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December 2011

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Writing with Heart, Honesty and Skill

December 30, 2011

 What we get down in writing can be painful, like child birth (I suppose - what do I know? I'm a man). But it also can flow like a mountain stream, tripping and giggling over stones and branches.

When people try to write about their lives I've noticed many freeze up or close down. The mistake that is perhaps made is the expectation you must produce in your first draft brilliance, insight and pathos. Hey, some of that may spring forth, but don't be too harsh of a critic. First drafts should be written rapidly with little attention paid to your inner critic. Just let it come out.

Over time your writing will improve. And if you have a voice that is articulate and creative what you will write will sing, soar and contain passion. If you are honest, yet tactful, heartfelt and disciplined, the words you produce will have weight. Others will drink them up and appreciate your insight and feed on it for their own soul searching.
heart in hands
I read a couple of postings today by fellow life writers who possess the skill and the heart to write honestly, fearlessly and generously. Sharon Lippincott (The Heart and Craft of Life Writing) reflected on dancing and writing and how embarrasment mustn't stop you from doing what you love (here). Sarah White (True Stories Well Told) posted about her family in 1973, how their camping excursions were coming to an end as the teenage children faced their futures amidst their father's personal demons (here).

We write to tell others (and ourselves) about life. Our lives and the meaning among the mingling with the lives of others. It's a varied and endlessly fascinating tapestry. When you sit down to write be willing to face your fears, sing your song and tell your tale. It may free you in a way you've never experienced.

A Bit About the Obit (Obituary)

December 29, 2011

One of the harder things to do is prepare for the passing of a family member/loved one. Sometimes you see it coming and that can make it easier. At least you have time.

If it is sudden it that makes it tougher.

Preparation meeting opportunity has sometimes been described as "luck".

If you are the one in the family charged with gathering what would be in a loved one's obituary it is a good idea to prepare ahead of time. You don't have to sit down today and write it, but it isn't a bad idea to have some of the information saved and ready as well as an understanding of what goes into an obituary and how you might want to present it.

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Special Update - Held Over

December 27, 2011

Have you checked out the SBI special? 

Are you wondering how this might apply to your goals and plans for 2012...and beyond?

Need more time to decide?

The 2-for-1 SBI Special has been held over until January 3.

Special SiteSell Promotion

Yes...I am passionate about this. It could be one of the best investments you ever make if you are willing to give it a try and have the passion and desire to do the work. It's not an overnight get rich quick deal. It is an unbelievable value that can make your dreams of building something real for your future and using all that our online and connected world offers. We are living in a time of economic challenges. And great opportunity. 

This is one of those opportunities if you are willing to take a look.

A Great Example of the Kind of Person A Personal Historian Can Be

December 11, 2011

The joy of working with another person and helping them capture and preserve their life story is a motivating factor (and nice side benefit) for many of us working in the field of personal history. You might be wondering just what kind of people get into this field. The short answer is all types! 

The longer answer is the kind of people who have a hunger for discovering and sharing the diversity of life experiences with other people. Deb Moore of Stories of Your Life is based in Grand Rapids and spent many years teaching special education to young people with special needs. She also honed her personal history skills doing projects with family members. A profile of her in the Grand Rapids Press gives us a terrific insight into her goals and passion with the profound life story work she has been engaged in for many years. 

It is no small surprise to me that she is an active member of the APH. I'm very impressed at her work ethic and her good heart. She has done much for the city she was raised in (including some profiles of Grand Rapids philanthropy) and is clearly a fine citizen. I spent a few years living in Grand Rapids in the 1990's, but this was before my entry into personal history work so I didn't know her then. But I know more about her now, especially with this great article by Terri Finch Hamilton which you can read online here.

Seven Times Ten for Pearl Harbour Memories

December 7, 2011

The day that would live in infamy is now 70 years ago. That's nearly a full generation. And the generation that remembers it best are now elders. After a solemn ceremony at the site of the Japanese bombing the Pearl Harbour Survivors Association has decided to disband. If you've only heard about the event that led to the US entry into World War II then you should visit this link about survivors remembering Pearl Harbour.

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