Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products,
...and whatever else catches our fancy
(National Public Radio) has begun a new feature. It focuses on the
various "Main Streets" in America. For instance, their first dispatch
was from Chattanooga, Tennessee. A musically sounding name for a town,
for sure, but what you might not know about this quaint southern town
is that Main Street includes a revitalized arts district and a
prostitution strip. They had interviews from both sectors on this
I find this idea intriguing, another twist to the "On the Road" type
features made popular by people like Charles Kuralt. There is a website
for all this, www.mappingmainstreet.org, and you can get lots of
information, follow a blog and search out information on other towns'
Main Streets. It is participatory - you can contribute photos, video
and stories. The history of our towns is part of our personal
And sometimes even now, when I'm feeling lonely and beat
I drift back in time and I find my feet
Down on Mainstreet - from Bob Seger's song, "Main Street"
The Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, leaves an important family legacy
He was the "Lion of the Senate" and his lengthy career on Capitol Hill
spanned decades of change and often turbulent times in America. He
authored hundreds of legislation and co-authored hundreds more. But
many of us remember him, at least in part, as living in the shadow of
his older brothers. Ted Kennedy, longtime senator from
Massachusetts, has died.
The Kennedy family has been storied and a
political dynasty. Joseph,
Jr. was the son expected to become president, but he died young as an
aviator in World War Two. The mantle went to the next son, John F.
Kennedy, and, of course, he did become president, only to be cut down
by an assassin's bullet in his first term. The assassination of brother
Robert Kennedy was a further tragedy. And there have been more deaths
of young Kennedy men over the years. Edward Kennedy lived to the age of
77 and he became the patriarch of the family.
It was not his destiny to be president of the United States. We can
look to his great contributions in the Senate and public service. He
was very involved in civil rights, education and health care. But more
importantly, we can look to ourselves and our own families during this
time when the Kennedy's are in the spotlight. What is it about our
legacies that matters? How do we preserve and pass on the family
stories and values? What do we treasure about our parents and our
siblings, our elders and the children, that need to be honored and
remembered? This is the important work of personal history
preservation. This is why I am involved in life story capture. Lives
remembered is the real stuff of history. If you don't do it in your
family then who will?
With the end of August rapidly approaching I wanted to alert you to the
opportunity to take advantage of the introductory pricing of the Priceless Legacy Company
LifeStory Package. Getting a full hardbound
book with color photographs, plus the DVD digital slideshow and CD of
your oral interviews for just $1,299 is one of the very best deals
available - particularly when you consider the high quality of the end
The price is going up $200, so if you want to take advantage of savings
be sure to contact me. I have more about the service here.
It seems it is a special breed of people who run in endurance races.
I'm speaking of marathons (26.2 miles) and half-marathons (13.1 miles).
In reality, this "special breed" can be everyday people - your
co-workers, friends, neighbors - even you!
The inspirational stories of those who are battling life threatening
blood cancers (Leukemia, Lymphoma and so on) spur me on to continue
with Team in Training
to raise money for research and patient care for
the Leukemia &
Lymphoma Society. I've run marathons and I'm
currently training for another half-marathon and so far I'm happy to
relate that people have donated nearly $2,000 to my fundraising goal.
There are many good causes, but this one is close to my heart for many
reasons, including friends and family members who've died from cancer.
One of my life-story services is Your Life Changing Event.
If you read
some of the short testimonies posted at the Team in Training site it
will give you a good idea of what this means. (more here)
of 1969 hundreds of thousands of young people from around the United
States arrived in upstate New York for an event that defined a
generation. The Woodstock Music and Art Fair,
as 3 days of peace and music, was that – and much more.
August 15, 16,
and 17 were the dates, but it spilled into the 18th when Hendrix woke
everybody up Monday morning with his amazing set. Now it is 40 years
later and the world is looking back and remembering Woodstock.
years I’ve met many people who claim to have been at the
Festival. Some of them probably really were there. One of them is a
friend who told me he was nearly 16 at the time, living in Connecticut
and playing in a rock band. He convinced his mom to drive him and his
band mates to the festival and she did. Amazingly, she even came back
and picked them up afterwards. Barry has lots of stories about that
experience. Others have their memories and stories. You can read some
of them at woodstockstory.com .
The site has a wealth of information about the Woodstock anniversary,
original festival, other similar gatherings and more. There is even
information about Artie Kornfield’s soon-to-be-released
memoir, The Pied Piper of Woodstock (more
A fellow radio broadcaster I know here in Albuquerque
together a great radio special that has been airing nationally on
public radio stations. Paul Ingles produced Back to the
Garden: Woodstock Remembered and you can find out more
about it, even listen online, here.
I also recommend seeing the AARP slideshow featuring
commentary from Paul and wonderful pictures from the 1969 Woodstock
The influence of the Woodstock generation carries on.
always felt that music is a universal language and the message of
peace, love and understanding is essential for our world and our lives.
