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Contents 4-23 Heart Stories Event Special Program On Feb. 14, 2019, more than a dozen artists came together in Port Townsend Washington to tell personal stories through mime, spoken word, song, rhythm, dance, movement, painting, photography, poetry and prose in front of a public audience. Storyborne produced the event, which was sponsored by the Port Townsend Arts Commission.

23-35 Contributed Work A collection of personal stories from professional and amateur artists.

Many contributed


an online submission form at Storyborne is a new artist platform for multimedia



Editor-in-Chief: Bonnie Obremski All portrait photography by Bonnie Obremski unless otherwise indicated. Some copy editing assistance by Gary Larson Some poetry editing assistance by Lauren Davis Cover Photo: From top: Bonnie Obremski, Anna Hansen, Amy Sousa Š 2019 Storyborne, contact

Kerry Christianson BE MIME While it might be tempting to tell the story of my life through mime, I chose instead to tell the story of how mime became the backbone of my artistic life.

They say a good story is told in three acts. “Be Mime” is composed of three glimpses into my journey as a performer—a journey during which aging and body image impacted me and my work.

The time I spent exploring my memories was illuminating. I traced connections from dot to dot, realizing for the first time how doors opened to reveal hidden opportunities. I now stand in awe of the paths that led me to where I am today.


Kerry glided into Port Townsend with her husband, Donn, on their sailboat in December 2016. A graduate of Cornish College in Seattle, Kerry has spent much of her life involved with theater and dance.

She was artistic director for the Little Red Studio from 2006 until 2010 and also directed, acted and choreographed for many other theaters around the Seattle area over the last 25 years.

In 2003 Kerry debuted Verotica 143, an erotic mime duo act and went on to perform for over five years in the burlesque scene. She is in the beginning stages of creating a local performance group called the Transient Moorage Artist Collective.

“...She instead handed me this thing that I’ve never seen before but looked like a digital thermometer. On the small screen was a purple mark. I asked what that was and she said, EPT: early pregnancy test, and the purple meant positive.” -Aki, from his spoken word introdution to “The Thing.”

The Thing M U S I C





C O D A E X C E R P T E D F R O M J A M E S TAY L O R ’ S “ S O M E T H I N G I N T H E W AY S H E M O V E S ”

First time I saw you somewhere in a dream,

All I found to give to you were love and wisdom,

long before I knew

maybe we’ll be fine. Oh my, oh my.

I’d be the man that I have been. But was I dreaming, it felt so real

First time I felt your hair and your skin, not even a second since you came out from within,

Running ‘round my mind,

I felt so loving as I held you.

I can’t keep up with the thoughts you’re bringing. Coming up so fast and

Meeting you the first time sure got me mesmerized.

so much more than I could sing.

Caught up in the moment,

You got me thinking about how I feel.

didn’t see tears fall from my eyes. Ain’t nothing more moving than how I met you.

Running through my mind are all the things that tell me, things will be alright. Alright, alright.

Meeting you the first time, a moment caught forever in my mind.

First time I heard Mama telling me you’re here

And I’m on cloud nine all the time. And I feel fine.

(in search of a perfect rainbow) while looking down at that pier,

I feel fine anytime she’s around me now.

I started laughing and I couldn’t stop.

She’s around me now almost all the time. If I’m well you can tell she’s been with me now

Oh, what am I to do, oh lordy, what am I to give?

She’s been with me now quite a long long time

I ain’t got much to show in this life that I live.

and I feel fine…

There must be something that I can dig up.


Aki has lived in Port Townsend off and on for 23 years. He grew up in Manila, Philippines. He’s held jobs as a fisherman, firefighter, forest trail crew-member and as a deckhand aboard the schooner “Destiny,” in Friday Harbor, where he first learned he would


become a father, and he first felt “the thing.”

Alex Dugdale Alex was born in Colombia and emigrated to the U.S. as an infant to live with his adoptive parents in Seattle. As a preschooler, he watched renowned tap dancer Savion Glover perform on Sesame Street and said “I want to do that.� A year later, he was. Then, at age 11, Dugdale jammed with a steel drum player in a subway during a visit to perform in the NYC Tap Festival. The experience ignited a passion for instrumental jazz. Already a clarinet player, he picked up the saxophone. Today, he is an award-winning musician who plays many instruments, composes, and teaches performs throughout Seattle and Port Townsend.


