It’s 11:00 PM, and you’ve hardly talked to the people you live with. First there was a full day’s work, then driving to various activities, then groceries, laundry, emails, making a to-do list for the weekend, helping your sixth grader with homework, or catching up on office work that didn’t get done in a day full of meetings. You could zone out on a little television or flip though a catalogue—or maybe, story could become the last thing you do at night and the first thing you do in the morning.

 

Story—like talking quietly to each other, turning off distractions and asking for details, for narrative, for what made your partner happy or sad or something clever the kids did, or a challenge going on at work. In her book, Storycatcher, Making Sense of our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story, author Christina Baldwin has included dozens of questions that invite people into sharing story. “It’s simple,” she says, “just ask a leading question, pause, attend, and invite story to unfold. Almost every night, the last thing my partner and I do is ask each other: What’s your favorite thing that happened today?”

Story—like reading a book aloud to each other, sharing a story that weaves its way through several weeks, becomes the source of other conversations, becomes a shared journey away from daily details and into the art of a good tale. Snuggle up with your children for story-time, listen to them, help them tell stories, read to them, help them read to you, even write with them. Then, what do you want to read in bed: mysteries, historical or contemporary fiction, essays, memoir, fantasy, poetry?  Go the library and bring home a stack and experiment. Start with the book Storycatcher, an encouraging tale full of stories, conversation and journal writing starters.
 
Story—like writing a journal, a page to close out the evening, a page to open the day.  You don’t need to know what you’re going to say, just take a pen and paper or laptop to bed with you, take a breath, take a few minutes. It’s just one page. In the morning write your course: “What I dream or intend for this day is…” In the evening reflect: “A moment that warmed my heart today was… (or) What I learned today was…” Maybe you occasionally share a few pages and support the story you’re living together and individually. In Storycatcher, Baldwin says, “Story makes a map of life.”  These little rituals, even when done sporadically, reveal patterns of story that shape our days.
 
Story creates bonds. Speaking and listening, reading and writing story are ways people love each other, teach their children, and honor their parents. This Valentine’s Day become a couple that turns the lights down low and speaks from the heart; become a couple that reads to each other; become a couple that writes side by side. Renew your romance with words.

 

Christina Baldwin is the author of Storycatcher, Making Sense of our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story, (New World Library 2007) and hosts the website: www.storycatcher.net where you can find and contribute to a list of favorite books to read in bed.

 

Based on the book Storyccatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives Through the Power and Practice of Story © 2007 by Christina Baldwin. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com <http://www.newworldlibrary.com/> or 800-972-6657ext. 52.

 

 

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