Story and Why
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So, here were are, at the end of 2008 and on the cusp of 2009.
We all have dreams, goals and plans. That is good.
But do remember that life is lived one day at a time.
What we learn from our past helps us to prepare for where we are going.
But don't over-prepare.
Suit up and show up for life, but be prepared to be surprised.
I want to express gratitude (one of our finest spiritual principles)
for all of you who have visited this site, read some things, sent
emails, talked to me on the phone or pondered your life story.
We will continue our grand adventure into the New Year.
Be of good cheer, hopeful and joyful. Discover the
value of your
story. Share your story - and your life - with others.
In the BIG picture, we really are all in this together.
I've been reading over both my personal journal and the blog entries
here for the past year. The value of journaling
shouldn't be underestimated. "Nothing listens like paper" (or
whatever you are writing
If you aren't familiar with the DavidRM
Journal Software you should check it out. It's
designed for your computer and is very flexible, useful and with
numerous applications to help you record your ideas, goals, insights,
values and much more. I profile The Journal here.
As we wind down yet another year - and get in that reflective mode -
it's important to think about the stuff we wish we'd done, but haven't
gotten around to yet.
Yes, yes, there is the memoir, autobiography, personal history or story
of your life. But I don't intend to guilt-trip you on
that can often take years.
I do hope that all of us consider what kind of mark we are making with
our life. What are we hoping to pass on? Have you given
to your values and life lessons? These can be recorded in a
valuable written manner that doesn't require fancy binding and
printing. You don't have to hire a ghost-writer. It
hurt, however, to get some sage advice and direction (and maybe hire
someone to help you craft it).
I'm referring to your Ethical
Will. Your Legacy Letter.
Every year I see the growing interest in this, but I still
the majority of the population hasn't written one.
Barry Baines seems to be the acknowledged expert in the area of ethical
wills. His site (www.ethicalwill.com) is worth
I also wrote an article a few years ago about the importance of having
an ethical will (you can read
it here). Furthermore, the NY Times article from March of
this year (Breaking the Silence)
has an article about the values of wealth and passing it on to
family members. This is where an ethical will can be
And if you saw the movie, The Ultimate Gift, you viewed much the same message.
By the way, a terrific film to view over the holidays.
Did you have a good Christmas? I hope it was filled with
family and loved ones and the sharing of gifts and story.
The Christmas Season is one of joy. One of the most joyful
things you can do is to follow your bliss and do the kind of work that
fulfills you. This is how I feel about Life Story writing and
it is challenging and meaningful whenever I take on a project.
You have talents you are passionate about and now can be the time to
pursue it using the vast resources and reach of the Internet.
The Site Build
It approach to an online presence is more than a web site
- it is a real online business built on content, traffic, pre-selling
and monetization, and it works. It's been proven time and again by
those willing to try it. It takes effort and perseverance and
following directions. Can you do that? If you can
it will work for you.
The annual buy one and get one free SBI sale should have ended on
Christmas Day. Fortunately, Sitesell has extended it through
January 5th so you still have time to make the decision. Let
me show you how with some straight talk, examples and a short video - here.
Christmas Eve is here. Pay attention to the twinkles in the
eyes of children. Breathe in the winter chill. Smile at a
stranger. Hug your family.
Make some memories. And remember those from Christmas Past.
Just a few days ago I was honored to be present at a friend's
retirement ceremony. Richard is a doctor and served 27 years
in the Air Force, retiring at the rank of full Colonel. It
was special to be among the family, colleagues and friends at this
event. Rich reminisced about what his career meant to him and
his family. Of course, those who worked with him shared their
kudos and fond memories.
It's rare these days for someone to be in an occupation for such a long
time. But it still happens and preserving an event like this in the
form of a tribute book
is a great idea. It gives people an opportunity
to share memories, give congratulatory messages, include pictures and
whatever else would be appropriate. Naturally, it takes some
planning to have the tributie book done in time for a retirement, but
wouldn't it be a wonderful gift?
