Josh Riebock: Storytelling, Creativity, and Failure

Erik EllefsenInnovation


T.S. Eliot once wrote,

The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality. […] The more perfect the artist, the more completely separate in him will be the man who suffers and the mind which creates.

This quote and some recent interactions regarding creativity in schools led me to a conversation with my friend, author, poet, and storyteller Josh Riebock who wrote “Heroes and Monsters” and “My Generation”, hosts a podcast called “The Marrow” on which he interviews artists, musicians, and creatives, and regularly speaks at schools. If you haven’t heard Josh speak one of the most meaningful to me over the years has been his telling of the “Good Samaritan”.

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Josh Riebock: 3 Questions on Storytelling, Creativity, and Failure

  1. As someone who travels as a storyteller or in your books, how would you describe the difference between storytelling and preaching/speaking/teaching?
  2. When you interview Creatives for you blog “The Marrow”, what have you learned about creativity and the creative process?
  3. You’ve grown up the son of educators and have spent quite a bit of time in schools, so I’m wondering if you have some thoughts on how to foster and support creativity in a school community?



  • Erik Ellefsen has served in education for 21 years as a teacher, coach, consultant, Grievance Chairman for the American Federation of Teachers, Dean of Academics at Boston Trinity Academy, and as Principal at Chicago Christian High School. He currently serves as an Academic and College Counselor at Valley Christian High School (San Jose, CA), a Senior Fellow for CACE, a Senior Fellow for Cardus, podcaster for Digical Education, and as Vice President of CCEI. Erik regularly organizes Christian school leadership seminars and speaks on issues pertaining to academic program, student leadership, and organizational development. He can be reached via email at