing things that aren’t there. I’d love to be reassured.

While you’re there…

The “co-conspirator” thing

One of the things that, to me at least, is missing from this re-boot of HeroicStories is the tag line that the former publisher Joyce used to use: “Co-conspirator to make the world a better place”.

I know that that line resonated with a lot of people. Unfortunately I’m not one of them, mostly because of the word “conspirator”. I may be over-thinking it, but a conspiracy, almost by definition, operates in secret, and there’s nothing secret about what I want HeroicStories to accomplish. I want it to be out and loud and in full public view!

But I miss having a catchy tag line.

So, once again, visit this article on the web site and leave a comment with your ideas. I have no prize, other than my thanks, and perhaps the opportunity to … you know …

Make the world a better place.

’till next time,


Leo Notenboom

77 thoughts on “HeroicStories needs your help, and a word about “but…””

    • So, once again, visit this article on the web site and leave a comment with your ideas. I have no prize, other than my thanks, and perhaps the opportunity to … you know …

      Make the world a better place.

      AND SO IT IS!

    • My comment on Heroic Stories is this- there is a fundamental missing. The credit for all the heroic deeds done goes to MAN. But man without GOD is not capable of any good. And this is whether we acknowledge a God or not. So i believe the site should have captioned Heroic Stories as emanating from man’s cooperation with God.
      Thank you for a great job.

      • I don’t believe in God and would unsubscribe if this became some religious thing.

        This is about PEOPLE making the right choices. Can’t we just focus on the human for a change?


  1. I agree – conspirator also means “make secret plans jointly to commit an unlawful or harmful act.” How about using “collaborators” or “allies”, both of which indicate working together for good.

  2. As for the “But” people, be glad for them. This means you are reaching them. Just keep doing what you are doing and the changes that you intend these stories to create will come. Not all at once, but over time. It can be a long process, you just have to be persistent.

    • Actually, I blame the mainstream media for this trend – the so-called News Media has a hard time finding anything positive in any situation and therefore they tend to focus on the negative mindset.

      • I think (sadly) it has come to this:

        People have adopted a (protective) cynical attitude that says,

        “This is too good to be true. What’s the catch?” or
        “Nobody is that nice anymore, and I have to protect myself from being hurt (or scammed).” or
        “They’re just tooting their own horn.” or
        They will point to the myriad of instances in which people have feigned kindness and delivered cruelty.

        I don’t mean to sound apocryphal and certainly don’t want to project my religious beliefs, but it sure seems that Matthew 24:12 is applicable.
        “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

        The message of Jesus was simple – Love thy neighbor as thyself. (he had one other rule before that, but I’m witholding it)

        When we can genuinely love others as we love ourselves, AMAZING things happen!

        Sooo… I want to suggest to all of us (even those offering “constructive criticism”) to DO something about it.

        We’re here for a reason!

        We WANT good stories that uplift, and show us how there’s STILL love, hope, charity, kindness, etc. in the world.

        Let’s get off our back sides and DO OUR PART.

        Sometimes that means pointing the way for others to follow. (in word and in deed – and perhaps pointing them here.)

        And then SHARE good stories with others.

        This is NOT a spectator sport!

        A quote often attributed to Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

        These are wonderful stories! Our acts of kindness don’t need to be home runs. Or worthy of a big writeup. But they can be the small and simple ways we lift the burdens or hearts of one another.

        And I bet… JUUUUUST bet… that YOU will feel good in the process as well.

        And then… (whispering) ask them (the recipients) to pass it along.

        Oh, and be sure to SINCERELY say “THANK YOU” to those who help us! (write that card, give a hug, smile(!), express gratitude in more than a fleeting moment.)

        THAT will inspire others to do MORE for one another.

        Well, what are YOU going to do? Today?

  3. I think maybe many people are afraid of being duped. It’s a time when so many hard-luck stories are found to be fiction, and people in the news so often will say anything to help themselves, so readers are more skeptical. I prefer to be more positive about these stories.

  4. While I understand the sensitivity to the word “conspirator” because of the negative connotations, sometimes the service to others IS done in secret, because we don’t want credit for ourselves – we just want to serve.

    Not all of us can wear capes and masks, and drop down from the ceiling to save a “damsel in distress”. (But it sure would be cool to pull that off! Heh.)

    I *DO* want to say, THANK YOU for bringing HeroicStories back! I’ve subscribed since the very beginning when Randy started it, and have submitted a story myself. I *LOVE* reading about how others serve one another. I don’t watch the news (but read a lot of it), and am so thrilled to see something uplifting!

