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The weekends always seem to go too fast. Here it is, already
Sunday evening. But I am grateful for having time to
"recharge my batteries" after a busy week and also to engage in family
One of my nieces (and god-daughter) made her first Holy Communion this
weekend and that was a great event for her and a time of family
gathering together and celebrating another special memory. I
hope you get the opportunity to experience special events like that.
I have just updated the "Highlight Site" section of this website and
you can find out more about the fine services offered by Denis Ledoux
and the Soleil LifeStory Network - go
He's in the YouTube
top 10 most watched, people look up to him as a
genuine and caring person (even surrogate granddad) and he doesn't seek
out fame or publicity, yet he's become something of an Internet
I've written about Peter Oakley (geriatric1927 as he is known on
YouTube) before (here)
and his short autobiographical videos continue to
attract new viewers. It's unusual for anyone to spend as much time on
their computer as he now does, but particularly so for a 79-year old.
One of the more interesting and comprehensive stories about him online
that I've seen was recently posted at ThisIsDerbyshire.co.uk.
So what is it about this elder that people find so appealing?
It's not a flashy presentation. He's not pushing a
product. He's not sure himself. "I don't rehearse or edit
anything. I just sit there and talk." Yet, what he talks
about is striking a chord with people. It's honest and
down-to-earth and obviously resonating
As geriatric1927 is demonstrating in a big way, everyone
has a story to tell.
You can view one of his latest videos (and
others) here at YouTube.com.
You have a story to tell, but it takes time to do it. It
takes thoughtful consideration about your life and the memories, good
and bad, that have formed your unique personal experience.
When we share our story with someone it is possible that something
special and powerful can happen. We can provide insight,
inspiration, life lessons and encouragement to others who are going
through their life journey, especially when they face difficult
challenges. This happens if we are honest and willing to help
others by sharing about our life.
Everyday we can create memories, not only for ourselves, but more
importantly for others by how we live and what we pass along.
A great example of this is shared through the Simple Truths
website and Johnny's story. Johnny took it upon himself to
make his job of customer service a special experience each day for the
shoppers he helped. See for yourself here.
I continue to be pleased with the iMemoryBook
product. The ability to build your story through a password
protected personalized web site, add pictures and other graphics, write
your story and also invite contributions from others is a powerful,
easy and affordable way to tell your story.
Family Learn (the company that developed the iMemoryBook) is
constantly working to improve the product and I've been testing their
new beta site that has some interesting improvements.
I'm happy that one of the people I've worked with recently, Taroub
Al-Aref, has received her copies of her iMemoryBook and is
pleased with it. Brave
Decisions was a story she felt compelled to tell and she
didn't let challenges prevent her from getting it done. She
did most of the writing, but I helped her edit and revise and format
the story. She is from Jordan and her english is decent, but
she invited me to help her with it. I was certainly pulled in
by her powerful tale of living (with her husband and childrend) through
the difficulties of both Desert Storm and the current conflict in Iraq.
You, too, can tell your story. It is easier than you might
think when you take the proper steps and ask for help.
Taroub's book was relatively short, but is powerful.
If you would like to discover more about the iMemoryBook
I hope your weekend went well. I don't know about you, but I
treasure weekends, even though they seem to "fly" right by.
This is due in good part to a full life. As many of
you are aware, I am a personal historian/writer in addition to a
full-time radio broadcasting career. Add in family life, and
other pursuits (running, spirituality, etc.) and it can be stressful as
well as busy.
However, a lesson that has been reinforced to me over and over is that
it is crucial to do what you love and what you feel called to in life.
I have a call to write and I feel a special kinship with
those who want to get their story in writing.
One of the ways that I keep "the fire burning" for life story writing
(and all kinds of related issues) is by writing about it online.
I do this primarily through this "blog" and through my
monthly free e-zine
to Your Life is Your
Last week I was on a teleconference with other personal historians, all
members of the great APH
non-profit organization, and the subject was blogging and
ezine/newsletters. It was very informative and helpful.
Most people who are blogging take advantage of the many blogging sites
that have software and templates that make it easy to do (such as www.blogger.com
For my blog, I really don't utilize the typical approach of
these providers. The drawback is that I don't have a place
for you to post comments, trackbacks and the like. That may
change in the future, but if you want to comment you always can by emailing me. I do
like hearing from you.
I want to give "props" to fellow APH members who provided good insight
on the teleconference. The facilitator (organized the call
and emceed the event) was Lissa Ann Forbes. I've met her and
we've talked shop in person, on the phone and online. She has
an online newsletter and you can subscribe to Write from the Inside: The Ezine at
her website, www.TheElementalPress.com.
She also maintains a blog here.
And she is the author of an excellent book on writing about
your life experiences, Write from
the Inside: Dig for Treasures, Discover Yourself, Leave a Legacy.
Jayne England Byrne offered her valuable insight. She started
to chronicle her battle with breast cancer and offer others
encouragment. Her site is www.jaynes-breastcancer-blog.com.
Stefani Twyford has a lot of online experience in websites, newsletters
and blogging and is starting up a new blog. Find out more at
her site, www.legacymultimedia.com.
Can you be funny, sarcastic, depressed and a brilliant writer?
Kurt Vonnegut made a career of it. Read any of his
novels (some of his most famous are Cat's Cradle,
Pocus) and you may
discover underneath the caustic wit and bitterness there was the hope
that humanity might still someday be kind.
Vonnegut died yesterday at the age of 84 (CBS news story). Norman
Mailer hailed him as "our Mark Twain". He cared about
humanity, but was dissapointed in the history of society and culture.
Many baby boomers read Vonnegut and no doubt, in the wake of his
passing, many more will now discover his work.
I hope that all of you had a good weekend, and especially for those of
you who celebrated Easter yesterday. I often comment on the
importance of special occasions, such as holidays, as great times to be
present and cherishing the moments of family. At holiday
gatherings we often get the opportunity to share our life experiences.
Young ones can gather around the elders and hear some family
Preserving our stories for the next generations is not the only reason
to do so. The very process of writing about your life provides insight
and can lead to real personal and spiritual growth. It has
certainly been so with me.
I enjoyed our get together yesterday with my wife's family.
Since my immediate family is in Kansas City and Virginia I am
grateful that I can share in my family of in-laws. One of the
special memories of yesterday was the backyard Easter egg hunt for my
two young nieces. After they found all the plastic eggs with
candy and coins inside my son then enjoyed repeatedly hiding the eggs
for them to find again. When kids find things they like they
enjoy doing it over and over again. It was a simple act of
discovery to re-find the eggs, but it serves as a fitting metaphor for
personal history preservation. Once we've completed a life story
project it is there to revisit and reminisce over and learn new lessons
Not everyone who writes their personal story will get it published.
Of course, many dream of writing their story but never follow
through. You have to make a commitment and actually do the
writing (or hire someone to do it for you) to get your story in print.
Once the book is done getting it published by a major publishing house
is a huge challenge. I always recommend that people pursue
self-publishing routes, of which there are many. However, if
your story is good enough it can be picked up by a major publisher.
It might sit around for a while until the right person
reviews it. But a 96 year old man in England who didn't write
his story, The
Invisible Wall, until he was 93, has the good fortune of
an editor for Random House finding his manuscript a year after he sent
it in to the London office. Kate Elton, the editor, has
described it as "unputdownable".
Read more of this story at MSN