Your Life is Your Story Go To Your Life is Your Story Home Page

The "Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives

© Tom Gilbert

Read about quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products, links, services

                     ...and whatever else catches our fancy of personal historian  

April, 2018

current blog entries
blog archive index

Is there an easy button for writing?

April 24, 2018

My main job these days is teaching 5th grade. I love kids and I like learning, but it is not an easy job. This is especially true when I am excited about something that the students can't find enthusiasm for.

Writing is one of those areas. I like to write, but I admit that I struggle with it. Writing is hard work; it is not easy. Still, there are times when I find enjoyment doing it.  Many of my students, on the other hand, resist.
I get a lot of pushback. This is because they are still learning how to write and they often get frustrated because they want it to be really good without having to put a lot of effort into it. Does that sound familiar?

If you want to be an accomplished writer of your life stories you need to spend time  doing pre-writing. Go for a walk and reminisce about your life. Create a memory list. Brainstorm and journal. All these activities will help prime the pump for when you sit down to write.

Also, don't approach your life story or memoir writing with the idea you have to go from start to finish in a particular order. Too many people believe you must start at the beginning of your life and work chronologically. This may work for some, but I personally think it is better to sit down and write about an experience. This is where your memory list comes in handy. There are probably several experiences in your life that you think about a lot and there is an interesting tale to tell.

Try writing short stories. Save them. Later you can group them together in some fashion that works best for your overall memoir. You can group by time periods in your life or by themes.

There is no easy button for writing. But you can get excited when you do just a bit at a time. Also, find someone to encourage and coach you. I do that for others. So, too, does Denis Ledoux of The Memoir Network. He posted recently about How to Make Writing Easier.

There may not be an easy button for writing, but I do think it gets easier the more you do it and it can be very satisfying when you finish a writing project. Writing is something of an art and we certainly need more art in our lives.

Celebrate the Earth Today

April 22, 2018

Today is Earth Day 2018. Our common home needs to be treated with love, respect, and care. Despite the many differences and challenges we face, Mother Earth is our planet. We've got to treat our planet better. It is not disposable, just as our lives are precious and not to be thrown away.

There is a terrific animated Google Doodle Video featuring Jane Goodall that you should watch. See it here.

Advance Directives Give Voice to Your Life and Death Care

April 17, 2018

Nobody likes to think about it. We are all going to die. But if you don't think about the end of life and express ahead of time your thoughts on how you want medical care to proceed if you are in a life and death situation then you put the burden on someone else. You leave the difficult decision to continue with family or medical providers.

An advance directive is not really that complicated and there is plenty of information on the web to get you started. A Google search on the term reveals over a million and a half results and includes a definition and sites where you can get forms or directions. You should certainly make sure you create something that meets any legal needs. Doctors, hospitals, and legal firms can provide advice and information, too.  

My son is a registered nurse working in an intensive care unit. He sees firsthand the angst and challenges for people when a patient doesn't have an advance directive.  He reminds me that this is something people really need to do.

I also encourage people to think about any thoughts, values and messages you want to share in advance of death. An ethical will (sometimes called a Legacy Letter) is a great way to write out your gratitude for family and loved ones and is a cherished document for them to keep.

Just yesterday I found out a friend of mine, not much older than me, suddenly passed away from a heart attack. So writing this post is a timely reminder to you and me. Live your life fully, but also plan ahead.

Her Goal Really Was to Climb a Mountain

April 12, 2018

Montana Kelly, 7 year old climber of Mount Kilimanjaro3Some people view major goals, the ones that are very difficult and challenging, as metaphorically a mountain to climb. But for 7-year old Montana Kelly, a second grader from Austin, Texas, this was literally her goal. She wanted to be the youngest girl to ever climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. That is not insignificant; the mountain is higher than 19,000 feet!

She did it, accompanied by her mother and some guides. It wasn't easy and on top of the physical toll on her body she also had to keep up with her school work at night in her tent. As an elementary school teacher I find this particularly inspiring.

Completing the climb is pretty amazing for anyone, especially a girl so young. She has a special memory to treasure for the rest of her life. I think her mother also will consider this a life highlight.

What makes her accomplishment even more special is that Montana did in honor of her father who she lost when she was just three years old. A great tribute by a true hero.

| link to the ABC News story |

When I Walk

April 8, 2017

When I walk I go to another place. Literally, of course, as in the places my feet take me. But I am speaking also of another place, a meditative and contemplative space, where I can think, reflect, dream and just be.

For me, walking is more than exercise. Surely it does satisfy that necessary movement of body parts. Staying fit and limber is important, especially as I age. When I walk, however, my perceived age is not my actual chronological age. Certainly I do not feel sixty-two as I stroll, amber or trudge the path.

The Path. Part of my purpose in walking is to be on this Path. Not a destination, instead a journey. When I walk I write. Yes, my head composes thoughts and reflections that often turn into prose. I walked about a mile and a half before sitting down to write this piece.

When I walk I slow down. I take in the surroundings, breathe the air (which today was a bit challenging since the trees are blooming and my allergies have awakened!), and my sense of smell and sight goes to work.

| continue reading |

Everybody has a story to tell!
Copyright © 2003 - 2018 All rights reserved
Email Tom Gilbert