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Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Storycatcher reveals the powerful role stories play in life, and empowers readers to examine their own to bring greater awareness and positive change. Personal-writing pioneer Christina Baldwin first draws on examples from history and mythology to show how stories do indeed change events. She then shows readers how to apply this idea to their own narratives, acknowledging ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 12th 2005 by New World Library
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Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: research
"Yet the question remains, what stories will we save? And the question arises, what stories might save us?"- Christina Baldwin, Storycatcher

When I saw the title, I immediately thought of my Native Canadian dreamcatcher, I was thinking how great it would be to have a device like that to catch stories. Unfortunately (or fortunately), that job falls to us humans, and if you think of a human being as a repository of knowledge and experiences, it's clear to see how important collecting these stories
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've always believed that each life has a very important story, even those that at first glance don't seem glamorous or adventurous. In fact, my favorite memoirs, biographies, and oral histories tend to be more about real people who never consciously realized the importance of their lives.

Perhaps that is why I have always kept a journal. I am ever writing and editing the story that is my life. Trying to figure out how my experiences have made me the way I am. Looking to create the story that I
Mar 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic meditation on the power of storytelling and storycatching. Well written and very poetic. This is not a how-to book even though Christina provides questions to start you on your journey. Stories touch every aspect of our lives. Read the book and then attend one of her workshops. I have an autographed copy that she signed after one of her lectures.
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent resource for those who value story in their life. The content is wonderful and gave me an entirely different way to think about story and its impact on our lives. It made me all the more enthusiastic about getting my heritage photos into my heritage scrapbook and TELL THOSE STORIES! This is one I'll be looking to buy for my book collection! Excellent book!
Aug 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Seekers and story lovers
Shelves: essays-ideas
"The self-story is the narrative voice in the stream of consciousness that runs babbling along the edge of our awareness. Minute by minute this narrative defines who we are and what we are capable, or not capable, of doing." --Christina Baldwin

Story shapes and defines not only our individual lives but those of families, societies, and cultures. Becoming aware of our stories empowers us to shape them, as they shape us. Instinctively, I’ve known this for a long time, but no one could express more
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow--I love this book--story, story everywhere. I decided to try out storytelling in the opening moments of a committee meeting last night, as a way to then ferret out some of what are our goals. I liked how it worked--I wonder what my Goodreads friend who was there experienced.... The point of the book is "for us to notice how the story we make of the moment becomes the life we lead." Within me I'm carrying this day and the words and silences we shared. Even if the moment gets buried and lost i ...more
There are thousands of books about how to write, writing memoirs or journals (Baldwin wrote several of those) and telling one's personal story. But what about telling the family story, the neighborhood story, the community story, the world story? What about the oral tradition? We heap glory on writers, but the tradition of storytelling is much older than the invention of writing.

Baldwin has written a beautiful and thoughtful book about the value of oral storytelling, how stories give us both a
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have always believed in the imortance of narrative form and how the way we tell our story really shapes how we experience "reality." So this book was largely "preaching to the choir." Even so I found the first two chapters to be outstanding and felt called upon to invite many friends to read this book. I did, after awhile find the later chapters to be somewhat repetitive and now as gripping. But overall I recommend this book for its views on story in our lives, in the life of our nation and of ...more
Mar 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jenni
Recommended to Leah by: Edith Fuchs
Shelves: bookclub
The essential nugget I grabbed was that we don't know how our stories, or the stories that have gone before us will affect those who hear the telling. This book is worth having as a reference should you decide to work on teasing out family histories from taciturn elders, or need to engage grumpy strangers in an slow-moving line at the airport. I wish I could print out the "Tell Me A Story" prompts at the end of each chapter as they provide great ways to jump start a writing practice.
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
For many years I've been journaling trying to capture everyday moments that became extraordinary ones.
I"be learned well the power of story telling to my children, grands and great grands and in writing & preaching sermons. Stories & word images truly capture our lives. I've been writing my memoirs for 15 or so years. I stall for long lapses. This book has revitalized my writing energy & effort.
Debra Daniels-zeller
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
An inspiring read about the power of story and how we can access it in our lives. This book is quite different than I'd expected and not so much about writing but more about telling stories. Stories from the author's life infuse each chapter and questions at the end of chapters prompt memories and made me think more deeply about my life.
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Christina's masterful storytelling in Storycatcher will lead you not only through some of her most treasured stories, but also encourage you to write your own.