    As for subscriber levels, there are a couple of things I think to consider:
    – The world online is a LOT more crowded, and people are more easily distracted (and seem to cram more into their same 24 hours)
    – The email that is sent out contains only text (unless my email provider strips out the pictures). It might help to add a picture that shows a similar theme to the story being shown. Yes, it’s a little more work, but pictures help too. (Might need to conscript a few helpers there.)
    – More emphasis can be made on new submissions. People seeing older dates may be turned off. Sooo… time to invite people to submit good stories! You may need to coach them (as Randy has in the past) to tighten the story, improve grammar, etc. Be encouraging! Lift them! Not everyone’s a writer, but (sorry, there’s that word) they want to share a heartwarming story.
    – Add short comments at the bottom of each submission, but lead them with a very short synopsis of what story the comments are relating to. Using just the title (albeit a link to the story) is a little difficult for someone to remember if the comments don’t have enough context to jog the memory.
    – Put a tagline on the bottom of each issue sent, not just with the name “HeroicStories”, but “HeroicStories – Restoring Faith in Humanity… One Story at a Time” . It seems small, but it’s a little reminder that is useful when passing the story, and it’s sticks in their mind just a little better.

    Again, thank you for picking up this wonderful concept and sharing it again!

    • Thanks for your comments. Yep, the internet is a different place than it was 10 years ago. 🙂

      I did want to pull out one comment: there is an image included in every story email (not my commentary, but the stories). We actually worked at this a bit to make it something that people might be willing to share on Pinterest. So I’m not sure why you’re not seeing it in your inbox. You’ll certainly see it on the stories as they’re published on the web site.

  5. Leo, I have far more to say than this little box allows. I am commenting because I think your fundamental premise, “…HeroicStories is all about the assumption that people are basically good…” is flawed and plays a big role in what you are experiencing. I ask one thing; that you take five minutes and watch the following video: http://www.prageruniversity.com/Political-Science/Are-People-Born-Good.html

    I can only speak for myself, but in my relatively great life, I see far more bad behavior than good, in all arenas. Expand that to the middle east and many other regions of the world, evil is rampant. What I read in HeroicStories seem like isoloated, rare instances. One pleasant, encouraging incident that happens to someone else, somewhere else, but rarely experienced in daily life.

    I’m very sad to say, but I honestly don’t think HeroicStories, as-is, will ever get a large following. I don’t know anybody that interested. Heck, even *I* am not that interested and I don’t even know why. Something I’m going to think about.

    I do respect what you’re trying to do. I would be willing to devote some of my time to help in your effort if you wish. There must be a way to bring a ray of light into people’s lives.

    Hope this helps in some way.

    • Needless to say I disagree – strongly – with the premise of the video.

      The problem is that bad things are newsworthy precisely because they are not the norm. The norm – people being basically good to one another on a daily basis – is boring. Boring doesn’t generate clicks, it doesn’t sell advertising, it doesn’t make people tune in. Boring doesn’t make news because it’s common. People being good is common.

      HeroicStories exists exactly for that reason: to remind us that people are, indeed, fundamentally good. To remind us by example that what we see in the news is, by its very definition, exceptional and unusual – otherwise it wouldn’t be news.

      We see what we look for, and we look for what we expect. It’s human nature. If you expect the world around you to be evil, you will see evil all around you. On the other hand, if you can open your eyes to the other stuff – the boring stuff – the stuff that doesn’t immediately reach out and grab your attention – you will see that there are way more good things happening around you, and in the world in general, than you might ever imagine.

      I wish you well.

      • Keep going Leo and don’t concern yourself overly with what appear to be negative comments. At this fraught time in our collective history, it is well to speculate that if, for example, the Buddha reappeared suddenly with a message of hope and encouragement, some one is bound to say: “What would you know fatso?” Such persons are best ignored.
        Cheers and best wishes.

      • Very well put sir! In the past (and sometimes when I don’t keep a close enough eye on myself still, old habits can be hard to break) when I have expected the world to be a cruel and ugly place that is exactly what I found. Now I look for the good and see it everywhere. Whether our world is good or evil depends primarily on what we look for.

      • Thanks, Leo. I appreciate your reply…very much. I have an open mind and am willing to change my opinion. I will make it a point, every day, to do as you suggested and open my eyes to the other stuff. Honestly, I’m quite looking forward to the exercise. For what it’s worth, I appreciate your efforts and people like you.

