Story and Why
"Your Life is Your
© Tom Gilbert
quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products,
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past entries - see the blog
Getting Started Special
June 29, 2015
I communicate with a lot of people about personal history and lifestory
work. Two common themes emerge from a majority of these conversations:
How do I get started? How much does it cost?
The discussion of fees is always a little dicey. Before a Personal
Historian can quote your a fee we need to get an idea of the type and
amount of work that will be involved. Interviews, transcription,
writing, research and revision - this is just some of the work
involved. It can be a lot of work, but the end result - preserving your
life story - is invaluable.
Last week subscribers of my free Your Life Is Your Story newsletter
were offered a "Getting Started Special". I am now extending that to
everyone. It's an affordable way to begin and an opportunity for us to
work together and for you to get something preserved and a better
understanding of what is involved in life story work.
For a limited number of people I will record a 30 minute interview,
transcribe it, and create an interesting and well written narrative. I
would normally charge $300 for this type of project, but for a limited
number of people I am offering it for just $100. Send me an email and I'll contact you to discuss how to proceed.
Here's to your story!
First Global Satellite Production Included Beatles and All You Need Is Love
June 25, 2015
42 years ago today the first global satellite television event took
place. It is most remembered for the Beatles debuting a song they wrote
for the broadcast. "All You Need Is Love" still resonates today as a
much needed positive message in our often troubled world. In 1967, at
the height of the Vietnam War, it was particularly timely. The Beatles
were the biggest rock band in the world and 400 million people in 26
As noted on the LiveLeak website,
this event known as "Our World" included other artists like opera
singer Maria Callas and artist Pablo Picasso. Nowadays it would be much
easier to orchestrate this type of event, but in 1967 it was a bit
revolutionary. The message of love is essential to us all. We all have
the need to love and be loved. Thank you to the Beatles for this Throwback Thursday and their anthem 42 years ago today.
Father's Day and Then Some
June 22, 2015
Father's Day was yesterday. I hope it was good for all concerned.
Sometimes this feels like a lost holiday among all the others, but Dads
need a day, too!
I am blessed to be a son, brother, father and grandfather. As a
Personal Historian I see how much more women seem to be concerned with
family stories and our histories. It can be harder to get men to talk
about their lives. Sure, there are the exceptions. Anybody got one of
those "crazy" uncles with a million stories and a willingness to tell
anybody and everybody about them?
Yesterday was more than Father's Day as a number of a notables
converged on this June 21. It was also a birthday for one of my
nephews. Joshua turned thirteen and enters teenage-dom! One of my other
nephews, Shea, celebrated his first wedding anniversary yesterday. And
it was the Summer Solstice, to boot. Hence the title of this post, Father's Day and Then Some.
One of the more intriguing Father's Day themed stories I came across,
thanks to the intrepid members of the Association of Personal
Historians (Facebook page here) Thanks to Stephanie Allen West for tipping us to the heartwarming tale, Artist Creates Ripples by Illustrating Father-Daughter Stories.
The writer of the article, Brittany Hodak, lost her father three years
ago and it was close to Father's Day. He was only 51 and so it was much
too soon. Her article caught the eye of Debasmita Dasgupta, an Indian
artist who specializes in creating images based on inspiring
Father-Daughter stories. It's a pretty cool story and the artwork is
well worth viewing. I don't want to spoil the specialness of how global
her work has become and the impact it is having. I will tell you her
efforts are creating some real change in the world and I do hope you check this story out.
Invest in Your Legacy with Your Life Story
June 17, 2015
What could be more valuable to us that the stories of our lives shared
with our family and friends, including future generations? I am sure
there might be other things that rank high on our lists, but telling
what life means to you, what it means to live in this time, how the
experiences of your life have made you who you are, and what/who is
important to you are incredibly important things to share. Especially
when it is coming straight from you (in your words or as told to
In a very real sense telling your life story is investing in your
legacy. Personal History is part of the greater picture of the history
of our times. In the continuing blog series about the 20 reasons why
you should write your family history is reason #15: Writing is reflective. Writing is investing in yourself. Jean Sheppard makes some insightful and humorous points in this post on the APH blog.
Be sure to check out the entire series here. #APH20.
100 Year Old School Blackboards Give Glimpse of the Past
June 13, 205
A school in Oklahoma has been remodeling and when the workers tore out
the old chalkboards on the walls so they could install new
sophisticated interactive smartboards a remarkable discovery was made.
Behind the old chalkboards were previous blackboards with amazingly
preserved chalk lessons, drawings and writing. It is like an
unintentional time-capsule. Beautiful cursive writing and admonitions
for good living had Emerson High School Principal Sherry Kishore
commenting, “It was almost like a spiritual moment because people
who had lived and played and worked in here ... a part of them is
See the story written by Tim Willert for The Oklahoman.
