It is a still stranger thing that there is nothing
so delightful in the world as telling stories.
A therapist friend challenged me to write children’s stories taken from my own childhood memories. He further asked me to come every so often and share these stories with his three young children. So, thinking ‘I’ve never done that before so this sounds like fun’, I accepted the challenge. Every two weeks, I write a new story and drive over to my friend’s wife and three children (the therapist being at work) for Story Hour. We’ve had eight stories so far and the children won’t let me stop. Though pre-school age, the children sit and listen to the two-page stories, many which involve former pets of my childhood, a horse born on my birthday, a black lamb given me on Easter, two ducklings won at the State Fair, and others. Then we all take paper and crayons or colored pencils and draw the story. The oldest child, a boy, suggested we all become the animals. So now after the story and the drawing, we play.
Remember play? I had largely forgotten how important play is at any age. And surprisingly, when we join the very young at play, that very young person we once were comes alive again. Isn’t that great?
Now, between Story Hours, I get ideas for new stories. Here’s an example. I was driving in town the other day, and suddenly I saw a mimosa tree. This brought up a childhood memory of when I was seven or so in Texas. There was a tall mimosa tree just in front of my swing. I would sit on the swing and see how high it would go, aiming always to touch my barefoot on a high branch of the mimosa tree. Later on, I began talking and telling my wishes to the now magical mimosa. That’s the title: The Magical Mimosa. A story is born.
If not challenged by my therapist friend, I would probably never have written these stories for children, eight tales now and growing. And yet these stories from childhood were there waiting to be tapped. If I hadn’t tried something new, other than the plays, films, non-fiction books I usually write, I would not have allowed this long, forgotten part of myself to both emerge and play.
This experience made me realize how vital it is to be remain open not only as a writer, but as a human being as well. Never forget that ‘Stories Arise from Unexpected Places’
Next Way of Story Sat workshop in Ojai, CA is Sat, Sept 9, 10-4pm
This will be a small group in my home. Limited spaces, sign up early for discount.
THE WAY OF STORY in OJAI
with Catherine Ann Jones
Saturday, Sept 9 (10-4pm)
“We’ve become lopsided living only in our heads. Writing, in order to serve the soul, must integrate outer craft with the inner world of intuition and feeling.” Catherine Ann Jones, NY TIMES
The Way of Story offers an integrative approach to writing narrative, combining solid craft with experiential inner discovery. Craft alone is not enough. No other writing workshop offers the solid craft to guarantee a good story along with the intangible inner dimensions of writing.
- For writers of all levels & all narrative forms – both fiction and non-fiction –
including plays, screenplays, stories, novels, & memoir
“At last, a working, professional writer who teaches writing!” – Joe S., San Francisco
“Your structure gave my story wings. I’ve never been so clear on what I want to write.” – Linda L, Ann Arbor, MI
“A spiritual experience as well as practical.” – Gard J., Nevada
To hold a space, please send check for $195 ($180 if rec’d by Sept 5)
to Catherine Ann Jones, 105 S. Arnaz Ave, Ojai, CA 93023
CATHERINE ANN JONES is an award-winning author, playwright, & screenwriter whose films include Unlikely Angel, The Christmas Wife, & the popular series, Touched by an Angel, as well as the books, The Way of Story, Heal Your Self with Writing (Nautilus Book Award), Freud’s Oracle, and What Story Are You Living? She has served on the writing faculty at The New School University, University of Southern California, Pacifica Graduate Institute, and the Esalen and Omega Institutes. She works as a writing consultant and teaches in USA, Europe, and Asia as well as offering online courses. www/wayofstory.com