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Klostermann-Ketels, Joan

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Pen Name:  Joan Klostermann Ketels

Comments from the author about writing:

I have felt a spiritual connection with trees since I was a little girl. Their physical beauty and their expressive physical shapes drew me in. Eventually I began to experience a stronger, more spiritual connection. In that sense, the topic for my book chose me. What is really thrilling is the number of people who are coming forward to say they share the connection and the sense that trees are spiritual beings with stories to tell.

It took me almost 10 years to write this book. Even though I wasn’t sure why I was doing it at first, I was compelled to take hundreds of tree pictures. I started to see things in them. Life experiences in the process gave profundity and meaning to the project. The book’s evolution was deeply integrated with events such as the death of my sister from breast cancer and my own survival of the disease. These life events, and many others, are part of the PersonaliTrees process, and they affect how and what I see.

Communicating the book's concept during the initial stages was most challenging. I was most surprised at how enthusiastically people embraced it. People are intrigued about trees on many levels -- from their outward beauty, to their role in the ecosystem, to the spirits that inhabit them.

One of my favorite experiences writing PersonaliTrees was with family. My three grown children and their spouses/girlfriend, many members of my immediate family and our friends did “focus groups” while we went through the process of adding the captions for each picture. It was delightful to stand back; watch and listen to these groups discuss and debate what each picture should be named, what each saw in the pictures. As a previous junior high, high school, and university teacher, I’ve been intrigued by how best to teach abstract concepts. I hope this book serves as a tool in schools to teach abstract concepts -- using trees as the vehicle.

PersonaliTrees is really about seeing. I found that as I spent more time in the woods, the more present I was, and the more I could see. The more I saw, the more I heard. The more sensory awareness I gained, the more I understood and appreciated the life cycle. Each physical step brings a new perspective, and I could see more as a result of taking one step than I could capture in photographs if I stood there forever. The nuance of changed perspective in a natural setting is almost overwhelming because it expands the longer you look at it.

Book Types: Nonfiction, Poetry Collection

Audience Types: All Ages

Genre: Essays, Nature, Mind Body Spirit, Photography

Are you willing to do programs for schools, libraries, or other groups? Yes

If you are willing to do programs, will you charge a fee? Yes; expenses; additional fees based on group, size, location and length of program.

Mailing Address:  PO Box 128,  Eldora, Iowa 50627

Phone:  641-939-7882

E-mail Address:

Author's Web site:

Publisher Information:

County: Hardin

Books By This Author

  • HumaniTrees, Exploring Human Nature Through the Spirit of Trees, Findhorn Press, Scotland,  to be released June, 2011.
  • PersonaliTrees: Let the Human Spirit Awaken in the Presence of Trees, Findhorn Press, Scotland, 2010.

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