“ I’m not very good

with words, but when I play an instrument and dance, I am truly able to express myself in my first language: rhythm. It is how I pray. It is how I express every emotion, good or bad.

Dirk Anderson Dirk moved to Port Townsend in 2005 and discovered it had a happening jazz scene.

“There’s something alluring about

He decided playing bass would be the best

sharing rhythms and harmonies—

way to become a part of it. So he got his old

about the synergy that can happen

bass fixed up by a local luthier and began

when musicians play together. Many

playing. Today, he performs regularly with Tony and the Roundabouts, The Jack Dwyer Band, Leif and the Longtones and a variety of other local musicians.

of my enduring friendships have their roots in musical relationships.”

Bud Walters


Bud grew up in Chelan and worked for the radio station there as a DJ, news and sports reporter for 20 years. He and his wife moved to Port Townsend to seek new horizons in 1997. Since then,





within Fort Worden State Park and is currently head of the production crew at the arts nonprofit Centrum. He enjoys the satisfaction of ensuring a show runs seamlessly, even when there’s





our job that we don’t get noticed.”

SOUND & LIGHTS Paul Larned Paul’s varied passions have guided him across many careers, including one as a physician practicing in the shadow of Mount Everest to one as a sculptor at the Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. When he’s not at a drum lesson, he works at Centrum as part of the production crew.





because of the way it can enhance any







performance, “great



Amy Sousa


Anna Hansen




“As women, we are all brave, we


are all beautiful, and in speaking our truth, we are all one step closer to free.”

-Anna Hansen

Anna Hansen is an almost 10-year resident of Port Townsend. After graduating from Cornish College of the Arts with a BFA in dance, she danced professionally in Seattle with





Wind Wild Horses. There, Anna worked with





world including Bill Evans, who is a recent addition to her Port Townsend community. Anna is a mom, Pilates instructor with Spark Interaction. She enjoys chocolate, people and a good belly laugh.

The request: One story. The prompt: Women awakening. The context: Rising from the mud.


Julie Read Editor’s Note: Pages 15-23 feature visual artists who presented work during the Heart Stories event on Feb. 14, 2019. The night’s theme of personal storytelling was further refined for visual artists. Inspired by the work of Julie Read, I asked them to submit visual stories that featured a relationship between a predator, its prey and an interloper. A predator could be as loosely defined as someone seeking, prey as the someone or something sought, and an interloper as a witness, which might even be you, the viewer. David Conklin printed all artist work onto 7-foot high by 3-foot wide visual displays that hung behind the stage.




At an antique store, I found an illustration from an old biology book of a giant bird-eating spider. It’s a rather tragic image, but what really fascinated me about it is that, in addition to the spider and its prey, there is a butterfly just flitting about, going about its butterfly business—an interloper of sorts. I wanted to make my own version of the predator/prey/interloper threesome, and this is what I came up with. In truth, my interloper, which is a Stag Beetle, is not benign in the interaction - it’s been startled by the Jackalope. The Jackalope doesn’t care about the Stag Beetle (the Jackalope is an herbivore), it is terrified of the Rattlesnake. However, the Rattlesnake is also terrified of the Jackalope, because, well, it’s too big to eat for one, and second - it’s a Jacklope. They are not seen often by any other living thing. So all three are startled by one another.


Jen Lee



The hunted is the hunter is the watcher. All of whom reside within her. All in search of discovery, to be seen, to be heard. For years she hid in depths of her fears. The hunted is the hunter is the watcher. She is her prey. She is her own passerby. The hunted is the hunter is the watcher.


THE GUIDE She is what was And what is to be again She knows the knowing of the known She is the darkness and the lightness And the grower of seeds yet sown She is the guided and the guide She is her pain, her pleasure and sorrow Her love was given yesterday And in the shadow of tomorrow

My dad spent much of his career documenting the lives of migrant workers living in the United States, and also their plights they attempted to cross the border into our country. This photo, taken at the Rio Grande in 1995, still feels relevant to me in our current political climate. His images were as objective as possible, humanizing both predator and prey.



