Thursday, September 18, 2014

On Stories (and Story Play)

"We tell stories because, in order to cope with the present and to face the future, we have to create the past, both as time and space, through narrating it." 
These words, from W.F.H. Nicolaisen, are always among the first that I share with my students as we begin the year together in our English class. I want them to think beyond "story-as-assignment" and consider why storytelling matters. 

Related to this idea of why we tell stories is another of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite authors, Angela Carter, who writes, 
“...As the past becomes more and more unlike the present, and as it recedes even more quickly in developing countries than it does in the advanced, industrialized ones, more and more we need to know who we were in greater and greater detail in order to be able to surmise what we might be.”
Storytelling, for me, is not relegated to the English classroom. It is so much a part of the hobby that I love, scrapbooking. In fact, I would argue that it is at the heart of scrapbooking.  In our scrapbooks, we "create the past...through narrating it," and doing so actually does allow us to "cope with the present and face the future." Through the process of telling our stories in our scrapbooks, we really do "come to know who we were in greater and greater detail," and as a result, we are increasingly "able to surmise what we might be." 

Scrapbooking is storytelling. 
Earlier this month, the Masterful Scrapbook Design class "Story Play" premiered at Get It Scrapped. The class is based on a series of creative challenges involving storytelling through scrapbooking.  I created the layout above in response to a challenge to use a rebus puzzle.  
Can you figure it out? 

Let me help you decode it if you find yourself scratching your head: 

thumb - mb + future + sew + bright + eye + go + two + where + shades


The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.   

These days, my daughter has college on the brain.  She's excited and bewildered all at once. Why is it that high school seniors feel pressured to decide on their future careers already?  Maybe it has something to do with the cost of college and the fear of entering a job market that is already saturated. In any case, she is at a crossroads, caught between what she feels she should be doing and what she truly loves doing. She's very much aware that she is in the process of composing the story of her life, and she wants it to be a page-turner. 

She'll find her way. This layout is a reminder of my unwavering belief in her. 

This weekend (at 8 p.m. EST), I will be chatting more about my class layouts and my sense of "story play" during a Get It Scrapped/Masterful Scrapbook Design webinar.  I'm really looking forward to it!  


  1. I absolutely agree with you that Z will find her way out there when she does embark on her college adventure. What a cool rebus puzzle layout! I wish my high school junior had you for a teacher! :-)

  2. LOVING the quotes--wish my kids could have YOU as their English teacher! LOVING the quotes--SO, true! Fantastic ECLECTIC page!!

  3. I tell you Jill, I have examined some of those college web sites and the curriculum process is scary intimidating to me. I kind of think it is awful that 18 yr olds have to map it all out from the second they step on a campus. And at $20G+ a year, yikes!! My senior is wondering where his path is too. I just pray for hiim and have to have faith.