is an author and photographer who lives alongside the North Atlantic ocean in Nova Scotia, Canada. She gets lobster for cheap, keeps banjo players close, and writes here
Making more storytellers: Storybird gives word-ready art to the masses
Mark Ury’s wife used to make up stories for their son at bedtime. For her birthday, he and his son decided to give those characters words, illustrations, and a proper book. Now, he’s the creator of Storybird, a website that lets anyone pull together art and words to share, read, and print. It’s a book/game/greeting card mash-up. Since then, his wife makes him wear a cape at home. Oh: and they also built a cape to make storytelling superheroes of anyone—even you.
This month, I posed a few true-or-falses to Mark and he responded with the first few things that came to mind… (read more)
True or false: The internet has busted the book.
True, and false. We don’t really know how publishing is going to adjust itself to all these people making their own narratives and bypassing the traditional channels. What we do know is that stories are a tuning fork for the soul. The Internet hasn’t busted the book. It’s just made more storytellers.
True or false: The internet is only good for cheap pharmaceuticals and LOLcats.
False. We’re using it to seed a generation of writers who are making their own heirlooms: stories they’re creating for the people they love. It’s tactile, and the internet is where it’s created. These kids are writing about outwitting bullies and finally getting across those monkey bars and imaginary monsters and giving the puppy a bubble bath. They’re cheering for the first lost tooth and a great time at summer camp. Grown-ups are proposing marriage with stories and art. This is the stuff that should fill bookshelves.
True or false: For something to be profound, it’s got to be difficult.
False. I love the idea of making the process of storytelling trivial. The good kind of trivial: easy, spontaneous, fun. We want to make sharing stories trivial too. And we want to wrap them in something that’s beautiful. What you end up with is a little treasure, something that brightens days and marks personalities and moments. That’s important stuff.
True or false: Art is an even better writing prompt than uncontrolled substances.
True. If you crank your music up, you instinctively want to dance. Art does the same thing to words—it makes us see stories. Especially narrative art. We’re compelled to unbundle it like a puzzle, and find a rhythm to it. Art helps uncover what’s already in you to tell. Even if you’re six years old. Maybe even more so, if you’re six years old.
~ Kate Inglis