Paul Conklin WORDS BY

David Conklin


AL BERGSTEIN As a teen, my father was the announcer for the harness horse races at the Illinois State Fair at Springfield. It was our family vacation, going along with him to the state fair. The only bonus for me was that it allowed me to wander the entire fair with a press badge and my camera. I got to go everywhere. Hunting for unique shots of humanity. One day I came across this clown, waiting just outside the big top (it actually was a little top, as this act was pretty small). He was lost in contemplation, maybe sleeping, maybe rehersing his bit in his head. I got the camera up quick and got the shot. I never met him, nor did I get to find out what he was thinking.




When passion’s moment feels the passage to common time life energy robbed sustains the mythic beast who slouches towards our imagination for a reason.

This series captures a pinata assault at the Taxi Fest in Quilcene a few years ago. The pinata proved to be a worthy prey opponent, even against some determined predatory attacks. The interlopers seemed at times amused and, at times, somewhat horrified at the violence. Yet, upon the gutting of the hapless victim, they leapt in to feast on the scraps. Vultures, indeed.

I’m always facinated by homo sapien behavior. What are the evolutionary reasons behind the strange things we do? In the top image, we see a kind of lure one might find dangling from an angler fish, but instead it extends from a church float during the Rhododendron Parade in Port Townsend. Eternal life is quite the bait. The fisherman smiles at the prospective nibble. Perhaps he will hook a believer.

At center is the group pounce characteristic of pack animals like wolves, but here we have human pups, hopefully at play. Our poor prey desperately struggles to exit out of frame so his eventual demise is not captured in jpeg form. Here the teenage interlopers are, as expected, annoyed by the juvenile carnage.

At bottom: Primates and birds often use tools to capture their prey, such as procuring a stick to dig out grubs. Here we have a woman using her camera to digitally apprehend the intriguing jellyfish. The interloper is me and my camera slyly capturing this lethal moment by using the reflective surface of the aquarium. She, the predator, does not know I have rendered her likeness into digital preydom. Yes, interloper as predator. That might very well be an accurate definition for a street photographer like myself.



James Cook OUR BED Across the void of settled sheets, around a body turned toward me I thank I see I search

through the dark, that one my whole life I searched for, across the void

to see to thank to be across over settled sheets turning, opening eyes, pausing to seek towards me thankful.

SORRY Boy looks up, naked, the evidence discarded. Tears and wet sheets and a face ashamed.

I don’t care, but the world to him rests upon his continence.

(And, let down, a planet sighs and leans in, disappointed,

letting winter in early.)

I take him into my arms, re-clothe his shivering. We both take the laundry to the washer. I forgive. I reassure






sleeping and my pillow

now his. Her hair laid in his hands. Through the dark he rolls over, delivering belief in Daddy’s words, in her bosom, warm and dry.

Promise You’ll Hide a Part of Yourself DARCY REEDER







That conversation: I was so young.

unimaginably soft. She had slate gray

Already, I had crushes on boys, and on

eyes, like some sort of magical creature.

girls. Already, I knew the right answer

She reached her hand slowly up my

when she asked: “No, I’m not gay.”

skirt while I taught her to cook, and she showed me what it might feel like to not

“Your grandpa can never know.”

give a fuck about anything. It was bad enough his Jewish daughter— There was no official coming out to my

my mom—had married a gentile.

friends. We’re all basically bi, right? But I needed to call my mom.

“He’ll have a heart attack if he finds out. Promise me.”

Her gay step brother died of AIDS. She had always been an ally.

Promise you’ll hide a part of yourself. Promise you’ll lie to protect the elderly

“Mom, I’m seeing someone. It’s…a

from reality. He’ll die soon; just suck it




Next, I dated a man, a heroin addict. With a penis. My mom was overjoyed.

“No?” I never told my grandpa. I married a “No. I asked you when you were a kid. I

man, a lovely man. My grandpa died.

gave you a chance to tell me. I told you it was fine either way, and you told me you weren’t gay.”



His mom said “He has Asperger's.” HAILIAN ZHOU

My ex-husband is an American. I am

depressed. I was homesick. But I dared


not tell anything to my parents.

My parents threatened to disown me

I divorced him.

when I decided to date him. My parents were rice paddy peasants. But they

Old promises slapped on my face when

supported me through graduate school

my family found out.

while other girls in the village were sent to work in factories.

“No, nobody slept with others. It’s complicated.”

After five years, I quit my promising career and emmigrated to the United

Then we somehow had another baby.

