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I read a really great essay yesterday by Michael
Gartner, 1997's Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial writing He wrote
growing up in the 1940's and how his family never owned a car until
his older brother turned 16. His dad quit driving in 1927 (you'll find
out why when you read the essay). His
mother didn't learn to drive until she was 43. This short
essay had great
wit and wisdom in it. His father revealed his secret of a
long life (he lived to be 102) one day to his son and it included never
taking left turns!
You can read the essay online at the USA Today site here.
You've heard me sing the praises of the Association of Personal
Historians many times. APH
(web site here) is a fascinating group.
The field of personal history is expanding. Many
people are writers, others work in video or audio. Some are
ex-media, or continue to work in the field like I do with radio. And
still more come from a broad range of occupations and backgrounds.
What I think we have in common is a passion for people's stories and
the drive to do something about that. Some are better than
others at making a living at this. It can be a real business for those
who will put in the work for it. Some do it more as
a hobby or labor of love. Then there are those doing it part
time and testing the waters.
I'm convinced that more and more people will want to find ways to
professionally preserve their life stories. The media is
reporting on the trend more and more and the public is becoming
increasingly aware of the possibilities.
The good news is that with the growth there are more emerging
technologies, products and services. My intention with Your Life is Your Story is to both build a business
and educate and inform others about personal history.
I just renewed my annual dues with APH.
I will continue to journey this path and from time to time tell you about other providers
of personal history services. Like Hawley Roddick.
She is an APH member and an accomplished author and writer.
She is one of the few to have published novels and
non-fiction with major publication houses. She also wrote a
monthly column for Cosmopolitan
for seven years. Check out her services at her website.
The art of letter writing seems to be lost. Most people
communicate by phone, text or often vapid casual emails.
There is something about putting words down on paper,
however, that can tap deep and honest emotional feelings.
There is a way to write without trying to impress, publish or be
judged. Keeping a personal
journal can open your mind and eyes to the world around you
and in you. If you choose to share parts of your journal it
may also open up others to do the same. And it can help
people grow, which is the theme of the troubled kids in the new
article by Anna Quindlen, Write for Your life, delves into this subject and the
importance of personal writing and the freedom it brings. You
can read it online here.
Yesterday was the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday.
He was a great human being who not only believed in the
dignity of ALL people, but he tried to make a difference. We,
too, can make a difference in life with friends, family and even
strangers. We all have a dream and it's not bad to share in
King's great dream.
A dream of mine was fulfilled this past Sunday when I ran a
marathon. I've been training for months to accomplish this and running
with others who are part of the Team
in Training program. All
of us supported and fundraised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
(dedicated to finding a cure for blood cancers). I previously
promised a report, so here it is. On a very cold (for
Phoenix, anyway) morning thousands of us lined up to run the 26. 2
miles in the P. F. Chang
Arizona Rock n' Roll Marathon. Bands
every mile or so and many people to cheer us on. Despite the
29 degrees at the start of the race we warmed up with the running.
It was a sunny day and a special time. I'm here to
tell you it was very difficult the last 3 to 4 miles, but I kept
thinking about the cause and all the time training leading up to this
race. I finished in just over 5 hours. You can
verify that here. Put in my race number -
If you think you could never do something like this - think again.
Team in Training is famous for taking everyday people
you and I and motivating, training and helping us achieve what seems
like the impossible. I'm currently writing a book about my
experience and I hope to share some of that with you when it is done.
Thanks to the many people who encouraged me and supported me
in this dream. My family and I had a great time in Phoenix
and it was another one of those life-changing experiences.
This is the time of year when people consider how to improve their
lives. Realistically, we should strive to be better each and everyday
of the, but New Year's resolutions have a long standing tradition.
Do you want to be the best you can be in 2007? There is
evidence to support improving your life by reminiscing about your life
and investigating family history. The process can help us
grow. Several good tips about being the best this year,
including digging deeper into your family history, are included in the
article, Be your best
self in 2007 online here at the Des Moines Register
The past few days we've watched the funeral services and tributes to
Gerald Ford, former United States President who passed away just after
Christmas. The way former presidents are viewed, especially after
they've died, reveals a lot about their leadership style, their
reputation and also how revered we hold this political office.
It must have been difficult for Ford to assume the presidency.
He was appointed vice president in 1973 by then President
Nixon to fill the vacancy when Spiro Agnew resigned. That
scandal was followed by Nixon's own resignation. Many were
outraged at the time when Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, but I
think he was sincere in trying to heal the country and help the
government move on.
I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a few years, the home of Gerald
and Betty Ford. I never met the man, but my observations and
gut instinct tell me he was a fair and even humble man, a rare
combination in politics. You also have to admire his wife.
Betty Ford faced her alcoholism after a family intervention,
but she went further by establishing the renowned treatment center, the
Betty Ford Center. She has certainly helped many people.
On a side note, one of the strangest images from the news the past
couple of days is seeing Grand Rapids at this time of year without any
snow on the ground. That's unusual, as much so as the fifteen
inches of snow we had here in Albuquerque December 29 and 30.