Since we have an insatiable appetite to know more about actors you will
probably enjoy The Archive of American Television Interviews.
It's pretty extensive and the excerpts video on the main page
has tidbits from Henry Winkler, Rob Reiner, Betty White, Andy Griffith,
Ted Koppel and others.
From their "About the Interviews" page:
The Archive produces extensive video oral history interviews with
television legends of all professions and makes them available online.
To date, the Archive has completed over 2000 hours of videotaped
conversations with over 570 Actors, Producers, Writers, Newscasters,
Executives, Directors, Craftspersons, and more.
Visit the site - www.emmytvlegends.blogspot.com
A corporate journalist received an assignment that changed his life.
Read about Dennis McCloskey's
fortuitous encounter with the
courageous Valen Cover, a woman with an amazing upbeat attitude in the
midst of incredible pain and suffering (polycystic kidney disease,
scoliosis, renal failure and brutal motorcycle accident).
McCloskey's life was forever changed by meeting Ms. Cover, and the
resulting book he wrote about her, My Favorite American,
readers at a deep "heart" level.
As a boy in Montana he and his friends amused themselves by pushing
dandelions up their noses. Years later, hoping to
fight in the Pacific during World War Two, a doctor declared him
unfit for duty because of hay fever. He wondered if the
dandelions had anything to do with it.
Eventually Tedd Thomey did get into the fighting and was one of the
Marines who fought on Iwo Jima. He was shot in the heel and
ended up back on the ship while the fighting raged, all the while
wishing he could be with his comrades.
After the war he was a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and a
colleague of Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, the man who
(along with motion picture man Bill Genaust) snapped the famous picture
of Marines raising the American flag on top of Iwo Jima.
Many years later allegations were raised that the photo was
"staged". It was an insult to Thomey and he documented the real story
of the flag-raising and its photographers in the book "Immortal Images".
Tedd Thomey died on December 1. His friend, Tom Hennessy,
discovered he was to write Thomey's obituary a few days letter when the
family found a letter never mailed asking him to do it. Great
read about all this from Hennessey online at the Press-Telegram (Long
I came across a story that truly soars.
It's about a WWII pilot, Jim Bowers, who flew the P-51
Mustang in Europe. I found it particularly inspiring, not
because of his war experiences, but what the restoring of his fighter
meant to him and to his family who learned so much more about him
because of it.
I encourage you to check out the short video trailer of this story at GrayEagles.org.
Today marks two significant anniversaries.
First, it is the 60th
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (an
initiative of the United States and the United Nations). I,
for one, believe that all humans have inherent dignity and it is our
responsibility as citizens of our planet to promote and protect that.
Of course, we know we still have a long way to go. | story here | You might also want to check out Every Human Has Rights.
This day also marks the 40th anniversary of the death of perhaps the
greatest spiritual writer of the 20th century, Thomas Merton.
If you've read any Merton you probably recognize a certain
syncronicity at work with these two anniversaries.
Because every life is precious it follows that every story is also
precious. Amen to that.
If you want to capture people's stories by interviewing them you
probably are interested in what kind of portable digital audio recorder
you should invest in.
a big topic. There's quite a lot to choose from.
Much of the decision depends on 1) how much interviewing and
recording you are doing and 2) what you can afford to spend.
If you are just doing it for your friends and family (and probably not
business) you can get away with using one of the less expensive models.
An example is the Olympus VN-4100PC Digital Voice Recorder.
You can find it for less than $50.
If you are recording for an organization or need to preserve the oral
histories and quality standards are important then you will be looking
at more advanced models. Some of the standard professional
are Marantz, Zoom, Edirol, Fostex and Sony. And, yes, Olympus
some higher end models, too.
The good news is that digital audio recording advances continue to be
impressive, and like computers, they seem to be getting better and
better without big increases in price.