Bob Mcinnis
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Baldwin gave me language to communicate what I already believed but hadn't articulated.
Max Carlson
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very good inspirational book
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
Great writing exercises for anyone who wants to write a memoir of their life and times.
Omar Halabieh
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As best summarized in the dust jacket: "...Christina Baldwin...explore the vital necessity of re-creating a sacred common ground for each other's stories. Through story and example, Baldwin presents storytelling as an innate skill we can remember and practice. She shows the power of story to connect life experiences so that we can share them, learn from them, and teach each other through the medium of a good tale." In the introduction the author goes on to state: "This book explores three premis ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The author's devotion to and passion for story is so evident it's like a brick to the face. She discusses the importance of story in lyrical language that clearly conveys her love. The questions posed at the end of each chapter are interesting and thought-provoking.

That said, the book is massively abstract. It seems to go on and on without much new being presented; it's simply the same thing said in a different way. The abstraction and dreamily waxing poetic were so prolific that hardly any room
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I honestly had a love/hate relationship with this book. When Baldwin launched into actual storytelling to make a point, I was mesmerized. But when she got back to the academic side of story catching I got bored easily and had a hard time getting through it. So I went from compulsive page-turning to having to re-read a sentence three times to digest it. The book was definitely worth reading, but is not one I would go back to.
Joanne Mcleod
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Christina’s book about the importance of sharing our stories helped in my understanding and writing of my personal story, and its connection to others through their stories.
I love one of her concluding phrases. It so captures the beauty and essential purpose am in being a sharer of stories:

“Storycatchers choose hopefulness, knowing that story has the power to change our lives.”
Jun 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education, story
Interesting book - a sort of self-help-ish approach that sees story as a way to understand and integrate our lives. The points are a bit "wispier" than I'm used to reading - though I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, this is not a philosophy book. The idea of cultivating people that make room for, understand, and tell stories as a way of forwarding personal, organizational, as social development does seem like an interesting one. And I think there are some useful perspectives on how t ...more
Oct 08, 2009 rated it liked it
so far I'm not likin' it......
Cheryl Doran-girard
Mar 31, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Writers
This book is wonderful for a writer of family history. Baldwin brings to the table a wide range of informative material.
Oct 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
Dreamy with writing tips--not what I was expecting from the title. I did, however, find some useful things for my research.
Aug 24, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
rec from Erin
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am a "storycatcher" via my digi scrapbook pages :) This was an interesting look at how story plays a part of our lives and how important it is to human connection.
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Feb 15, 2016
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Oct 13, 2017
Quanita Roberson
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May 20, 2014
Jan Spohn
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Sep 14, 2014
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“As long as we share our stories, as long as our stories reveal our strengths and vulnerabilities to each other, we reinvigorte our understanding and tolerance for the little quirks of personality that in other circumstances would drive us apart. When we live in a family, a community, a country where we know each other's true stories, we remember our capacity to lean in and love each other into wholeness.

I have read the story of a tribe in southern Africa called the Babemba in which a person doing something wrong, something that destroys this delicate social net, brings all work in the village to a halt. The people gather around the "offender," and one by one they begin to recite everything he has done right in his life: every good deed, thoughtful behavior, act of social responsibility. These things have to be true about the person, and spoken honestly, but the time-honored consequence of misbehavior is to appreciate that person back into the better part of himself. The person is given the chance to remember who he is and why he is important to the life of the village.

I want to live under such a practice of compassion. When I forget my place, when I lash out with some private wounding in a public way, I want to be remembered back into alignment with my self and my purpose. I want to live with the opportunity for reconciliation. When someone around me is thoughtless or cruel, I want to be given the chance to respond with a ritual that creates the possibility of reconnection. I want to live in a neighborhood where people don't shoot first, don't sue first, where people are Storycatchers willing to discover in strangers the mirror of themselves.”
“When story and behavior are consistent, we relax; when story and behavior are inconsistent, we get tense. We have a deep psychological need for our stories and behaviors to be consistent. We need to be able to trust the story, because it's the lens through which we see reality. We will go to great lengths in the attempt to make a story that explains an action and supports or restores consistency. If we cannot make story and action fit, we either have to make a new story or change the action. ... [But] The drive for consistency and the ability to redefine abhorrent action so it fits the story are very complex issues. We have a huge ability to continue believing stories we are told are true in order to stay comfortable with actions we don't want to change, or don't feel capable of changing.” 11 likes
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