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Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story [Kindle Edition]

Christina Baldwin
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Story is the heart of language. Story moves us to love and hate and can motivate us to change the whole course of our lives. Story can lift us beyond our individual borders to imagine the realities of other people, times, and places. Storytelling — both oral tradition and written word — is the foundation of being human.

In this powerful book, Christina Baldwin, one of the visionaries who started the personal writing movement, explores the vital necessity of re-creating a sacred common ground for each other's stories. Each chapter in Storycatcher is carried by a fascinating narrative — about people, family, or community — intertwined with practical instruction about the nature of story, how it works, and how we can practice it in our lives. Whether exploring the personal stories revealed in our private journals, the stories of family legacy, the underlying stories that drive our organizations, or the stories that define our personal identity, Christina's book encourages us all to become storycatchers — and shows us how new stories lay the framework for a new world.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“As a television journalist, I know the incredible power of story to connect people and issues, and Storycatcher reminds us how essential it is to speak our truth in the world. Christina's book travels the world on the page and helps us put feelings and experiences into words. Her work is a great gift.” — Lisa Ling, host of National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, and special contributor to Oprah “I am absolutely entranced by this book. I felt woven into its stories and honored by its sincere invitation and guidance to recall my own stories. Christina has created a masterful work, one that reconnects us to the joy of being human and the goodness we create when we tell our stories and listen to those of others. This book brings more goodness into the world.” — Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science

From the Back Cover

A 2005 Books for a Better Life award winner
A Spirituality & Health Best Spiritual Book of 2005
A One Spirit Book Club alternate selection
A Writer's Digest Book Club selection

"As a television journalist, I know the incredible power of story to connect people and issues, and Storycatcher reminds us how essential it is to speak our truth in the world. Christina's book travels the world on the page and helps us put feelings and experiences into words. Her work is a great gift."
-- Lisa Ling, host of National Geographic Ultimate Explorer,and special contributor to Oprah

"I am absolutely entranced by this book. I felt woven into its stories and honored by its sincere invitation and guidance to recall my own stories. Christina has created a masterful work, one that reconnects us to the joy of being human and the goodness we create when we tell our stories and listen to those of others. This book brings more goodness into the world."
-- Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science

"Storycatcher is an invaluable resource and guide that highlights the oldest healing-teaching practice found in all cultures -- the art of storytelling. The timeless gift of storytelling and storycatching continues to provide oral, written, and visual pathways for transmitting what is meaningful, wise, and relevant from generation to generation. Christina Baldwin demonstrates how memory and the imagination are braided together in stories to focus our abilities to heal ourselves and change the world around us. A timely and important contribution that can be used in practical and inspirational ways by anyone, anywhere in the world!"
-- Angeles Arrien, cultural anthropologist and author of The Four-Fold Way and The Second Half of Life

"For my work, I have surveyed a library full of self-help books about writing personal stories and the process of working with people around listening and telling, but I think Christina Baldwin's Storycatcher might have finally gotten it right -- an essential sourcebook for doing Storywork. Christina Baldwin comes from the journaling community, working with writing and group process. The book integrates her wisdom and experience in group process and teaching with her skill as an exceptional storyteller and writer. I enjoyed her stories, but I also felt they were expertly used to demonstrate the various points she was making about the storycatching process. Her arguments for group-based story work as a process for self-awareness, but, equally important, as a form of social activism, are absolutely incontrovertible. We need the story revolution in order to make sense of our lives, but also, it seems, to save the world."
-- Joe Lambert, founder and director of the Center for Digital Storytelling

"Christina Baldwin is a masterful storyteller! In Storycatcher she weaves a tapestry of story that captures the dynamics of storytelling: its power to heal, to acknowledge our longing, and to articulate the hidden places within our being. Curl up with this book, and a new world will open to you."
-- Lauren Artress, author of Walking a Sacred Path

"We need powerful stories to inspire us to act, and to explain the kind of world we want to bring into being. This book will help."
-- Paul Rogat Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While

