Since today is St. Patrick’s Day 🍀I want to remind us all—Irish or not—how very LUCKY we are to be able to document and preserve stories.
Our daily lives have been turned upside down in so many ways right now and we’re all growing accustomed to that uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty. One of the very best things we can do is actually turn to our love of documenting to both capture what’s happening around us for the future and to remember and revive happy moments from our past. Both of these actions have been proven to be sources of strength and calm in times of crisis.
The kind of storytelling that is most helpful is the kind that illustrates connections to our past and reminds us how much doesn’t change. This storytelling is easier than you might suspect—especially with the concept of extended and connected stories available in the Storyteller how-to book.
Extended stories use layers of Memory Protectors™ and lots of photos mixed in with spots of journaling that share both the expected and the unexpected details. When those details point to another person, place or related thing then a connection is created.
Here, let me show you …
When I was working in my studio on this extended story for Addie’s birthday, she came into the room, looked at the 5″ x7″ photo on the first page and said, “My teeth! They were so big.” I replied, “Guess what? I, too, had big teeth when I was your age!” And right then I got an idea. Why not find a photo of me at age 9 and add it to this layout? This, my friends, is a connection. Addie is no longer just a cute girl celebrating a birthday, she is a cute girl who feels connected to her mother because her mother also passed through the big teeth phase of childhood.
Connections also pull details from photos that the casual observer might miss. Using the photo of Addie and her friends, just before they jumped into the pool, I was able to discern that girls between the ages of 8 and 10 clearly prefer to wear their goggles when jumping (and being photographed!). This example may be a bit silly, but there will always be “little known fact” details about life, culture, location, or any activity available to you that can be highlighted in your journaling and that will draw simple, but interesting connections from your story.
One of the primary reasons I love this approach to storytelling is ALL of these fun pockets. I get to include more photos and capture a more comprehensive representation of (in this case) a birthday party!
Look, here, at the second 4″ x 3″ pocket from the top. Another connection! When you share bits of your own memories from the past, as you document events in the present, you will always improve your story and your storytelling skills. Of course, the Story FYI stamps are designed to help you add these “did you know” details.
So, let’s review. An extended story is simply one that uses layers of memory protectors to include more photos and more story. A connected story is an extended story that includes journaled details from another person, place or time. These connections enrich your story and make it more fun for you and your audience.
Watch this full story experience with Addie and keep on telling those stories. They matter and the perspective you gain as a storyteller will bless you with a wonderful sense of confidence and calm, even when life gets crazy!
Story Tip: I love the personality of handwritten journaling, but sometimes it makes more sense to use your computer. You can include both styles in an extended story! Whenever you hear yourself say, “I don’t know what to write!” Make a list. Your brain is exceptionally good at listing out details—there’s not much “writing” involved, and you can list things in random order. A list of 9 things for a 9th birthday is totally doable!
Giveaway: Would you like the opportunity to win a free Celebrate Today Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet, Memory Protectors™ Combo Pack, and a My Acrylix® Story FYI stamp set? Make sure you are subscribed to this blog and leave a comment below sharing what you love most about extended and connected stories. This Friday, March 20th, is World Storytelling Day. At noon (MST) on Friday, five lucky winners will be chosen and later notified via email. Let’s all tell our stories, especially those that we are currently living. Best of luck friends! <3