    • Hello Reid,

      As Leo already commented: we get our ‘people are bad’ news from media that have one goal: attracting eyeballs and with that (add) revenue. One addition to Leo’s comment that puts ‘why are we attracted to the dark side’ into an evolutionary perspective. Our brains _are_ hard wired to look for the bad and the danger; it’s what made us notice and escape the tiger in the woods and the snake in our caves. But there were (and are) far more beautiful, albeit harmless, flowers and butterflies in the woods than tigers. So when the brain sees a mob or a man pointing a gun on the screen, it will snap into action in spite of thousands of years of civilisation. The same number of adrenaline is not produced when looking at a gentle act of kindness, but that doesn’t mean these acts are outnumbered by the bad stuff.

      Perhaps this adds some perspective to your observation.

      Kind regards,
      Eerk Hofmeester
      The Netherlands

      • Thank you, Eerk. This little exercise has given me much to think about. You sound like an intelligent person, and I very much respect Leo, therefore I won’t ignore the advice. I will readjust my thinking and sight and look forward, hopefully, to a different outlook.

  6. Hi Leo,
    Thanks for getting H.S going again!

    In honor of Joyce, who was my best friend, I would like you to keep the “Co-conspirator to make the world a better place” as a tribute to Joyce and maybe put her name after it to show where it came from.

    We can over think anything, and Joyce was one of the great thinkers… who thought this tag line was just fine. Just my two cents worth, and I hope you’ll consider what it meant to Joyce.

    Chris in Montana

    • I, too, knew Joyce, albeit only by email, and we carried on lovely conversations about life and kindness and reaching out to the most vulnerable. I understand people’s discomfort with the word “Co-Conspirator” in these fraught times. But I also appreciate Chris’ perspective, too. I’ve been a Heroic Stories subscriber from the very beginning and contributed three stories myself. Joyce’s gentle editing made my writing better and conveyed the point of my little stories beautifully.

      Thanks, Leo, for resurrecting HS – it’s wonderful to see it plop into my in box regularly. I would also echo someone’s comment here that incorporating a comment or two about the previous story in the current story would be appreciated. It added some continuity, story to story, that made HS feel more like an ongoing conversation rather than individual vignettes.

  7. I am also getting bored re-reading the old stories, all of which strangely I remember well. I am both an optimist and a skeptic. I find it hard to believe these stories are true rather than wishful thinking, but I am hoping they are (true).
    Whatever, they have often inspired me to emulate what is described but have been met with negative responses. The one that stick s out in my memory is when a woman in front of me did not have enough cash for some small purchases and the store did not accept her type of credit card, so I paid it. She would not leave until I gave her my name and address which I did. I then received an outraged call from her daughter screaming at me for doing this! Never found out what angered her so much and did receive repayment. This is what makes me a skeptic I guess, but I will go on reading and doing because it feels so right to do so.
    Thanks for picking up the baton. I am looking forward to new stories.

  8. Tag Lines – I agree… the word “conspirator” does seem to indicate a general negative feel overall. I understand what the intent was, but I agree that we can do better!

    Some suggestions:
    (All in Cap First Letter of every word format for consistency – changes can be made at your discretion)

    Telling it Forward
    Sharing to Inspire
    Sharing to Inspire Others
    Giving Because We Can
    Giving ‘cuz We Can
    Giving Because We Care
    Giving ‘cuz We Care
    Inspiring Others One Story At A Time
    People Can Be Nice (underline “Can”)
    You Can Do This Too!
    Let’s Do This!
    We Can Do This!
    Why Not Us? (shout out to Russell Wilson! 🙂 )

    Hope these help! 🙂

  9. How about ” Championing the unsung Heroes” fits in with Heroic Stories, champion- in the older sense of doing something for somebody who can’t do it for themselves and unsung implies wanting no recognition.


  10. I wholeheartedly agree with Justin’s sage comments from earlier today! Please re-read his remarks and suggestions, then allow them to soak in. Thank-you, Leo, for bringing back these stories of hope and goodwill to perhaps encourage all of us readers to put our best foot forward. There are a lot of good, nice people in this world and if we choose being kind over being right, we’ll be right every time. To those who see more negative happenings than positive, I say you need to look at the glass half full instead of half empty. if we look for something beautiful and good in each new day, we will find it.