You'll want to consider how much recording time your device can handle,
the microphones (built in as well as input options), what format the
files are preserved in, how they transfer to a computer, the size of
the device...and these are just a few considerations. Don't
let it overwhelm you. With the Internet it is relatively easy
to research, shop and compare.
Here are some helpful sites to give you more information, compare
brands, equipment and price:
Of course once you upload your recordings to a computer you will need
to transcribe, and maybe even edit, your oral histories. Once
again, there are many software options. I find that the free Audacity works great
- you can get it here.
It's Monday, so I'll give you a pep talk about writing your life story.
It's not easy to embark on the "long voyage through your past", but it
can be so worth it on many levels. Yes, it requires
work...and persistence. It's not going to be done in a day, a
week or even a month. These things take time.
But the rewards of life story writing can be tremendous. You
get to re-experience the most important times of your life.
Consider your values. Laugh at your follies and take pride in
your achievments. And you'll be a better person for it.
Your friends and family will appreciate you more.
This is true for anyone, regardless of how ordinary or boring you might
think your life has been. Your life is unique.
There is only one "you". All that you've
experienced has been filtered through your unique perspective.
And one of the greatest benefits from writing your story is how you can
become something more than you were before you wrote it. The
perspective you'll gain on your life...and life in general...is
I was pumped up about all this yesterday when I read an excerpt from
Patrika Vaughn's How To
Write Your Own Life Story, posted at Selling Books. It validated much of what I
believe about the importance of everyone's story.
At this time of year, as we get closer to Christmas, we often hear the
phrase "peace on earth and goodwill towards men" tossed about.
It's a wonderful expression - and what a wonderful world it
would be if everyone lived it.
Well, you can't make a dream like that come true without trying.
Towards that end Good Radio Shows, Inc. has been producing a radio
program for a few years. Peace
Talks Radio is a diverse, non-partison and listener
supported series about peacemaking and nonviolent conflict resolution.
The people featured on each program are inspiring and doing
something to make this world a better place. Some are well
known, some toil in relative obscurity. The important thing
is they are doing something to make lives and our communities - our
world - a better place.
You might hear the show on public radio stations near you.
Recent programs have been on JFK's turn towards peace,
Peacemaking Elders, promoting compassion to animals, making peace with
money, and the connection between climate change and peace.
You can always listen online. They are a non-profit entity
and depend on donations to continue their programming. Paul
Ingles is a fine person and broadcaster and we've crossed paths over
the years. He reluctantly sent out an email today asking for
donations. You can tell he's uncomfortable asking for money
in today's economy. But what he and the rest involved in
Peace Talks Radio are doing is important work. He knows it.
Now you can discover it too.
So I encourage you to investigate it. And if you can make a donation - any amount - it will be
towards a good cause. (By
the way, I am not affiliated in any way with Good Radio Shows and Peace
Talks Radio and so there is nothing in this for me. I'm just
an advocate of what they do.)
When you think of the American Civil Rights movement the most prominent
figure is Martin Luther King, Jr. He was an incredible voice for the
dignity and freedom of all, especially the oppressed.
But another great voice for civil rights was a musical one. Odetta sang
folk and blues with a deep voice that inspired many and her songs
became a soundtrack for the Civil Rights movement. Bob Dylan cited her
as a major influence and Rosa Parks reply to which songs meant the most
to her replied, "All the songs Odetta sings."
In an interview last year Odetta revealed how work and blues songs from
the deep south influenced her growing up in the shawdow of the Great
Odetta recorded many albums and performed at prestigious concert halls.
She might best be remembered for singing "O Freedom" at the 1963 civil
rights march on Washington D.C.
Her voice should now be accompanying angels; Odetta has died at age 77.
(Reuters story here).
Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps,
was interviewed by Michael Krasny on KQED
public radio about the National
Day of Listening. During the program you get to
hear some of the incredible stories that ahve been captured by the StoryCorps project.
You can listen to
it online at the radio station's website here.