Product Details

  • File Size: 698 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1577316037
  • Publisher: New World Library; First Trade Paper Edition edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001H0PDMM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,856 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent! A real gem of a book... October 17, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Christina Baldwin's work on Story...the art, the practice, the importance of telling and re-telling stories in our lives is a stunning masterpiece. Woven beautifully with fragments and selections of her own stories, Baldwin once again instructs, enchants and inspires the reader about the critical nature and importance of the individual stories of all of us. Whether it's to build community, heal generational wounds, create stronger organizations, leave a legacy, or simply to pass on information, Baldwin's narrative builds a compelling case for the power of "storycatching." A magnificent read...and a wonderful gift to give. What will be the questions you carry to ask of yourself and others? A must-have!!
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storycatcher Spreads Hope October 4, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Christina Baldwin's Storycatcher tells stories of hope. She articulates beautifully the power and necessity of sharing story with those around us to build webs of connection, to build community, to provide a bridge to understanding. We all have a story. Baldwin's genius shines through showing us how to bring story into the center of our lives through telling her own story. This book is a work of love and brilliance that brings light into the world.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Surprise! November 14, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I reluctantly read this book based on the recommendation of a friend. I was not a storyteller nor particularly interested in story, so I really wasn't expecting much from the book.

Boy, was I wrong! This book helped me realize how central story is to my life, to my work, and to the way that I think about and interact with the world. The author really opened my eyes to the power of story. I've started keeping a journal. I've started having more interesting conversations with co-workers and others. Perhaps I'll start writing more interesting reviews too!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooray for Story! March 26, 2006
Format:Hardcover
This wonderful book explores the many uses of story telling not just for the listeners but for the tellers as well. Whether or not you ever publish your own stories, Storycatcher will convince you of the value of telling them. Christina Baldwin is at her best. Through her own stories and those of others, she shows how our stories can open the path to understanding each other and ourselves. Storycatcher will inspire and help you to catch as many as you can.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book for Troubled Times September 21, 2005
Format:Hardcover
In Storycatcher Christina Baldwin has, with grace and wisdom, reminded us of the importance of story in our lives. She deftly weaves the personal - stories from her own family lineage and interviews with a diverse group of men and women living their own unique history - to illustrate how our stories ground us and nudge us into paths that can make a difference for future generations. Each chapter ends with ideas about how to"practice" the art of story catching as a way of enriching and illuminating our lives. A Baldwin classic.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midwest Book Review - April 2008 April 1, 2008
Format:Paperback
"Every person is born into life as a blank page - and every person leaves life as a full book" (p. xi). This sentiment from the preface of Christina Baldwin's new book sums up the overall theme of this wonderful look at the power, creativity, and uses of story.

Broken into ten chapters, this book is chock-full of amazing insights. Nearly every page contains at least one nugget of wisdom. Baldwin focuses on how story connects us, the art of storycatching, why we make stories, creating a story of the self, and finding our place in the order of things. Along the way, she addresses healing, the spiritual, power in organizations, personal growth and power, and ever so much more.

This book speaks to the heart and soul of what makes us human: the ability to tell stories, both orally and in writing, and to share wisdom, make sense of our lives, and move through our time on earth with meaning. "Story is a search for community that allows us to share, build, and learn from each other... We choose whether we want to live in hopefulness or despair. Storycatchers choose hopefulness, knowing that story has the power to change our lives" (p. 236).

The writing here is lyrical and sure, her prose evocative. She's annotated it and included a reading group guide. Baldwin writes with a deep knowledge and wisdom most of us can only dream of being able to describe, and she does it with the grace of an angel. This is a book that should become a classic. Highly recommended to readers, writers, thinkers, and dreamers everywhere. ~Lori L. Lake, Midwest Book Review
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Might You Help Story Survive January 3, 2008
Format:Hardcover
In a world of advice and new-fangled approaches to timeworn ways, it has been very refreshing for me, and many thousands of others, to remember the ancient, simple way: telling stories. We can begin by revealing our own story to ourselves. Then we can share our story in community so as to find common ground with others.