  11. The current setup of our civilization punishes those who don’t look out for their own and ONLY their own. Look at Wall Street, for-profit prisons and schools, and the people we have running our government. The mantra is “Get what you can, ALL that you can, and then get out, no matter what you leave behind.” As a whole, we don’t believe that people are fundamentally good. These stories always come as a surprise to most people, and they question the basic motivations or facts about the stories or the writers themselves. Look at the comments you receive as proof.

    To make a change, we NEED a conspiracy. We need a group of people who are willing to buck the system. We need people who are willing to make a difference in the world around them without looking for a reward. When I read Joyce’s tag line, I always felt like it was a tie between us. A wink and a nod between two people who knew that we could make a difference for the better, even if most people didn’t believe it.

    Just some thoughts —

  12. As a former frequent reader, I eagerly enrolled – but must admit I have much less time for reading optional email now than I did in the earlier days of HS. So…I confess that when I saw that recent stories were reprints of what I had already read in the past, I began looking to the end of each post and just deleting if it was a reprint. I don’t intend to unsubscribe since I expect that new stories will be coming. But in the meanwhile, perhaps that is the reasons for some others leaving the list. I do have quite a bit more patience than the average person, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the original HS – so I am hopeful and hanging on!

  13. So far, it’s all reruns. I can’t see myself telling my friends to join a mailing list because it was good five years ago. Maybe membership will grow when there is new content.

    As for a slogan, how about, “Recognizing everyday kindness.”

    • But your friends haven’t seen them before. My belief is that the stories are timeless and would be of great value to them. But indeed, if the current state of re-runs prevents you from recommending HeroicStories enthusiastically then I need to reconsider.

      • Please do reconsider. I don’t think your goals are being met by telling us that people were nice in 2004, but apparently recent examples of deceny are not findable.

        I’m still hanging in there, but not feeling uplifted.

    • If you mean that these stories are being re-published in their entirety on Facebook, then please let me know. That’s a copyright violation.

      If you mean that people are fans of the HeroicStories Facebook page, and see the links there – that’s fine. Facebook fans count just as much as subscribers. 🙂

  14. The first time I know when the “Co-Conspirator” line was used is in issue #139, dated 28 April 2000. It was used in an “ad” for that issue, which noted “This Issue Sponsored By Co-Conspirators To Make The World a Better Place — Readers of HeroicStories.”

    The FAQ from the old web site noted:

    What’s this “Co-conspirator” thing? Can I be one?

    The concept emerged from an email conversation between people in Oklahoma, England, and Washington state.

    The idea was to create a phrase which describes what we’re trying to do here at HeroicStories…and what so many people of good will are doing around the world, in thousands of ways.

    So many people are working at so many good projects — they just get reported less by the media than the bad news…. So we miss grasping the understanding that the dominant, the greatest, most plentiful actions around us, are people working to improve life for all.

    The role of HS is to report on those efforts, especially the efforts of individuals. (You can read more in our manifesto).

    So we are all…. “Co-conspirators to make the world a better place.”

    And yes, you can be one too. In fact, you probably already are.

    So there you go.

  15. Hi Leo,

    What you are doing with these “Heroic Stories” is a boon for those of us who are always challenged to look for the best in others. Times are hard for a lot of people and endless worry colors the days for many. Your stories give us a pause to remember all of our blessings and the angels in human form that have passed our way.

    Thank you, Leo, for undertaking this challenge.

  16. The reason why people might be unsubscribing? Maybe they thought, like me, that these would be new stories , not ones already read (and remembered).

  17. I look forward to new stories. Personally, I am subscribed to a few sites which send me uplifting stories about how people are kind to one another.

    I think that the reason people do not realize how much good there is – the media does not show good people. They are not news. News is the terrible. That is how ratings grow – because the public becomes frightened. But, there are good people doing good things and there seldom is any notice of any of it.

    For a tag line, what about – “Stories about good people doing good things in the world.”

  18. Humor. While a large part of traffic on the Internet is (alleged) humor, a big portion of any comments section is filled with complaints about humor attempts. To me, “co-conspirator to make the world a better place” is/was whimsical and humorous. An unexpected twist, that captures attention. For others, it’s not.

    Since it doesn’t work for you, Leo, don’t use it. But please don’t rule out humor in HeroicStories.org

    • HeroicStories is the other side, from my perspective. I see people finding the other-other-side I guess, coming full circle to the negative bias news in society seems to have.

