Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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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
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
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
Her Goal Really Was to Climb a Mountain
April 12, 2018
Some 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.
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.
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