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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #078 – Grand Discussions
June 20, 2010

"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."

Your Life is Your Story Newsletter

June 19, 2010 Issue #078 – Grand Discussions

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Dad's Day
Featured Article: Grand Discussions
Resources You Can Use

Opening Remarks: Dad's Day

Most men are the “go to” guys in the family. At least that is common perception. And that’s fine. We’re supposed to fix stuff, climb on the roof to get our child’s Frisbee, mow the lawn, change the car’s oil and so on. Not to say moms can’t do these things. As we all know, mothers do a whole lot of great stuff! But fathers take care of many tasks with a get ‘er done attitude. So for this year’s Father’s Day, keep in mind that Dad is also the “go to” guy for inspiration, appreciation, and advice (as long as you ask for it – I find it best to hold back on the unsolicited kind).

Make sure to remember and honor your father on Father's Day. This year the official day is Sunday, June 20th. I discovered a web site with a lot of interesting history and thoughtful messages, gift ideas and other resources. It's

Dads, give thanks for your children and continue to support them. It's not easy for many men to express their emotions, but consider this a "fist bump" to all you stoic dads. Happy Father's Day!

You are receiving this e-zine because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. If a friend DID forward this to you consider subscribing by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter – simply reply to this email e-zine.

While the main focus of this newsletter is to share thoughts, ideas, and insights on life story writing you should know that I offer various services and also mention some products and services that can be helpful. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, but if any of these products or services are helpful and you decide to utilize them then I am most grateful.

Thanks for reading. – Tom

Featured Article: Grand Discussions

By Tom Gilbert - Copyright © June, 2010

There are a lot of things in life that can be considered “grand” moments. For instance, a week ago, in his very first major league at-bat, rookie Daniel Nava came to the plate for the Boston Red Sox with the bases loaded and on the first pitch hit a home run. A grand slam in his first at bat! I saw it live on television and it was amazing, especially for a diehard Red Sox fan like me.

The first time I saw the Grand Canyon it took my breath away. What an incredible sight. And when my wife walked down the aisle towards me on our wedding day twenty five years ago it was quite the grand entrance.

You’ve had your share of grand moments. Have you ever written about them? What about discussing these grand life experiences with friends or family members?

There’s an education tool teachers use in classrooms that is student-centered and is a great way to share insights about a story or book. It’s called a grand discussion. The purpose is to explore the big ideas and reflect on your feelings. I think this can be a terrific device to help those writing their autobiographies, memoirs or life stories.

Consider the setting. A group of interested individuals engaged in writing about their lives meet at a workshop. They’ve all previously read the same book or story. Perhaps it is a selection from the fine anthology, My Words Are Gonna Linger (see Resources You Can Use below). Each person has also written a brief reflection in their journal, recording their impressions and feelings about the story. The workshop leader then initiates the discussion, asking for participants to share their feelings about the story or book. Everyone takes turns contributing and the facilitator encourages all to contribute and helps to keep any one person from dominating the talk.

I think grand discussions can be very useful in helping memoir writers to uncover what makes for a good life story. It allows everyone to ask questions and to share honestly their reactions. No one is judged and everyone should be encouraged to use what they learn to apply to their own writing efforts.

After the discussion it’s suggested that the participants do another journal entry and write about what they’ve learned and their insights.

You can read other articles on life-story writing here.

Resources You Can Use

Getting Started on Your Story

One you recognize that you have a life story and you want to preserve it you are confronted with the challenge of figuring out how to get started. I tell people there are many ways to go about it and every project is different. But I can give you some basic information and I’m flexible in creating work relationships with clients. Get more details here.

My Words Are Gonna Linger

There are a number of helpful books about life story writing. An excellent anthology has been released from the Association of Personal Historians. As described on the APH website, My Words Are Gonna Linger: The Art of Personal History — celebrates the full range of life story writing, from lighthearted stories and deeply felt reminiscence to eyewitness accounts of history. Available now from Personal History Press, this rich collection of 49 stories from real life — gathered or written by members of the Association of Personal Historians — also explores the importance of life review and why these stories matter so much. For more info and to order go here.

Closing Information

That’s it for this month’s issue. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit our blog regularly, and here’s to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know you’ve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.

Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this ‘zine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, – keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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