  19. Leo – Don’t know if you are a old Twilight Zone fan but I think a good tag line would be “to serve mankind”. One of the great zone episodes.

  20. I am so happy to see heroic stories back, BUT, they are all re-runs. That turns me off a little, and maybe that’s why you are losing readers. I’ll stay subscribed a little longer to see if you come up with some new material, and when you do, I’ll be anxious to recommend heroic stories to my friends. Welcome back!

    • I thought I was fairly clear when I resurrected HeroicStories that we would be doing re-runs for a while until I got the process together for accepting new submissions. Either many people missed that, or the reality is just to … boring? … for folks that have been here a while. I see the old stories as timeless and of great interest to new subscribers who haven’t seen them before. However it’s clear from the number of comments that are bringing this up that I should rethink my strategy. Thank you (and everyone who made similar comments).

  21. A few possible tag lines that came to mind:

    “Pass the favor forward … then pass the story forward!”

    “All the (good) news that’s (un)fit to print.”

    “Chronicling random acts of kindness.”

  22. Dont be discouraged…….please continue this. With all the muck on the internet today, YOUR email is the brightest spot……..thank you millions.
    Maybe you would be interested in something like:

    Whatever, please keep it up. we need it………..

    • My girlfriend and I read these together. We like the tone! If I still had kids to read to, I’d be reading these stories to them over the dinner table, with the hope that it would inspire them to go out and do likewise.

  23. I just wanted to jump in and say that I love re-reading the old stories. Sure, I remember most of them. But like a good book (and I love to re-read my favorite books), there’s generally a small nugget I find that I missed the first time around, or maybe I missed an entire story the first time around.

    I am excited for the process to get set up for new submissions, and will love reading those too, but in the meantime, I’m just grateful to have something I know I can read that will make me smile, laugh or cry happy tears during my day.

    I appreciated the former tag-line, and would hate to see it entirely go away. It, too, brings back fond memories. But as for giving it a facelift, maybe

    “Aspiring to make the world a better place”

  24. Great work Leo,

    I get your concern about the co-conspirator reference, it’s like referring to groups of children now as a ‘cohort’, it just gives some people cause for the hair on the back of the neck to stand up a bit. My child’s school has persevered with this term and we have come to see the positive nature in it. So these words can be positive and perhaps just require an additional word or two to accentuate their full possibilities of meaning.

    On the critique you often seem to receive these days about stories, I sum this up thus. The world has never been more information rich AND wisdom poor. If more people just took the time to reflect longer on information, then perhaps there would be less need to comment. I+R=W (Information + Reflection = Wisdom)

  25. 13 years ago, the horrible happened and we now have a generation who have been molded by that event, those “kids” have always lived in a post-9/11/01 world. Trying to gain an audience with them (now adults) will be difficult. They are the ones that need Heroic Stories the most.

    Whether I am a co-conspirator, paying or forward or willing accomplice, I love the ‘zine and have a couple stories myself when submissions are being taken again.

    Thank You

  26. You are definitely overthinking it. Conspirator may usually connote wrongness, but is based on conspire, which includes the definition “to act or work together toward the same result or goal.” Conspiracy also means “any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.” It comes from Latin: breathe together. I am proud to be a co-conspirator (only slightly redundant, not enough to matter) to make the world a better place. Good people may sometimes feel alone in their efforts; Heroic Stories lets them know other good people exist, that it’s okay to be good. It is a conspiracy of good people. I also agree that most people are good. The problem is that the few who aren’t are louder and more noticeable, giving the impression they are greater in number. Heroic Stories is and can be even more a rallying point, letting people know it is okay to be good.

  27. I know that there are people who perform superficially generous/kind acts for bad or selfish reasons. I know also that there are many people (called cynics) who always want to see an ulterior motive behind every “heroic” act. (I used to be one; I even tried to find the a selfish motive behind my own “good deeds”.)

    Now I try to see the good behind all actions; that’s just my personal choice.

  28. After a month of being ‘up’. I am surprised that you have any ‘unsubscribers’. (I hope I spelled the word correctly. I hate it when the ‘red’ underline shows up. I signed up having a good idea what it was/is. I do not have any answers. Keep up the good work. I have not paid close attention to ‘dates’, but occasional currant dates might be a ‘positive’.

  29. Hi Leo, you said it yourself already re: a new catchy tag line: “Make the world a better place”. Sounds like a good one to me 🙂

    Yes, the majority of us are well-intentioned people, but there are some who aren’t. That’s just a fact of life. The best thing to do with them is ignore them, and concentrate on the good guys.