States. We had our daughter. I stopped

He was so loving. He wrote the birthing

work and stayed home with baby.

story. Even though in that birthing room he had said he had to do a paternity

Then, I found that he was chasing

test because he was only 99.99 percent

another girl. He would not promise

sure, “better safe than sorry.” I felt like

loyalty. He sounded like the president he

kicking his balls.

voted for. Women’s rights, minorities’ social



I survived. I still love him; he is my


children’s dad. We discuss politics. My

on everything. I couldn’t rescue him; he

heart aches; sometimes my blood boils.

couldn’t persuade me.

But I am calm even when he is in the red




MAGA hat. He says I am his best friend. He traveled often. I didn’t drive and we lived on an island. I felt stuck, lost and




e met in the bar where gringos went

She heard me.

to drink away an afternoon. I was living alone, stuck in a difficult and protracted divorce. Mexico

I avoided her for two weeks. The destruction of

was the Band-Aid my wife and I tried putting on

my marriage had left me lacking the confidence

our damaged marriage. I had spent the last year

to consider approaching any woman, particularly

and a half dealing with wounds that would not

one I found so desirable. Hanging over all my


emotions and need there was the consideration of the right and wrong of it.

She was the first woman I felt attracted to in a long time. The only problem: She was married

Then the night came when we were alone at the

and I was all too aware of how easily those unions

bar, and she asked me for a ride home. When I

can crumble. My reluctance to become the cause

parked the car to let her out, she leaned across the

for another person’s pain held me back.

seat and kissed me. My shock was overwhelmed by her demand. We went on kissing, always in

She was without her husband, spending the

secret, for 10 days. Just kissing. For hours on end

summer with a friend. A hard-drinking woman,

we tore at each other till our faces were raw. She

she traded swallows of tequila with inhales off

would stand against a wall and demand I crush

a cigarette. She made her presence well-known

myself into her while our mouths never stopped.

wherever she went: the antithesis of who I was

Our agreement to go no further held. Limiting

or thought I needed. But her black, curly hair,

our lust touched a kind of innocent need for

blue Irish eyes and brash manner nailed me deep.

sexual acknowledgement. This was the way we

She seemed to take great pleasure in teasing me,

found to feed each other’s hunger, believing we

hooting in delight whenever I blushed. When the

were in control of our passion.

group moved to another bar, I went with them. We sat side by side. She told me was surprised

Ten days later she went home.

I hadn’t had sex in the time since my wife left. Under my breath I added, “haven’t wanted to be

Judgement does not fit in my memory of that

with anyone until you.”




Editor’s Note: Linda found out about Storyborne when she read about us in the Peninsula Daily News. She reached out to me by asking the customer service desk at the North Olympic Library System to send me an email. She lives in Port Angeles and chooses to live without a computer. Her landline does not record messages. We spoke briefly, and then Linda sent me her drawing via priority mail. The outer envelope was covered in shiny red stickers in the shapes of roses and hearts. Smiling, I tore it open to reveal another envelope, this one pink with a red heart above my name. Inside that envelope was “Dragon Love.”


Two years ago, at the age of 28 and at the start of an exciting career in Los Angeles, I fainted. My skull hit the stone floor and my brain was concussed for the third time.


It was very real this time and suddenly I was plucked from one path and placed onto a much quieter one. Any




unbearable, and after eight months it became very clear that if I were to ever recover, I’d need to surrender. So I returned to Port Townsend.

With more generosity than I can understand, my


mother offered me a home on her property and helped me assemble a brand new life. She provided a sanctuary with dark nights and bright stars and fresh air and a vegetable garden and trees and silence and support. On my mother’s land, I discovered effects of spending time in nature, and finally healing became available to me.

Neither the forest nor my mom have batted an eye at what I’ve needed to do here; their hospitality has been boundless. Because of them, for the first time in two years, I feel like I’m coming back to life—better than before, no doubt. I’ve sprouted.

I spent too many years misunderstanding my mother’s complex ecosystem, and not realizing how much it is my own. Now, I see her clearly: She’s the Earth.

