Laura Pashby is the author of Little Stories of Your Life, published by Quadrille Publishing on 14 October 2021.
Laura kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about Little Stories of Your Life
Little Stories of Your Life is a non-fiction book about the beauty of ordinary days, and the magic that we find when we pay attention to the details of our lives.
I think of this book as a love letter to storytelling, creativity, moment & self. It’s a meditation on who we are, and why we all tell stories. It is also full of creative exercises that will encourage readers to pick up a camera and pen, and use words and photographs to capture precious little moments from their own lives.
2. What inspired the book?
This book was the culmination of a decade of storytelling with words and photographs — online, and in magazines. It’s everything I wish I’d known. I wrote it thinking of the person I used to be: a person who believed that her life wasn’t exciting enough to be recorded, and that a story was only interesting if it was dramatic and eventful. I wanted to tell her that her voice is worth hearing, that her life — all the tiny details of her utterly ordinary life — matter, and I want my readers to believe the same thing of themselves.
I don’t think that our lives are defined by bright, exciting events – it’s the stretches of time in between that matter- the little instants, the quiet moments and the daily choices that make us who we are. We all have little stories to tell.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
Probably a combination of the two. I do plan out the chapters in some detail before I begin, and I’m methodical about my research, but there is definitely a time when the words begin to lead me. When that happens, I have to catch my ideas as they flutter — I scribble frenzied notes to myself on scraps of paper and dictate sentences into my phone at inopportune moments, so that I can draw together the threads.
4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that surprised you?
I had little idea what to expect, and for me the whole process took place remotely via email and Zoom (I wrote the book during lockdown). So holding a physical copy of my book in my hands for the first time was a particularly amazing moment. I wasn’t prepared for the joy of knowing that readers are underlining my words, bookmarking pages and adding marginalia. Honestly, such a thrill.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I read a lot (of course), but to relax and escape I turn to photography. A stroll in the woods with my camera in hand, and no fixed destination in mind, is my favourite way to spend an hour or two. I look for details — the beautiful, the remarkable, or the unfamiliar. Wandering in this way allows me to experience wonder — it always leaves me feeling refreshed, rested and inspired.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
It would have to be a poetry anthology. I would choose Set Me on Fire: A Poem for Every Feeling by Ella Risbridger.
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
I’m always interested in other writers’ workspaces, and sources of inspiration, so I might have liked to be asked:
What (if anything) do you have pinned up above your writing desk?
The answer would be…
A collection of film photographs from over the years, a pink post-it note with a quotation from Joan Didion (‘Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point.’), and a copy of Jane Kenyon’s advice to writers:
‘Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.’ – Jane Kenyon
About the Book
Embrace the power of storytelling with Little Stories of Your Life. Start telling your own story, find your creative self and be more mindful.
Combining the wellbeing benefits of mindfulness, creativity and daily photography, this book shows you how to use words and photographs to capture precious little moments and how to share these in order to connect with others.
Each chapter explores the different ways you can tell your own stories, considers why you might choose to tell them and helps you to create a patchwork of tiny tales about your life, however small they might be. Throughout the book, Laura shares her own personal stories and research that shows you how to tune out of the bigger picture and focus on the everyday. There are exercises to gently guide you through how to journal and harness your inner creativity, as well as tips on improving your photography, photo challenges and writing prompts to get you started.
It’s easy to feel that our own lives are not enough, but real lives are not defined by bright, exciting events: we don’t need a grand narrative arc. It’s the stretches of time in between that matter, the tiny moments and the daily choices that make us who we are.