    I enjoy the stories, which uplift my day! Thank you!

    Best wishes,

    • I love Heroic Stories, and just shared a link to your Facebook page. I hope you don’t mind, I use some of the stories in a nursing home ministry I help with. I hope you get lots of links from my friends, keep up the great work on this and on Ask Leo too!

  30. I want to reassure you, Leo. You’re not off base at all.
    I also disagree with Dennis Prager’s video.
    All the stories you published are new to me and very inspiring.
    As I’m an Italian living in Italy, I never came to them before.
    What about a tag line like this “Concur to do good, if you can !”.
    Thank you for your generous challange.
    Guido (78).

  31. Since you’ve asked for feedback, let me be pretty straight on a couple of issues.

    First, I have to say that the current stream of re-runs has steadily lost my attention. You may think that they would be new and fresh for my on-line friends but why would I bother publicising something which does nothing for me?

    Second, publishing only re-runs basically leaves your community in a disengaged, read-only mode. Putting yourself on the line by depending on your community for your each week’s content is risky, and as a result gives us, your readers, a higher sense of engagement.

    Finally, and less important than the other two points, Joyce’s use of the phrase “co-conspirators”, by harnessing a sometimes dark word for a light purpose, gave her tagline a twist, a bit of tang to balance the sweet. Man cannot live on sugar alone.

    Finally, just to balance things out, thanks for taking on a worthwhile mission, and good luck with achieving take-off-off.

  32. Many, many comments that people post on the inter-web seem to be negative IMO. Maybe this mind set has crept into the comments to Heroic Stories.

    And, yes, you are over thinking about using the word conspirator. Maybe accomplice? Or rephrase to “trying to make the world a better place.” NAH, just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    I like the stories. I tend to be cynical about most people’s motives and I need this reminder that people are good. Thank you for resurrecting Heroic Stories.

  33. I have always hated “co-conspirator” because of the negative connotation of the word conspiracy. I like Johanna’s suggestion of “Making the world a better place one story at a time.” Much more positive, which is the whole point of HS.

    Ignore the whiners. “Hey Santa” was a lovely story and the people who complain about non-PC wording need to get a life and look at the positive instead of nit picking the negative.

    We really can make a difference to each other. I work on a campus with security. There is one guard who always says “Have a wonderful day!” I love it when I see him because that simple phrase sets the tone for my day.

  34. . Personally, I would rather not have a story tagline about God. I am a Humanist in belief: humans have the potential within themselves for good and evil. Also there is a Hebrew phrase (Talmud?) about the duty to ‘tikun olam’ = ‘heal the world’ and the admonition that YOU ARE OBLIGED TO TRY! No excuses, even if your effort is CRITICISED! Sorry you were Arlene.

  35. You wonder why there are so few new subscribers? My view on this: those Heroic Stories are too sweet. In food, nice food, we need a lot of flavors blended to some interesting taste/smell. Anything just sweet, only acid, etc will not be pleasing on the long run. With these stories it is the same–at least for me. So after a lot of sugar I might just decide to unsubscribe–not yet, but the moment is coming nearer.
    Best wishes anyway,

  36. Love the stories, and don’t find them too sweet. I believe in the good of people and I’m glad to see these stories. I’ve shared the reruns and will continue to share the new stories, too.

    I did read where you’d indicated reruns would be the norm for a bit. No surprises there. While I’ve shared reruns, I agree with others that I’m more hesitant to actively encourage subscriptions while the site is still in set-up and ramp up mode.

    “Conspirator” felt like a cute, tongue in cheek reference, but any of the other above lines would no doubt serve the purpose.

    Biggest thing? I’m very glad Heroic Stories is back up. Thank you so much for sharing, caring, and working so hard!

  37. How about having business cards made up that we can order that entice people to sign on and get subscribed to a “breath of fresh air and goodness” a few times a week. Or “Inspiring Others in Good Ways”.

    A good logo, nice title, catchy saying and a web address…

    We can pass them on to others and hopefully reverse the attrition rate.

    Sign me up for a pack when you get them.

  38. Just charge an unsubscribe fee – that will certainly keep people signed up forever. 🙂

    Thanks for picking the torch back up, heroic stories is a very important part of people’s day.

    You are reaching more than the ones on the email list, as more than a few of us share the stories with others verbally at the least.



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