She’s the powerful, nurturing sea; she possesses mysterious depths that you’ll never bear witness to and infinite dynamism you undoubtedly will. She’s the gentle and encouraging breeze; she’s the devastating monsoon. Her body has mountain ranges and hillscapes and caves and plains. She’s a tree who nurses the ill and upholds communities. She’s the same breathing landscape that has been moving men to make art since always, and she’s the weather patterns that transform a place into a home. The ocean that life crawled out of.

My mother, the planet, has given me my life back.

I’m continuously in awe at how much this woman will provide for her family, and so I painted this for her birthday.

I started making items with my likeness on them when my daughter moved to Brooklyn. I made her a pair of Shrinky Dinks earrings with my smiling face on them. I mailed them off to celebrate her first holiday in her new place. My kids are grown, all out of the home now. They’re starting to spread out. This Christmas, I sent away to have these tiny buttons made for each of them and their partners. I made them for a laugh, but really it’s to let them know I’m thinking about them. To let them know that I love them. They’ll probably end up in a drawer. But later, when they’re looking for something in that drawer, they’re going to see the button. They’ll see me, and it’ll bring a smile.

On a Sunday Morning JUDITH R. DUNCAN

this quiet neighborhood streets lined with oaks safe for a child to walk four blocks to Church alone to hear angels sing glory in the highest to hear bells ring on Christmas morning carry home an orange a peppermint candy cane.

Brother James drives me home – it’s on his way his car is warm.

I will be safe inside my house in no time as he is inside my white cotton panties in no time because I will keep his right hand warm in my lap under my coat while he drives.

I tell no one.



I was working down at the welfare office, trying to help some poor folk out. But they helped me learn some things, other than lack of economic clout.

They got some issues, that might not immediately come to mind. Like how you can't afford the necessities of life, when it takes all your money to have a good time.

Living on the street, there’s a stigma to bear. Everybody hands out free advice but, Hey people, they ain't going anywhere!

When all they need is soup and rest, They get referred down to the gospel mission, preached at "Jesus knows best!”

But all they get there is beans and Jesus, Jesus and beans, Beans and Jesus is all they get.

An old drunk told me, "I wet myself after so many beers. Jesus can walk on water, but the mission don’t let me near, Can Jesus accept the life I'm living, pretty near to crucified? I am not sainted. I do not have God inside.”

Old drunks that believe in nothing, drinking is what they got. To them, it's more important that they do than that they do not.


Rosie Wilson-Briggs I had my first and only encounter with a pika a few years

they are small but fierce. The way they’re incredibly

ago while backpacking in the Goat Rocks Wilderness

cute, and also incredibly intelligent and capable (I

near Mount Tahoma (Rainier). It was a cool, sunny

recommend reading up on them, how they collect

morning, and the trail ran through a steep talus slope.

and dry enough grasses to see them through the

Sitting there on a sunny boulder, I was lucky enough

winter). I can’t get enough of their high-pitched calls,

to see two pikas, one far off down the slope and one

identifying themselves and warning each other. Their

fairly close to me. They perched on boulders, still then

piercing “eeeenk” seems somehow both silly and

darting then gone. They called their fierce squeaks to


each other. Those golden minutes, observing those tiny, perfect mammals, stand out so vividly in my

I myself am a fairly short, round woman, and I’ve


always worried that because of this I’m perceived as “small” and “cute”, and therefore less capable. This is

And pikas have stayed present in my thoughts ever

why I so love the lessons, the reminders I get from the

since. I’ve drawn pictures of pikas, watched videos of

pika: that cute and capable are not mutually exclusive.

pikas. My friends have gifted me pika earrings and

That I can be plump and fierce at the same time.

a pika enamel pin. I’m currently working on turning

When I’m feeling down, I try to remember those pika,

this illustration into a t-shirt design.

remember to gather what I need to support myself,

What is it about pikas? It’s something in the way

and shout what I’ve learned to my kin.



Time to Mourn I


once read that it takes a year for each

voice laughed and said no, my beringed finger

decade of marriage to mourn your divorce and

waggling even as my belly leapt with the grind

move on. Right. I’d need two and half years,

of desire I’d forgotten I could feel.

roughly, to build up scar tissue and square my shoulders to the world, wounded but walking.

