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Jane Fonda's memoir book tour continues and here's an interesting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article from her visit to Milwaukee. Of particular
interest was Fonda's mention that she took a year off at about age 60
to analyze her life, what she called the first two-thirds.
Wouldn't it be great if we all could take time off to do this? If that's
not an option, at least consider taking a weekend retreat for yourself
where you can get away from the "busyness" of day-to-day life
and look at where you've been, where you are now and where'd you would
like to go.
She's been a sex bomb and a radical activist. She made bestselling workout
tapes and married a media tycoon. She's a two-time Academy Award winner
and daughter of a Hollywood legend. Now, at age 67, Jane Fonda considers
herself to be in "act three" of her life and has just published
her memoir, My Life So Far (Random House), which currently
sits atop the NY Times bestseller list.
Jane Fonda was in Albuquerque today speaking at a local bookstore (Page
One) and signing autographed copies of her memoir. She also is speaking
at a reception to benefit the Rape Crisis Center. I didn't attend either
event, but I couldn't help notice the story in Friday's issue of the Albuquerque
Journal. The fact that another well known celebrity has published her
life story may not be that significant, except that to someone in the
personal history field it is another sign of the continued growing interest
in life stories.
Many people either love or despise Jane Fonda. She alienated a number
of veterans and Americans when she went to Hanoi during the Vietnam War.
At the same time she's an accomplished actress and a hard worker for social
causes. I was quite surprised when she married Ted Turner as they seemed
to be on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Nevertheless, it just
shows that people are complex and simplistic categorizing of a person
fails to reveal their depth.
I still encounter many people who think that in order to publish a memoir
they must be famous, or worse, that their story must be a bestseller to
be successful (whether they are famous or not). I believe the value of
anyone's story is in recognizing the worth of any life and the importance
of sharing your experience for the benefit of others, especially your
A thought occurs to me. Writers make appearances at book stores to give
readings and signings. If you write and produce a life story, memoir or
autobiography it might be a grand idea to have your own gathering of friends
and family and to do some reading from your book. Serve refreshments,
have copies of the book available and personally sign them and celebrate
your life story in print!
The late Pope John Paul II didn't personally accumulate wealth or property.
Nevertheless, he did feel it important to write a last will and testament.
What he wrote in a series of entries spanning 22 years was basic instructions
for his funeral and a fascinating, intimate sharing about his spiritual
In essence, the pope wrote an ethical will. You can read the text posted
here at MSNBC.
In the movie Closer, Jude Law's character is a writer whose
one book quickly vanishes from the literary landscape. Like many writers
he has a "day" job. He pays the bills by writing obituaries
for a newspaper. In discussing this with another character he reveals
that when prominent people die the obit-writers go to the "deep-freeze"
files where they gather research on the deceased. In effect, the obituary
has been pre-written.
Today I read a couple of obituaries of famous people. Prince Ranier of Monaco has died at age 81. He transformed the tiny country
(smaller than New York City's Central Park) into a very successful financial
center, but is probably remembered by most people as the man who wed movie
star Grace Kelly.
The other prominent death was of novelist Saul Bellow. He was a literary giant who won the Nobel prize for literature
in 1976 and was hailed as one of the most respected chroniclers of postwar
America. Intellectual and sharp witted, his writing dissected the souls
of his many protaganists.
Obituaries are mini-life stories. At their best they reveal more than
just the facts of their careers and surviving family members. They give
us some insight into their character and invite us to explore their lives
and their contributions more fully.
At the end of your life if people consider you to have been honest, loving,
compassionate, dedicated, humble and true to your calling you would have
to consider that a successful life.
I think all of the above describes Pope John Paul II. He served as the
leader of the Catholic church for twenty-six years. One of the things
I really liked about him was that he didn't flaunt his office and he didn't
try to make everyone believe exactly as he did. He had very strong beliefs
but he also recognized the universal faith many have in God's love.
I believe God's love is freely given to everyone and no one religion has
cornered the market. I also believe the late pope was a good man and a
Everybody has a story to tell!
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