Ally Katzz Blog: Girls Telling Girl Stories...Help The World?
This week I am so excited to introduce you to an amazing project called "The Ruby Books." I recently talked with the founder and my friend too, Jeanne Demers.
What is The Ruby Books?
Ruby is the part of me, Jeanne, that I call "my inner-girl". She's that part of me that is fresh and alive and curious and compassionate and emotional and vulnerable and open and joyous and free and crazy... She's connected, aware, engaged. And she loves STORY.
Ruby's philosophy is:
"Your life is a true story in which you star... AND you get to share."
So what The Ruby Books were originally was me accessing and using my inner-girl, Ruby, as a way of getting my stories out of me. I made Ruby the central character in the stories... which gave me the leeway to fictionalize my stories as needed.
But along the way the focus shifted. NOW I'm more interested in using my Ruby Books approach to life and story to engage girls in the process of connecting with their inner-girls and telling their stories.
Why were you inspired to create The Ruby Books and what makes you passionate about Great Girl Stories?
What inspired me to use The Ruby Books to reach girls is how much I've seen myself grow from this "story" orientation to life. Exploring The Hero's Journey story structure with girls and watching them make the connection between what goes on in a well-told story and what goes on in one's own real life and how rich with adventures our real lives are is very exciting.
I'm passionate about what Ruby enthusiastically calls 'Great Girl Voices' and 'Great Girl Stories' because their voices never stop surprising me. The girl voice has a quality that delights me and inspires me. It's an important voice, the girl voice, and the world is waking up to this fact.
Of the transformational times we're living in I heard philosopher Jean Houston say, "The time is NOW, people. Tell the stories." Sharing my love of story with girls is how I'm helping to get the stories of our time told.
What has been the biggest lesson you've learned from working with girls at The Ruby Books?
Oh, geez! Yeah, the biggest lesson would be my own heroic journey with the 'sharing' part of "Your life is a true story in which you star and get to share ". Such a lot of getting in my own way, self-doubting, self-devaluing I've put myself through. But I finally got it that it's GENEROUS to share one's voice. It was a big hurdle getting comfortable with sharing, but you know what? Understanding and compassion around 'resistance to sharing' is something I can now offer girls who might struggle similarly.
BONUS biggest lesson: It's hard to offer what you're all about when you're not ACTIVELY DOING what you're all about. Because before I summoned the courage to be generous and share MY 'great girl stories' it was hard for me to articulate what it was that I was interested in inspiring girls to do. Everything was there but it was fuzzy; just out of focus. Owning the thing you love is liberating in ways you can't even anticipate.
Do you have a favorite tip for a girl who is eager to begin telling her story?
Yes! My tip would be,"Give your inner-girl voice by creating a girl. To create Ruby what I do is I draw her on one side of a blank page (she's a stick figure so she comes out quickly) and I use the rest of the page to write - without thinking about it - what she's saying. What she has to say usually comes out of the body language or facial expression I gave her. I'm always surprised by what comes out. It's a good way to get to know your girl... and what it is you want to tell about. Use lots of pages. Don't care about good or bad. The 'worst' drawings can be where she tells you the most. And it can be on page 20 that you finally get to what you really want to express."
How can we stay connected with you and The Ruby Books online?
Click here to visit, TheRubyBooks.org.
This post "Girls Creating Girls" is a good place to start!