The archetypal children’s picture book stories contain 13 page turns (excluding the front and back matter).
What if we imagine 13 page turns in all the different stories of our lives, our careers, our important relationships, our inner development? What was happening while the page was turning?
I have written a children’s picture book (a long way from being published) so I have been learning as much as I can about the elements of a picture book.
Today I learned about the element of the page turn. Only 13 page turns! Could it be an archetypal image for understanding the biographical narrative and the imagination of self?
Let me share the qualities of page turns according to Mac Barnett, a very successful children’s book author: surprise, change of scene, amplification of story. What Mac emphasizes is that anything can happen while the page is turning…the vast reality between one page and the next. The author and illustrator must always consider the freedom in the imagination of the reader as she wonders what the next two-page spread will bring.
OMG: Wows, change of context, amping up, anything imaginable. All appearing during 13 page turns, between the text and images on one page and the text and images on another as the story moves from beginning to middle to end.
I was inspired! I still have some of my picture books with my scribbles and I love the ones that I wrote my name in. As young children, it seems, we learn that life unfolds in 13 page turns…not consciously but over and over again the journey from the beginning of a story to the end of the story had these page turns. Even when I knew the story and the illustrations by heart the page turns created a sense of wonder, anticipation and possibility. Now as a grandmother…I still have a page turning rush in my soul every time I read Good Night Moon (14 pt) or Grandfather Twilight (12pt) and dozens of other stories to my grandchildren.
What changes in our interpretations and responses to our life stories if we imagine them as picture books with 13 page turns? Choose a part of your life you want to understand or change. Maybe you are thinking about changing your career or leaving a relationship. Maybe you want to want to move through a heartbreaking loss. Maybe you have an ambition to achieve something. Don’t just think about it, make a picture book. (Right now, I am totally inspired to create a course for this…email me if you would be interested in learning more.)
The page turns in life allow for complex reflections and imaginations: self-developmental, self-expressive, self-expanding, even self-transcending. Page turns are where I AM happens in between the scenes and events of your unfolding story.
But there are also 13 shadows that resist the turn. We get stuck on some pages afraid to reach for the corner and start turning. I realize that with some of my personal stories I want to skip pages. I get afraid that there will be giants and monsters, meanies and witches lurking on the next page. What is most limiting are the page turns I sleep through and don’t pay attention to. Then there are the wonderful pages that I want to stay on forever that lock my gaze and my heart.
Since I was 42, I have been deconstructing my life narrative, then taking all the parts and imagining new ways of being and understanding Lynn: a myriad of imaginations and page turns. How has what happened on the current page/picture moved my story forward? Is there anything like the little mouse in Good Night Moon that appears on every page of my inner picture book? Am I ready for what comes on the next page and what will happen three page turns from now? Juicy questions.
It’s like the page spread is about my earthly reality in space and time and the page turn is my soul/spiritual reality. I can look at all my picture books with their texts and images that tell my earthly stories and now enter into the space of the page turn, the place of anything is possible, where I can change the interpretation, prepare for all kinds of wild dreams coming true or all the scary nightmares demanding great courage on the next page.
What is your next page? Are you ready to turn the page you’ve been on?
How do you prepare and experience the creative potential of a page turn in your story of “This is ME!”
This “naming” of the mystery…the page turn, describes what I do in my work. My Imagine Self Academy courses guide the participants through the imaginations of self that empower creative page turning experiences, They are a training or a schooling in what it means to be author, illustrator, reader and the central character of the story but most of all, what it means to be the free and loving genius of the page turn reality…the self-imagining I AM.
My one-to-one conversations with my clients are about turning pages in their lives. Each one of my clients begins wanting to turn a page in their stories and their pictures of who they are and who they want to be. It is my job to ask the questions, point to the obvious and mysterious (like the little mouse in Goodnight Moon), provide new contexts for their longings, hold their hands as they take leaps, applaud and celebrate the successes, comfort their mournings. As a spiritual mentor/friend listening deeply to their stories, I go with them to the inner experience of their page turns to see from karmic and destiny perspectives the meaning of what happens on the pages of their lives.
Let me share two quick examples:
My course on the Four Temperaments has taken the participants from the pain of temperamental difference as a story of social rejections and difficulties to a story of social acceptance and celebration. I bring the wisdom of the temperaments to the page turning imaginations that come with understanding the variations in temperamental configurations.
A client facing a very difficult and complex dilemma in a significant relationship was struggling to find a neat end of story. I told her karmic relationships are messy, very messy, stories but the possibilities for development, expression, expansion and transcendence are what makes the relationship meaningful and purposeful. You see possibilities rarely, if ever, come in neat, painless and logical packages. She could now turn the page. The resistance to mess was keeping her stuck on a page.
If you would be interested in participating in an online workshop (or you would like to come to NC for a live weekend workshop) on creating a picture book with 13 page turns about some mysterious part of your life, no artistic or writing experience necessary…just the desire to imagine yourself courageously, please send me an email.
Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering. St Augustine