The Original Guitar
I heard the news yesterday that Les Paul died at the age of 94 (see NPR story)it
stirred emotions and memories. Although I don't claim any real guitar
talent, I do respect the instrument and I've enjoyed the sounds that
players make. This is especially true with the electric guitar. I grew
up in the 60's and 70's and rock music sprung from that era, often with
Les Paul was a true innovator. Not only did he pioneer the electric
guitar (can you imagine the looks he got when he first
toted his amplified "log" into clubs?), but he was a virtuoso
with the instrument. The musicians who admired him are an all star
cast. Of course most of them played the Gibson guitar named for Les
Paul. Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Billy Gibbons, Steve Miller,
and countless others took electric rock guitar playing to new heights
and all were inspired by Les Paul. They didn't just like the instrument
- they liked his playing.
"It's like a butterfly," said Jeff Beck. "Just lightning speed, but
accurate and musical."
Les Paul had a number of hits and grammy's. His first wife Mary Ford
was a singer and she and Paul recorded together. Les Paul came up with
the fascinating idea of multi-track recording and would overdub her
voice to great effect.
If I am blessed to live into my nineties I hope I keep the spark of
life going like Les Paul did. At 93 he was still playing the Iridium, a
basement venue on Broadway at 51st Street in New York. And one of my
favorite albums was Les Paul & Friends: American Made, World Played, released in 2005 when he turned 90.
Legends, inventors and innovators live on and Les Paul certainly left
Help for Memoir Writers From Twitter
help you write your memoir? Perhaps. Even though posts are
limited to 140 characters, people on Twitter come together to discuss
topics. Such is the case every other Wednesday evening at 8pm Eastern
a chat. Specifically, a Twitter chat about writing
Alexis Grant is journalist, traveler and author who
weekly #memoirchat. (Thanks to Stefani
Tywford alerting me to this via
another social media network - Facebook).
Unless you've been off the grid (in which case you aren't reading this
anyway) you know about the social media phenomenon. The continued
online use of YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook is
article notes that research is showing that one of
the largest demographic groups are the Boomers. Members 55 and older
grew 25% in the last month alone. Since I am in
my...ahem...mid 50's...and use Facebook...I can confirm this with
number of boomers I know and interact with. Here's the article.
If you haven't had the opportunity to "get away" from your daily
routine this summer you might be doing yourself a disservice.
I know it is hard to take time off when you are busy and have lots of
competing priorities. (Believe me, I
Know!). And most of us are dealing with the economic
downturn which limits vacation possibilities (again, I know).
But it is still so important to step out of your
routine once in a while. If not, you can fall into a rut.
This past weekend my wife, son and I went camping in the beautiful
Jemez mountains, about two hours from our home in Albuquerque. One of
the highlights was visiting the Jemez Falls. Just getting away from home, in the cool
mountain air and immersed in the beauty of nature, even for a couple of
days does wonders for my outlook. It helps to see the
"bigger" picture of life. We enjoyed some much needed family time
before the school year starts up.
Be sure not to get boxed-in with your daily routine. Take some time to
DJ who helped make
the Pink Floyd and Wizard of Oz synchronicity famous
George Taylor Morris
was a nationally known radio broadcaster and held
gigs in major cities, including Boston and New York. He had stints with
national networks like NBC's "The Source" and as the first Program
Director for the Westwood One Radio Network. He was most recently
on-air with XM Satellite Radio's "Deep Tracks" and was the primary host
of their interview program, "XM Artist Confidential". He died
of throat cancer at the age of 62 this past Saturday.
I mention all this here because as a longtime radio broadcaster, mostly
in rock radio (like George Taylor Morris - known to most as GTM) and
any time one of our "brothers of the airwaves" passes it is noteworthy
to the fraternity of radio men and women.
My first program director position was for KFMG-FM (Rock 108) in
Albuquerque, NM and we were one of the first stations to carry the
weekly syndicated program Reeling in the Years". Each week host George
Taylor Morris would take us back through the years and play the big
rock songs of that era along with interviews, music history tidbits and
soundbytes from the time (commercials, newscasts, etc). It was a great
program and George had a lot to do with the quality of it.
Perhaps GTM was best known for helping further the notoriety of what
has become known as the Dark Side of Oz. He was tipped to the amazing
coincidences when you watch the classic film, "The Wizard of Oz" and
synch up Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". I've seen it and it is
amazing the way certain "coincidental" moments of synchonicity happen (see Rolling Stones video mashup
for some of the best ones).
GTM, I salute you. Thanks for all the great shows.
Ghostwriters Can't Let Ego Interfere
If one chooses the work of a ghostwriter it requires some sacrifice.
You have to be willing to listen to the subject's story and write about
it with detail and with interesting prose. But, you can't let the fact
that you are the writer interfere with the story or the "voice" of the
subject. And you can't let ego - yours or the subject's - prevent you
from a job well done.
Nevertheless, quality writers who do "ghost" other people's life
stories can be rightfully proud of their work and who can blame them if
they long for a bit more recognition than they get. Sanford Dody, a
noted ghostwriter for a number of celebrities including Bette Davis and
Helen Hayes, apparently struggled with this "life in the shadows" (Wall Street Journal story). He recently died (July 4 at the age of
he did get his say in his memoir, Giving up the Ghost.