The importance of stories, particularly family stories, are a part of me – as integral to my existence as every breath I take. As a child, I enjoyed listening to my parents and grandparents recount stories of their past – even more fun were the stories recounted by my aunts and uncles and cousins. As an adult, I enjoy collecting, recording and displaying stories of my past and present.
Through stories I feel connection.
Through stories I feel empathy.
Through stories I feel curiosity.
Through stories I feel empowered.
Through stories I feel wonder.
Through stories I feel creative.
Through stories I feel purposeful.
Through stories I feel alive.
I enjoy stories told in all forms: written, spoken, song, on canvas, all of it. My favourite stories to tell are often accompanied by photos. I remember as a child pouring over carefully curated albums with fuzzy black and white photos carefully adhered by the corners to black pages with magical white ink telling the story of the photo. I remember making my first first “Creative Memories’ Christmas-themed page back in 2002. Today my kids are older and memory keeping has changed significantly – as so many things have – since that first effort.
Over the years I was published on various web publications, in Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine and held a wonderful position as an Ella Friend. I have wonderful long-lasting relationships with a number of kind, supportive and authentic memory keepers I met over that time.
Funny that at the height of my creative flow and recognition I was living a complete shit show. Doing my best to keep it all together then realizing the best thing for everyone was to have it all fall apart. And it did. In spectacular fashion. The irony? When all was done, I realized that as much as I enjoyed the stories of my parents and their pasts, my children had no idea who I was and where I came from – which left them unaware of who they were and where they were from.
I had to give up my studio. In fact, the kids and I downsized to less than 1/3 of the space we once had! Out of necessity, I had to make some hard but necessary choices and gave away at least 95% of my overflowing abundance of supplies, commonly known among scrapbookers and paper crafters as “stash”. It was sad for me but brought a lot of joy to others. Confirming the truth that there is always a bright side!
I was unwilling to give up storytelling and as a result, I was forced to engage in the foreign practice of digital memory keeping and used my blog(s) as a place-holder for many of the stories I was collecting while raising my four children. A lot of the time I used this process to keep me on an even keel while my world spun completely out of control. The more out of control, the more stories and projects I took on. Writing and photography helped me process and handle what was happening.
Today my kids are older and memory keeping has changed significantly since I made my first page. Even though I now have the space and a room dedicated as my new studio, I don’t get the same thrill in handling paper, stickers, paint and adhesive as I once did. I admire the work of those who not only tell good stories, combine them with lovely photos and then stamp, embellish, sew and alter their pages in all creative manner with glitter and colour. It truly is ART. I am now far more interested in getting the stories written and displayed in an esthetically pleasing and decidedly minimal manner and move on.
My new formula? Photos + Stories = Done.
What do I do? I love memory keeping. I love real-life photography. I love storytelling.
What do I not do? I do not reinvent the wheel.
I am a dedicated disciple of Cathy Zielske‘s style and Ali Edwards‘ projects. I have just completed a huge project, one that all good self-respecting memory keepers do – I organized my stash, albeit now it is my digital stash. I am pretty sure I have every template Cathy Zielske has ever made available. I have many projects Ali Edwards‘ developed. These women are two of the many who inspire me to collect and share my stories. The last six months was spent methodically processing, sorting, organizing and labeling, I’ve decided what will and won’t work for me. Today.
It may change tomorrow and I’m open to that.
Happily, I discovered Ali Edwards‘ Story Kit™ program (in digital form) which fits into my new direction beautifully. That coupled with Cathy Zielske‘s templates and simple approach to memory keeping, I can still do this!
What happens next?
Less works best for me. I have determined that, with the help of both the ladies Zielske and Edwards, I will take on projects that resonate within me. “Resonate” now, after 5+ years of yoga and meditation and therapy, have taken a whole new sense of trust with a decidedly woo twist. It’s time to get back at those creative outlets that I love and incorporate those new experiences and activities I have learned to love!
What about you? How do you tell your stories? What are you compelled to do?
“It is not an artist’s job to please anyone, but to bravely do the work they are compelled to do. It’s the public’s job to bravely seek out and appreciate the work that resonates with them.”
Steve Peters, Musician