Thursday, January 2, 2020

What is a Heart Book?

Catching Sunset
People are hungry for stories …
 for stories of connection …
Who am I? Who are you?
What is our connection?

You see it everywhere … people taking photos ... taking selfies … capturing memories.

Here I am … alive … with my best friend ... with my family… at sunset …
in front of a buffalo in Yellowstone … on top of a mountain … at the beach.

I am alive … my life has meaning …  
 I have meaning.

there is a conundrum though ...

An image is worth a thousand words.
A word is worth a thousand images.

How could that be?

An image ...
  If you've ever been to the beach, or wanted to go to the beach,
you could probably easily come up with a thousand words about this image.

Or a word: dog

If you've ever loved a dog, images will flow as you remember
her in your mind and see her tail wag with joy as she sniffs and plays.

When words come together with images,
a story is born
... meaningful memories are captured.
When those stories are put on paper,
they can be shared with friends and family ... and the future!


Call the process foto journaling ...
when books are made with this process, call them:

Heart Books ... 

books made without agents or publishers,
without contracts, marketing or book tours,
without thought of royalties or copyrights,

simply books from our hearts,
from our "one wild and precious life."*
*(Thank you Mary Oliver.)

 Lost Photos

A lost photo on a street in Mexico
Several years ago, when my mom died, I inherited a large box of photo albums and hundreds of loose photos. Most of them had no names, dates, or places. They were simply strangers on bits of paper. I carried them with me for years before I gave up and threw them away.

It still hurts to say that because I know they were important to my mom and they held stories that might have been important to me. They were lost photos just like the one above: stories never told; connections never made; a future left in the dark.

I'll never know the stories in my mom's photos since all the memory keepers of my childhood are gone, joining all my ancestors, known and unknown. Huge chunks of my life are blank spaces, gone forever. That loss has prompted this focus on simplifying the process of making Heart Books.

Cell phone technology helps us capture images; however, it is not good at helping us share our memories. It is frustrating when we find ourselves thumbing through hundreds (thousands) of photos to show someone a favorite photo of a grandchild, hobby, or vacation.

There is a much better way.

This image from my cell phone tells me I take a lot of photos. It doesn't tell me how I felt when I took each one or help me share those memories and feelings with others. To hold onto those, we need words.

Technology now offers us an easy, enjoyable, and inexpensive way to create personal photo books that will stand the test of time. These tangible stories of your life and loves could be the greatest gift you give your grandchildren ... and yourself as you reflect on, and make sense of, your life experiences.

What is a Heart Book? 

 Basically ... sharing your memories and stories through words and images (photos, maps, sketches, ticket stubs, or any other artifact of an experience) in a personal photo book (paper)
with the intent of being able to see and remember your experiences
and share them with others.

Words + images = memory stories 
(Words + images) in personal photo books = shareable connections ...
Heart Books 


  1. Beautiful post, Joyce. And I love that you call them Heart Books. I've made many over the years for my parents and others. We all love them...and they DO keep connections and memories alive.

  2. Oh, Becky ... I love hearing that. Could you send me a couple of photos of the covers ... I'd love to use them as examples in my class ... and would love to quote you.