Or was it a year after we split, when I crawled away from the abusive relationship I’d tumbled

Problem is, I’m not certain when the timer

into a heartbeat after my husband closed the

began ticking. Did it start late October 2016

door the final time? Or this past spring when

when my suddenly-ex husband called to say our

l learned he’d remarried one of my dearest

divorce was final? Was it four months earlier on

friends? Or is it now, as I write these words?

the July day we filed the papers — a gaspingly simple process since we had neither children

I’m a Virgo. I love boundaries, parameters,

nor property to fight over? Was it in April after

timelines. I remind myself daily that I am also a

our single counseling session when he said

woman who needs all the time it takes to forgive

once was enough? Or was it the prior December

herself and honor the flawed and beautiful

when a man in a coffee shop asked me out? My

things she has created.

Here I am




here was a tank at the New England Aquarium

of glue bordering the rear lights panel on my station

that showed how icky life could be for creatures

wagon, showing where my husband had torn it off after

spawned in the harbor. The exhibit displayed beer cans

I had locked myself in and him out.

stewing in a murky brine. In contrast, the aquarium’s four-story Caribbean tank, with sharks and sea turtles—

An invitation from that husband had first brought me

that stopped my penny loafers in their tracks. I began

to the Caribbean all those years ago. I fell in love with

to tell grown ups I wanted to be a marine biologist. I

it, and so he added that love to his list of things that

thought it meant, one day, I might be able to dive into

could compromise my devotion to him. When it suited

that tank and be surrounded by mind-boggling beauty.

him, I still visited the fish and coral, but then I was the one bound by an exhibit I could not escape.

Fifteen years later, I got to see the Caribbean in real life, even though I had become a reporter instead of a

On the last day of the Mexican adventure, one of my

biologist. It got me, that first high, those impossible

girlfriends and I took a cab to the beach. She wanted

shades of blue as I dove down, belly stirring the white

a beer. I wanted profound meaning. I shuffled to the

sand as I joined a school of sergeant majors circling

water. I wanted to know what it would be like to return

soft corals.

to the underwater wilderness now that I’d taken an ax to the glass. Maybe, it would be like that first time. But,

Another decade passed. Two girlfriends joined me on

the sea was churned by offshore storms, opaque and

trip to Mexico. I booked a one-bedroom house that

oblivious to the cinematic reunion I’d planned.

claimed to sleep nine for $22 a night. As soon as we arrived we shut ourselves in the single bedroom with

Still searching for meaning, I realized the trip wasn’t

the sole air conditioner and took turns murmuring the

about free diving over a coral reef. It was about

Latin pop lyric “Despacito” to keep the party going.

snatching back something I’d once allowed someone to take from me. It was about gobbling it up before

I’d once lain in a similar heat on the sofa of a 1986

someone else could take it again, to gorge until its

Airstream motor coach. That Airstream sat in a Florida

blood dripped down my chin and I finally felt satisfied.

boatyard. A 79-foot-long wooden schooner bobbed at the dock alongside, mid-restoration.

But the only person satisfied on that beach was my friend with a beer, and I was ruining it by saying things

At the time, I was married. My then-husband’s father

like, “I want my Eat, Pray, Love moment, dammit.”

had bought the Airstream for us to live in and the schooner for us to work on. At its surface, it had the

So I let it go. The list of things and those I love is in my

makings of an Instagram fantasy. You had to know

own hands, now—and it’s not a list of things to devour.

what to look for to get the offline picture. Like the line

What is Storyborne? Storyborne is a dream, and it’s starting to come true.

In Sept. 2018, I left a position in marketing and administrative assistance at Centrum in a now-or-never moment. I needed to see what could happen if I just let it go—like Elsa in “Frozen.” Day by day, things took shape.“Heart Stories,” a multi-media personal storytelling extravaganza, erupted at the intersection of my professional skills, passions and community in Port Townsend. Collaboration, being weird, making art, singing, practicing radical authenticity were all­ part of making “Heart Stories” come to life—and I’ve got so much more to do. If events like “Heart Stories” feel necessary to you, if you are curious to see how far this can go, please consider supporting Storyborne: Write a review on Google, hire me to take your headhsot, or become the sponsor for my next live storytelling event. More at

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Storyborne Magazine, issue one  

This print magazine is part event program for our Heart Stories multimedia personal storytelling extravaganza, which premiered on Valentine’...

Storyborne Magazine, issue one  

This print magazine is part event program for our Heart Stories multimedia personal storytelling extravaganza, which premiered on Valentine’...