Story and Why
"Your Life is Your
© Tom Gilbert
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Closed For 70 Years Opened and It's Like a Time Capsule
May 22, 2017
It was a remarkable discovery when a Paris apartment, locked since
1939, was recently opened. It was like stepping back in time - a time
capsule of sorts - and the amazing amount of art inside makes it quite
a treasure trove.
The woman who lived in the flat for many years, Mrs. De Florian, had
fled to the south of France before World War Two broke out. She never
returned and after she died at the age of 91
it was opened to take inventory of her assets. And there were some
amazing discoveries, including a painting of a beautiful French woman
since identified as Marthe de Florian. She was the grandmother of Mrs.
De Florian and a French actress and socialite. That painting turned out
to be a work by 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini and was
sold at auction for over $3 million dollars! Apparently Boldini was one
of her many admirers.
There were some other fascinating finds in the apartment. Some great
pictures are included in the Daily
Mail article, Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70
years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled
at outbreak of WWII.
Historical discoveries such as this can be quite amazing. However, it
is possible you have some great discoveries with interesting family
history stories stored away in old letters, journals and photo albums.
Unlock these treasures. Preserving our personal history is important.
R.I.P to the APH
May 17, 2017
A week ago I received a surprising email. It was sent to all the
members of the Association
of Personal Historians (APH), a not-for-profit trade
organization with members around the world, announcing the dissolution
of the organization.
This was a shock. But unfortunately a necessary move that the Board of
Directors struggled over, but ultimately had to implement. Apparently
the 21 year old association has been experiencing increasing
difficulties to meet expenses. Not enough membership renewals or new
members and the costs of running the fine organization were oustripping
the operating budget.
I am saddened by the news having been a member since 2003. But it does
not mean the end of the personal history and life story movement.
People are increasingly finding ways to preserve their stories
(memoirs, videobiographies, digital and material scrapbooks, photo
albums, websites and much more).
It is often difficult for people to make a profitable business out of
life story work. Most personal historians do it for the love of the
work and the countless good reasons for saving life stories. Having the
support of others and an organization with resources and networking
opportunities is valuable. Fortunately enough of the APH members are
interested in keeping connected and already using social media like
Facebook to do so.
My intent is to continue to wave the banner of support for people
telling their story. I do this work and promotion along with my
fulltime teaching gig, so I do what I can on a part-time basis. But I
will continue to promote the services and providers that I think can
provide quality and rewarding work for those who are interested in
preserving their lives with their life stories.
So long and farewell APH. Sorry to see you go, but thanks for the years
of valuable resources and friends I've met during your twenty-plus year
May is Personal History Month
May 10, 2017
It's already the tenth of May and I've been very busy, but it is
important that I remind you that this is Personal History
Month. I've talked about it in past years and you can read
an article I
wrote a few years ago and just updated right
Publisher's Good Tips About Writing Your Life Story
April 25, 2017
I am not a publisher. I don't publish manuscripts, I don't print books
and I am not an agent to help get you published.
I am, however, a personal historian with the skills to help you write
and preserve your life story, memoir or autobiography.
You might wonder what publishers think about people writing a book
about their lives. If you don't already know it, the field of
publishing is extremely competitive. Many people dream of writing a
best-seller and getting their book into the hands of thousands or
millions of people. But the odds are tough. Publishers don't like to
take many risks. They get thousands of unsolicited manuscripts and you
can imagine that many hardly get a look, much less a consideration.
Does that mean you shouldn't attempt it? Not according to Henry Quinlan
from Omni Publishing Company. He, like most publishers, will tell you
how challenging it is to get published. And he will also tell you that
in your first effort you should self-publish. I agree with that
approach. But he also has some good encouraging advice, such as
figuring out who your audience is, coming up with a good title, knowing
who you before you try to share your story, and most importantly, focus
on the writing.
You can read the consise post, Publisher offers secrets to scribbling your
life story (from the Sippican Week) and see
what you think. I believe the publisher has some good timps about
writing your life story.
First Woman to Run in the Boston Marathon Runs Again
April 18, 2017
Yesterday was the 121st running of the Boston Marathon.
This is the granddaddy of marathons with a lot of history in a city
with a lot of history. For those who have followed my blog and writing
for some time you know that I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan as well as a
long distance runner. I've never run in the Boston Marathon (it's on my
bucket list), but I have run marathons and half marathons. It would be
cool to do this race and run past Fenway Park!
Four years ago the world was shocked and angered when two terrorists
set off bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. 2013 became
the year of "Boston Strong" with rallying cries that included David
"Big Papi" Ortiz of the Red Sox. The baseball team fittingly won the
World Series that year and it was probably a cathartic thing for all
those who were sadly affected by the bombings. I happened to watch the
movie about those events of 2013, Patriots
Day, on Sunday night. The movie is currently
available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
One of the great stories
from this year's Boston Marathon was Katherine Switzer at the age of 70
running the marathon 50 years after being the first female to run in
the race. It's sad to think that at one time the race didn't allow
women runners and in 1967 she had to "sneak" in by using initials in
her entry. During the race there was an attempt by the race director to
stop her, but other runners intervened and she finished in 4 hours 20
minutes. Running it again this year was a triumph for her and
other women runners, all 14,000 of them.
To me this is a great story. So many people have interesting lives and
experiences. I have a special fondness for runners because I know the
difficulty of the training and long miles of marathons. Perhaps you are
a runner - consider documenting your story and experiences. It could
provide inspiration to others.
Team that Works
April 12, 2017
Teamwork is a common theme at our workplaces, schools and homes. If
people don't work well together it can create a lot of friction and
headaches. If you are part of a team striving to reach a goal it takes
all the team members collaborating to achieve the goal.
This is obvious to me as an elementary school teacher. The students
work together in teams on a lot of projects. Tomorrow, in fact, we "go
to Mars" to join with students from other schools in our Mission to Mars
project. It's a highlight of the 5th grade year. All the students have
had individual assignments during the year in learning about colonizing
Mars, but they also have had many group (team) assignments.
Teamwork applies as well to a personal history project. You can try to
do it all yourself. But that is really hard and can be more time
consuming and frustrating that it's worth. If you hire a professional
to help you preserve your life story you create a team. You are part of
the team along with the professionals you hire.
I do lots of consulting, coaching and writing with individuals, but
I've also worked with organizations. I also collaborate and network
with other personal history professionals. I've found I don't have all
the skills or desire to do every part of a book project. This is
particularly true when it comes to the book layout, binding and
printing. I'd rather use people who specialize in this work. I'm much
better at the interviewing and the writing process.
If you are looking for memoir or life story assistance I invite you to
explore this website further, especially for life story services and
the many free articles I have written over the years. Additionally, as
a member of the Association
of Personal Historians (APH), I am in contact
with other professionals who may be able to assist you in your life
has a story to tell!
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