Remembering Ray Charles
June 11, 2015
was about this time eleven years ago that the great Ray Charles passed
away. He was quite the singer and performer and I am grateful that I
saw him one time in concert. The man was blessed with enormous talent.
Ray was great at blues, R&B, soul, Country, Jazz - heck, he could really turn a phrase regardless of the genre. He also didn't let his blindness hold him back.
Throwback Thursday (#TBT) to June 10, 2004 for my blog post.
Finding Life Story Resources and Assistance
June 8, 2015
Where do you go when you need to find help preserving your life story?
Perhaps you've asked yourself that question. Chances are good that is
why you are on this website!
Help is available in a lot of places. The Internet makes it possible to
search for personal historians, writing resources, online workshops and
so much more. The world we live in is wired and connected.
Yet so many of us are not connected to our story.
The story of our lives - the experiences that have formed us, shaped us
and influence us as we continue to live our lives. Many people really
want to preserve this personal history in order to better understand it
and share their life journeys with others.
If you haven't yet discovered beneficial resources like The MemoryGrabber, The Memoir Network, I'm a Story, and The Journal then by all means visit here
for capsule summaries of these resources. You will also find out more
about some of the other family history and life story resources I and
others like me offer. Take some time to investigate and then take some action
to tell your story. Everyone has a story and sharing your life values
and lessons can benefit others as well as help you better understand
your journey and purpose.
Recovering from Brain Injuries Helped by Storytelling
June 5, 2015
I came across an interesting story from The Guardian about how to better understand brain injury survivors - Brain injury survivors are storytelling their way to recovery. An online writing project, Who Are We Now?
has the survivors of brain injuries sharing in their own words who they
are, what happened to them and how their experiences have changed them.
The project uses oral history storytelling techniques, but the
survivors also work on the end project, many of them developing some
good hands-on skills in editing and designing. Additionally, some of
the communication problems resulting from brain injuries are improved
through the storytelling process.
Little AJ and Photo Memories
June 4, 2015
A Throwback Thursday
photo to wish my nephew, A.J., a happy birthday. It is hard to believe
this fine young man is now 24 years old. He is a wonderful man and was
a really fun kid. The son of Art Trujillo, my brother-in-law, continues
to play good baseball while he finishes his college degree. It is his
passion. Mine, too, although I never had the talent he does.
One of my fondest memories of A.J. was when he was around two years
old. He and his dad visited us while we were in California and my
daughter entertained him by running around the house with her hobby
horse. Kristen was probably four. A.J. was in a playpen and Kristen
would run by him on her little horsie, then around the corner and out
of sight, only to reappear seconds later. This really cracked A.J. up
and he would jump up and down and laugh. It was that infectious and
contagious laugh that little kids do. A fond memory.
It really is not hard to recall and share stories about family members.
Go through some old photographs and think about the memories they
spark. Then jot down some notes. Do a little "time traveling" and
visualize what took place when the photo was snapped. Pictures
certainly enhance our written life stories. Even more, they can help
you recall past times.
A Running Story Link to Show and Tell
June 1, 2015
Today I spent time with a half a dozen people at the Bear Canyon
Estates Independent Living Community. It was an adult "Show & Tell"
event to help promote personal history awareness and my sister and I
had an opportunity to talk about some life experiences and show some
treasured items that had stories connected to the life experiences. I
felt like we helped these people appreciate that we all have a story to
tell, maybe even a few stories, and that many of them are prompted by
reflecting on an item shared with others.
One of the things I talked about was running my first half marathon
(13.1 miles) and how that led to other half and full marathons. I
did it in June 0f 2006, partly for the challenge, but mostly to honor
my mother and brother-in-law, both cancer victims. I ran the San Diego
Rock n' Roll (half) Marathon and I spoke about fundraising and training
with Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They raise money for cancer research, a worthy cause.
When I returned home from today's "Show & Tell" event I heard on
the news about another runner. She'd just completed her 15th San Diego
Marathon. She is a cancer survivor and has been a supporter of Team
in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, raising over $90,000
for research. But that's not the most remarkable thing about her story.
She is also 91 years old. Harriette Thompson set a record for her age,
finishing the marathon in seven hours, seven minutes and 41 seconds.
Quite remarkable. It is amazing that she could do this, amazing that
she's survived cancer, and super amazing that she ran her first
marathon at the age of 76! She has already made plans to run again next
year. (see story)
Showing and telling about your personal history can be inspirational
and very important to your mental and physical well-being. It also is a
great thing to do for family and friends.
has a story to tell!
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