Loren Eiseley’s Starfish Story

Ivan Chew - ProfileAfter Adrian and I had made a decision on our band name, I discovered Hanna Cooper’s blog where she explained that the Starfish Story was an oft-quoted one from Loren Eiseley’s 1979 book “The Star Thrower”:

Many starfish washed up on shore. A young boy started picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean. Someone saw what he was doing and told him that it was pointless, that there were too many to save, that it wouldn’t make a difference. Throwing another starfish into the sea, the little boy responded, “It makes a difference to this one.”

In a seashell nutshell, Adrian and I chose the name “Starfish Stories” because:

  • Adrian’s a biologist (Ph.D., no less) with a penchant for echinoderms while I liked how “Starfish” represented a continuity with “SeaStars” (which was another term for “starfish”)
  • To us, our songs were stories being told in notes and melodies (at least we try to, given the best of our abilities minus any formal musical training)

So now I know there’s really a Starfish Story.

As Hanna wrote, Eiseley’s Starfish Story is an inspirational perspective on how one can make a difference. I’d like to think that for each song Adrian and I create, it’s our way of throwing a starfish back into the sea.

Our songs might not be very polished, musically. It might not be considered good.

We certainly don’t want to celebrate our own mediocrity.

But hopefully there’s that one song from us that would make a difference.

For someone out there.

~ Ivan

coverp.s. the book can be found at the NLB libraries:
ISBN: 0156849097
NLB Call No.: 818.5409 EIS

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