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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #92 –We Are Story
February 26, 2012

"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

February 26, 2012
Issue #92 – We Are Story

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Thanks, Dad
Featured Article – We Are Story

Opening Remarks: Thanks, Dad

I’m writing this issue of the Your Life Is Your Story newsletter in Kansas City. I’m here with my sister and brother, a month and two weeks after the last time we were gathered here in this Midwestern city. The occasion then was the death of our father. Big sister lives here, but my brother and I both traveled from our hometowns. We’d planned the trip in November when it became clear that Dad’s health was rapidly declining. We didn’t know that weekend in January we’d all witness and participate in Dad’s journey to the other side, but that’s what happened and it was a holy experience to be present with him.

The return visit is so we can take his ashes to their final resting place at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He’ll be interred alongside Mom who passed in 2006. Dad will get his full military burial, rightly deserved for his many years of Air Force service. Leslie, Doug and I have grown ever closer through this time and we are acutely aware of how our parents’ lives are intertwined with our own. Our life stories include celebrating their legacy. As I ponder the many memories my heart grows ever more grateful – thanks, Dad.

Thank you to all the new subscribers. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue. 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: We Are Stories

By Tom Gilbert - Copyright © February, 2012

The more I engage in personal history work the more I am impressed how all of it is really part of story. Story is the shape of our lives. Stories are the ideal way to pass on lessons, to share our journeys, to engage our audience. History is merely a collection of stories and I particularly enjoy the fact that the very word has “story” in it.

My latest career as a teacher of Social Studies to middle school students has reinforced the value of story as a way to teach. I share the stories of civilizations past along with my own stories of life. My hope is that the young people in my classes make the connection between past lives and their own.

The arc of every great story is much like each of our journeys. We are the protagonist and hero in our own stories. You may not perceive it as such. Perhaps you are a reluctant hero. But there is no escaping it; you are the main character in your life and as such you are on the hero’s journey.

Today’s world with its rapidly evolving and expanding technology is allowing us to share our stories like never before. Yet it still takes real thought and reflection to get to the heart of our stories. Social media allows us to make pithy comments and gain insight from each other, but the sharing can also be shallow and trivial.

Enter the personal historians, the midwives for your story. We exist to help you “birth” your life story. What I’ve discovered is we need that “other” to talk to. You may be a great writer and articulate your journey well, but even gifted writers need a sounding board. Personal historians can help you discover your story and preserve it in written, spoken or visual form.

People’s stories are undeniably of interest. Witness the March issue of Reader’s Digest which features a number of excellent 150-word life stories from their recent essay contest. The editor accurately refers to them as “writings from the extraordinary ordinary”.

For years I’ve been a member of APH – the Association of Personal Historians – and this group of incredibly dedicated and creative writers, artists, biographers and story catchers are doing a very valuable service in preserving lives one story at a time. In fact, we’ve recently adopted the slogan, “The Life Story People”.

In addition to the APH I am delighted to continue to discover other means to capture story. Two that I’ve recently come across are Cowbird and Imastory.

Cowbird ( cowbird) is a growing collection of stories on the web with depth and meaning. An excellent use of photographs engages you in each story. Jonathan Harris is the primary story agent and he shares from his heart and pen along with a growing community of “invited” members.

Imastory (imastory) – as in, “I’m a story” – is a place to share your stories and encourage you to capture your life tales and that of others through a free site that is both engaging, technically advanced and easy to use. Rolland Love, a writer and speaker, has spent years helping elders write their stories, but his latest epiphany is to encourage young people in schools to interview and write the stories of their parents and grandparents. You can bet that resonates with me!

Investigate these sites and see if they can help you with sharing your story. Everyone has a story and we need to share our stories to help us appreciate and understand our journey through life.

Read other articles on life-story writing 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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