Telling your sto­ries

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - By Ruth Stan­ton

This sub­mis­sion is one of an on­go­ing se­ries of ar­ti­cles by mem­bers of the Glen­garry Artists’ Col­lec­tive-Col­lec­tif d’artistes de Glen­garry.

Sev­eral years ago I gave a work­shop on record­ing fam­ily sto­ries, then turn­ing them into books. The par­tic­i­pants, aged from 10 to 70, had sto­ries from be­com­ing the proud owner of a lit­tle dog to liv­ing in a Ja­pa­nese pris­oner-of-war camp. All had some­thing worth record­ing.

Spend time with your chil­dren or grand­chil­dren cre­at­ing a book of sto­ries: here are a few ideas.

Don’t ex­pect the kids to do all the writ­ing. You write a story, too. Chil­dren will love a story about your child­hood, or one about them­selves that they can’t re­mem­ber.

Choose a story you like to tell about your­self -- be­cause it is funny or poignant.

Be pre­pared to write more than one draft. With the first draft, don’t worry about spell­ing, punc­tu­a­tion, the or­der, or any­thing. Write what­ever comes to mind. Free writ­ing it’s called, be­cause you free your­self from fret­ting about gram­mar, spell­ing and or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Be­fore re­vis­ing this very rough first draft, think your way through the event. Re­mem­ber what you smelled, tasted, heard or saw, how you felt or what you did, and what you thought and said. Make a list of things you could bring into your story.

Re­vise your story in light of new ideas gen­er­ated through this brain-storm­ing ex­er­cise.

Share your story aloud with your writ­ing part­ners. As you read, no­tice if you need to clar­ify or where your lis­ten­ers ask ques­tions. Re­vise your story in light of this new feed­back.

Cre­at­ing Your Book

Print your story, leav­ing space for pic­tures. Il­lus­trate it your­self or let your fam­ily do so. Scan im­ages in at the ap­pro­pri­ate places or paste them in.

Make cover pages for the front and back. Print the ti­tle on the front cover and il­lus­trate it. Sta­ple the pages to­gether along the left mar­gin so it makes a book.

Cut a two-inch strip of coloured pa­per the same length as your book. Cover it with glue (a glue stick works well) and place along the left edge to cover the sta­ples front and back. There’s your book!

If your chil­dren don’t write yet, you be the recorder. Let them tell you ex­actly what to write. Re­sist the temp­ta­tion to give ad­vice. Print their sto­ries, us­ing big print -- 16 or 18 point. Again, leave blank spaces so they can il­lus­trate their sto­ries.

Have fun!


SUM­MER HEAT: July is of­fi­cially over now and we’re sure that many res­i­dents hope that the in­cred­i­ble heat we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced this sum­mer will leave with it. In the im­age above, Shel­ley Poirier brought her eight-month-old son, Jack, to the splash pad in...

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