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The "Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives

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

                     ...and whatever else catches our fancy

February, 2008

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February 26, 2008

A recent "Ask Fortune Small Business" segment about getting into the personal history business gives some insight into what I find true about the work of preserving life stories (story at  I do it primarily because I think it is important and valuable. Still, I must see some financial return for my time and effort.

The Internet is helping a great deal in making it easier and more affordable to have a life story in a variety of formats - book, CD, DVD, etc.  I find that every project is different, but it is possible to give a ballpark estimate to a project when you figure out how much time goes into it.  If you are considering working with a personal historian you should find out if they will give a free initial consultation.  I always do.  You can get more at the Get Started web page.

For those of you who are in the personal history business and looking for ways to reach more people through the web you should consider marketing through this site.  My traffic has consistently grown and the majority of visitors are interested specifically in preserving their life story.  I can help you generate qualified leads for your service.  Drop me an email to find out more.

February 21, 2008

Steve Pender is a video biographer and video specialist working in the field of personal histories and life stories. I've written about him before.  He does interesting and good work.  

Well, Steve scored some new publicity from the Tuscon Citizen about a new idea of his.  He and his company, Family Legacy Video, Inc, have recently expanded their services to focus on your best friend - your pet. He calls the service a Pet Legacy video and according to Steve, it "allows the pet owners to capture and preserve the story of their pets and them together, the impact their pets had on their lives."

I love the title of the article about this - Dogumentary captures whole family (read it here).  Dogumentary - what a great word!

February 18, 2008

Some Presidents Day holiday musing on the life of Abrahahm Lincoln.  It's remarkable to me that he endured so much heartache, tragedy, melancholy and depression in his life, but was such an amazing leader.  He persevered.  He led the country through a civil war.  He faced the grim realities with faith and courage.  He wasn't perfect and he certainly wasn't pollyanish.  I'm sure he anguished over things many times.  But what a triumph of a life, even though it was cut short by an assassin's bullet.

While there circulates embellished stories of Lincoln's life hardships (the "he never quit" is the most popular - see this entry at that deals with many urban legends and exaggerations) our 16th president should always be viewed as fine example of facing life's challenges.  He's an inspiration to me.

February 16, 2008

Hip, slick and cool.  Did you ever consider yourself to be that way? Maybe you think you are now.  Some friends and I were talking today about how we used to think we were "where it's at" and that we were once "hip, slick and cool".

What we once considered to be hip can change over time. Although there are still certain things - some music particularly - that I still consider to be hip and good.

It is funny to me now to think about how obsessed I once was with being cool. I guess when you get older you don't try so hard for that, mainly because it is harder to achieve. But, I'll cop to wanting to be perceived as cool at times.

In your life reminiscence it is helpful to look at how your values and perceptions change over time and why.  Your life story is more than just a record of places and events over time.  It is what it means to you and you can share that to the benefit of others.

February 12, 2008

Well, it is almost Valentine's Day. That's the big romantic holiday and lots of cards, candy, flowers and jewelry will be exchanged.  Nothing wrong with that. But I hope if you have a significant other that you also spend time expressing your love by spending time sharing as friends.

I've been very fortunate that my wife and I have remained married for over 22 years now. We met when we both worked at the same radio station many years ago.  And we were friends before we dated and became romantically involved.  I think that was beneficial.

In November I wrote about a service that will write about your courtship stories.  With Valentine's Day nearly here it seems a good time to remind you of
Ellen Braunstein's I think she offers a very good product.

February 8, 2008

Have you ever heard of Mel Walsh? She's a columnist and I knew next to nothing about her prior to now, but I was tipped to her blog by some member of the APH and her entry today is great. It's about how you have a story and it is important and your children and grandchildren would appreciate it. Sound familiar? Yes, it's the same theme I reiterate here. Everyone has a story to tell.

Mel writes about how she wished she knew more about her own grandparents. During the depression they took in a very large number of their family. People were living on the couch, in the attic, in all the bedrooms - wherever they could squeeze them in!

Her blog states at the top of her website that she is an author, radio host, columnist and spokesperson for the new older adult. Her remarks in this blog post are right on target for why you should preserve your story - be it a written memoir, audio or video product.  Even just writing down something is a start. But her recommendation to use professionals - personal historians like you can find through the Association of Personal Historians ( - is worth serious consideration.  I continue to learn so much from my peers in life story work.  Visit her blog post for February 8.  Then put some thought into getting started.

February 6, 2008

The craft of biography writing doesn't seem to have the support on the academic level that it should. However, the Center for Humanities at the City University of New York Graduate Center is looking to change that. With support from the Leon Levy Foundation they will be offering year-long paid (about $60,000 a year) residencies to a few biographers. They also intend to present lectures, conferences and other activities.

As reported in The Biographer's Craft monthly ezine, "It is going to be big," according to David Nasaw, Executive Director of the Center for the Humanities whose biography of Andrew Carnegie was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007. Read more here.

February 5, 2008

Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. A big party.

You probably have memories of Mardi Gras celebrations. Even if you don't you've heard about the parties.  This year New Orleans is probably jumpin'. It's been two and a half years since Hurricane Katrina. It is still taking a while for the city to come back from the devastation, but progress is being made.

The hardest hit area of New Orleans by Katrina was the Lower 9th Ward. The Make it Right foundation is a charity helping to rebuild homes in that area. Brad Pitt (actor and founder of MIR) is using his celebrity status to help the cause. He says it's "not a handout, but a hand up".

There were many stories from New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. Now with the rebuilding there will be new stories. Stories of overcoming the challenges and people working together to help. How the human spirit rises to meet difficult conditions is always a worthy story to tell.

Everybody has a story to tell!
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