The Power of Story - Rancho La Puerta
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The Power of Story

Week of June 26, 2021
From Instagram to JK Rowling: The Power of Story through Pictures and Words
What happens to us when we read a passage from our favorite novel or poem? Or how about when we look at an image—be it an Instagram on our phone, or a Rembrandt hanging on a museum wall? As unrelated as these experiences may seem—one involving words and the other involving pictures—each is rooted in storytelling, a vital aspect of the human experience. We are storytellers, all of us, and we are all beneficiaries of the stories of others. It’s been true since we were children. Often, we move through life without this recognition, and we miss the magic of our own personal narrative. Joseph Campbell called it the Hero’s Journey.
We all are living one, but do we see it? Do we feel it? How do you use pictures and words in your storytelling life? We will explore the history of storytelling from early images to the written word, and consider how these powerful tools help us make sense of our world, enhance our own personal story and connect us more deeply with others.
“I’m not a writer. But I want to write.”
You have a deep desire to write about yourself, or something you know about, or something you love. You feel the urge to share and express yourself. Where to begin? This workshop will provide you with practical tools and inspiration to begin the often daunting task of transferring ideas from your “head” and on to the page. There’s no time like now, and it’s not as difficult as it might seem.

“Whose story is it, anyway?”
From the time we are babies born into this world, we are being molded by the people and places surrounding us. Do we ever stop to think how much? Remembering your true story is the very first place to begin your journey into writing. Because, without it, you are telling a story that someone else wrote for you. This workshop will provide tools and fun exercises to begin the journey to the heart of your story, and how best to tell it, either for yourself or for others.
Writing for Children: Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult
Children’s literature is unlike any other form of writing. Picture books combine elements of storytelling with poetry. For Middle Grade and Young Adults, voice, along with story, are paramount. This workshop is for beginners, experienced writers, and others wanting to try their hand at writing for the young. Whether your goal is to publish your first children’s book or to chronicle a family story for your children or  grandchildren, this workshop will provide an overview, as well as tips for strong writing that connect us not only with the hearts and minds of young people, but with the child inside each of us.
Karen Deans, writer, illustrator, and graphic designer, tells stories with pictures and words.  She is the author of picture book biographies about women in history, and has illustrated and designed numerous books, magazines and educational curricula focused on women, children and the arts.  Her career has spanned a variety of storytelling media, from her early days working as a reporter on her hometown paper, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, to painting sets for an award-winning children’s theater in the DC area.  As an entrepreneur, she owned an art business that sold her original art in over 150 stores across the country.  She is the 2020-2021 President of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC, which promotes excellence in children’s literature nationwide, and supports literacy initiatives for the young in the DC metropolitan area.  She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.