Christina Baldwin has led the way of story since publishing her first book on journaling thirty years ago. One to One: Self-Understanding through Journal Writing was followed by Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest. (You will find a review of the latter book on this site.) Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture describes the way of council for us to use in whatever context we meet with others. This is the methodology Christina and partner Ann Linnea have shared around the world through their business PeerSpirit, Inc. Christina's fourth book published in 2002, The Seven Whispers: A Spiritual Practice for Times Like These, invites people into a dialogue with soul.

All of these approaches to story have led to the richness of this offering: Storycatcher. The very word invites us to step into our stories and to see ourselves and our story through the "spiral of experience." The spiral is engaged when "something happens to shake up the status quo of our lives." Other tools for storycatchers are charts that describe what "story space" is and "Setting the Space."

Our lives are filled with stories--television commercials, newscasts and e-mail chains are stories. Coworkers share stories on Monday morning. As Christina points out, "Story is both the great revealer and concealer." Her theme throughout the book is authentic stories. It takes courage to tell them, but sharing our wisdom is what we need for survival.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought this for a friend who was going through some stuff.
Published 2 months ago by Shannon's Shoppe
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This book is one of the best written books I have read. It is not only entertaining but by example it shows how to add interest, drama, and complexity to your writing. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Geraldine A. Perkins
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful!
This book really gets to the Power of Story. Thoughtful essays guide one into the act of telling your own stories.
Published 10 months ago by Patricia H. Stell
5.0 out of 5 stars the Power of Story
A very clear description of the power of story and a reminder that this basic human conversation can have life-giving energy to any gathering,
Published 14 months ago by Sharon Connaughty
3.0 out of 5 stars A valuable resource for group work perhaps
For me I could not find the dimension that would be useful for me. It is less individualized for different temperaments and psychologies.
Published 15 months ago by lei
5.0 out of 5 stars Transformational
I expected this book to be educational, even inspirational, but it was more. It actually contirbuted to my effort to slow down my mind and my life, while defining that which is... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Michael Kline
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
What a gift to storytellers! And a good gift FOR storytellers. I got this for my husband and he's quite impressed with it.
Published 22 months ago by Elaine M. Christensen
5.0 out of 5 stars What is your Story?
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. Read more
Published on July 21, 2012 by O. Halabieh
5.0 out of 5 stars Collecting Life Stories in Your Life & Others
Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story is book by Northwest writer, Christina Baldwin. Read more
Published on April 12, 2012 by Ginny Mapes
5.0 out of 5 stars Creating Legacies for Future Generations
Excellent information and background for catching the stories of family members or the terminally ill. It has provided personal inspiration in dealing with hospice patients.
Published on January 8, 2012 by William C. Walker
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More About the Author

Christina Baldwin is a writer and seminar presenter of 30+ years experience. She has contributed two classic books to the exploration of journal writing, including the well-known classic, Life's Companion, Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice, revised and reissued in 2007 after 100,000 original sales. This work led her to a long study of personal growth and group dynamics and as a result of that experience she wrote Calling the Circle, the First and Future Culture to explore how social container releases needed wisdom. In recognition of the requirement for increased spirituality, she wrote The Seven Whispers, A Spiritual Practice for Times Like These. Her legacy book, Storycatcher, Making Sense of our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story, reminds readers of the necessity of story to communicate in all areas of professional and personal life. Continuing the exploration of collaborative dialogue, Christina and Ann Linnea wrote a new classic, The Circle Way, A Leader in Every Chair, which documents applications of PeerSpirit Circle Process as a foundational tool for local to global change.

Christina holds a B.A. in English with honors and Phi Beta Kappa from Macalester College, and a M.S. in Educational Psychology from Columbia Pacific University. She currently lives on an island near Seattle, WA, from which she travels extensively to lecture, teach, and call people and organizations into conversations of heart, meaning, and activism.

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