Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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Some personal histories are about an individual's life. Some of them
are about organizations or companies, referred to as corporate
histories. And then there are books about communities, towns or cities.
A just released book about La Crosse, Wisconsin was sponsored by the
city's historical society. History of La Crosse, Wisconsin in the Twentieth Century: Reinventing La Crosse Again and Again is a 750 page volume written by
former La Crosse Tribune writers Susan T. Hessel and Gayda Hollnagel.
According to Hessel (an APH
member), “It’s a thrill to be part of
the community and feel this passion for the place where we live. It is
filled with stories about people who are part of our history, from the ordinary to
You can read the story posted online here.
The Obituary writer has traditionally been someone who posts to
newspapers in an usually consise way the highlights of a person's life.
More space is given to the famous, of course, but still it must be
difficult to do this. It's hard to pay respects, or recap a
life, in just a few paragraphs.
A growing trend has been the use of multimedia. Websites like
allow for online posting of comments as well as pictures and
more in depth coverage of a life. Many newspapers link to
that. Use of video and audio is also on the increase and
journalist/obit writers are taking advantage of the new technology to
provide a bigger picture of the deceased.
A pretty fascinating article is at Poynter
Life with Multimedia Obits by Mallary Jean
Tenore is revealing about how talented obituary writers are using the
various technology. (More here).
It is more important to write about your life to makes sense of it, to
find nuggets of experiences to be shared with others, and to help other
people to explore their life by reading about yours
Motive is important. Why are you telling your story (or that
A program to help veterans deal with psychological wounds
is what the Writers’ Program for Wounded
Warriors is all
about. Many veterans are desperate to tell their stories and it can be
cathartic. But where do they turn? Jesuit brother Rick Curry cared
enough to find a way for these veterans to do this, and to find some
healing in the process, as reported here at the National Catholic Reporter
Some people claim that certain fashions never go out of style. And
we've all seen fads come back around. There does seem to be a cyclical
nature to some fashions.
Have you discovered the wikiHow
website? It's a site of "how-to's" and I found it from my
iGoogle page. What caught my eye was the "How to dress in the
American 1940's fashion". This time period of dress is
apparently enjoying a resurgence in popularity for women. You
might want to see the info for research reasons if you are writing
about anyone who's story included events from the 1940's - go here.
Did you get a digital video camcorder as a gift for the holidays? Or
maybe you've recently invested in one. Perhaps you want to
know how to use it to create successful life stories. Check
Living Legacy. The extensive information on this
CD-ROM includes what you
need toknow for creating a video life story or video
You also might consider taking a workshop. Steve Pender gets rave
reviews for his instructional prowess. He's based in Tuscon, Arizona
and you can find out more at his website,Family Legacy Video™
In one of those wonderful instances of syncronicity I discovered an
online article at the Noblesville
Daily Times about a writer who just won first
place in the Ray
Bradbury Creative Writing Contest. The writer is
Kishbaugh and he won for the story "Magnificent
Kishbaugh has been inspired over the years by Bradbury's
writing and he'd heard the noted author state in a documentary that it
is important to tell people who've been influential in our lives that
we love them.
So Greg Kishbaugh sat down and wrote a letter to Ray Bradbury and he
was both surprised and delighted to get a reply thanking him for the
letter and inviting him to visit!
So why was this synchronous? Because I've been reading a
powerful little book given to me this year for Christmas by a
co-worker. Zen in the
Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury is a series of
essays on writing, and really it is about unleasing your creative
genius by leaping into the process of writing with enthusiasm, gusto,
zest and joy! Bradbury is a masterful writer, and it turns
out, an incredible motivator. Yes, he's gifted and can write
and with depth. Granted, not everyone can. But the
encouragement he provides in these essays certainly fires me up.
Writing should never be drudgery. Words can grow
wings and the flights of fancy they can take us on is part of the joy
of both reading...and writing.
I found a fun way to enjoy 50 years of history in a photo montage set
to Billy Joel's We Didn't
Start the Fire. Go
Sharon Lippincott, author of The Heart and
Craft of Lifestory Writing, posted on her blog
another writer's experience with what she calls "story catching". The
reference to this from my daily Google News Alert caught my eye so I
surfed over to her blog - www.heartandcraft.blogspot.com
She was referring to a life story written by Bob Sather about a man,
Al, he met and over the course of the biography they became good
friends. The process of how that came about is detailed in an article
from the Minneapolis
Star Tribune. Bob would meet regularly
over coffee with Al and they would talk and Al would share stories
about his life. Bob wouldn't record them; he kept things conversational
and would return home to write down what he could remember. Apparently
it went well, although this process doesn't work with everyone. For one
thing, if the person being interviewed isn't a natural storyteller or
leaves out lots of facts and information (whether because they don't
remember or don't discuss) it could make for a story with a lot of
holes. But Bob had the benefit of a friendship with Al and
could always go back for more details.
I think the combination of preparation, including a list of questions,
and building rapport so that the person being interviewed and written
about feels comfortable, are both important elements.
The danger, as I see it, of an over concentration on New Year's
resolutions and reflections is that we can spend too much time fretting
over the past and the future and miss our opportunity to be in the
present. Yet, it is inevitable that a new year brings with it
mental time traveling. Did the last year prove successful and
satisfying? Are your goals laid out for our new period of circling the
Healthy emotional and spiritual balance is worth aiming for. Towards
that end I've spent parts of today journaling, making sandwiches for my
family, watching football bowl games and updating this web site.
I'm trying to not get too concerned about a "to-do list", or
worse, a "to-worry-about list". (Those terms courtesy of an article, Reconsider
the frantic pace of life, at TheAge.com that
helped spur this entry).
You can plan for tomorrow, but live for today. And a Happy New Year to