Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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Passing of Salinger and Zinn
A couple of prominent Americans died this past week. The one getting
the greatest press coverage was J.
D. Salinger (check out Scott Ditzler's piece in the Kansas City Star), the reclusive novelist best know for
the Catcher in the Rye.
That book has been very influential and a favorite for youth ever since
its publication in 1951. Many a rebellious teenager has related to the
angst of the book's featured character and narrator, Holden Caulfield.
The novel is still a frequently encouraged read in literature classes.
has left a lasting legacy through his books and teaching,
especially with his People's History of the United States. He was a lifelong
dedicated to social justice. His critical insight of American society
and history are important to anyone who wants to dig deeper into the
story of America. He was controversial and also willing to stand up for
his principles in the face of opposition. He encouraged others in this
approach, mentioning it in his 1994 autobiography, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train. I found the peice written by Randy Shaw
about Zinn's passing to be of interest (posted at BeyondChron.org).
With the passing of these two notable figures I am again struck by how
lives, and particularly those who write about life, can impact and
influence us. Your story is also important and the impact it will have
on others is relative, depending on who you write the story for.
& Intolerance Museum of New Mexico
the amount of historic coverage of the horrific genocidal treatment of
millions of Jews by the Nazis in World War Two it
how many people don't know how such a thing came about or much of the
background. Not knowing about the causes of such racial profiling and
the harm and hatred that results from it means the pattern can easily
continue. That's the lesson of history repeating itself.
In Albuquerque there is a museum whose purpose is to educate people
about the Holocaust as well as to teach them about other genocides and
forms of bullying that have affected people around the world. The Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico is joining with other museums, theaters
and cultural centers
around the world to present a free screening of The Colours
Holocaust. The Albuquerque screening will take
27 at 7 PM. This is a film by Finnish photographer Rax Rinnekangas
about the least-known reasons for the world's longest hatred:
antisemitism, the birth of Aryanism in Europe in the 19th century, the
subsequent shift to Nazism in the first half of the 20th century, and
the impact of its consequences on the spiritual climate after the war.
Educating ourselves about historic events, even ones that are painful
to study, is important so that we can combat hate and intolerance in
our world and promote understanding through education. This is the
mission of the Holocaust
& Intolerance Museum of New Mexico
(more at their site). The Colours
Holocaust film will be shown in many other locations on
January 27, so check your community events calendar.
Investing in your company's history
As people still struggle through the realities of the economic downturn
and less revenue many businesses are wondering how to
survive, turn the corner and grow. These are not easy questions to
One of the investments I believe can be helpful for a company is to
preserve their history, their story, by archiving it with a corporate
history. This process can be helpful on a number of levels. It allows
your company to show your community, your customers, your prospects and
the world what you are all about. What your key services are. The
history of your contributions. It's a nice "show and tell".
The process can also help you by being reflective about values and
benefits and help you see where you need to go and grow.
(noted personal historian, member of APH, and specialist in
video histories for individuals, families and companies) was recently
featured in a business roundtable discussion in Houston. Her company, Legacy Multimedia,
has been dealing with the challenging economy. You can read the
Chronicle article here. And I recommend her
Shaken and Stirred by Haitian Earthquake Relief
Over the past few days the news has been dominated by the major
earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. The amount of casualties,
destruction and suffering is staggering. Haiti is a country that has
been mired in poverty for many years. It is difficult to imagine what
life is like there, especially in the aftermath of the earthquake. As a
personal historian, what I am most impressed by is how people are
willing to help when major tragedies strike. Like Hurricane
Katrina and the Asian tsunami disasters of a few years ago, relief
agencies have sprung into action. People are donating, often in
innovative ways because of relatively new technologies like texting and social medi. Churches
and schools are taking up collections and fundraising. The disaster
reminds us once again that we are all part of a global family and when
such tragedy strikes it demands a compassionate response.
However you might be moved to help, go for it. Additionally, record
your thoughts about this historic disaster. What has been going through
your mind? What do your friends and family have to say about it? How
are you talking with your children about the Haiti earthquake. These
are probing questions that go to the heart of character and compassion
- important elements of anyone's life.
If you would like to see a list of organizations and ways to help Haiti
you can visit this resource and information page on Examiner.com.
Company to Hibernate
I got an email from Priceless
Legacy Company Founder & CEO
Peter Gudmundsson. It was one he was hoping to never have to write. It
appears that after a two and a half year run he's putting his
operations into what he calls "hibernation". Essentially they will
cease offering their excellent life story preservation options. It
appears that the attempt to mass market (for lack of a better term)
personal histories was not successful, at least not in this time, this
economic climate and with their business model.
I have advocated Priceless
Legacy Company for a while and pitched it
to many people. I think they had a good product, but I understand the
financial challenges of doing this as a large scale option. Their
advantage was offering a better price point than solo-preneurs can, but
even at their base price options they did not attract a large enough
client base. They will keep their website
up for the time being as they phase out operations.
What Peter Gudmundsson has in common with me and many other personal
historians is the absolute and utter belief in the importance of
preserving your family history. Lifes are being lived out - but people
do pass on, and often they take their stories (and your family history)
to the grave. There are so many reasons for why you should tell your
story. And many ways to do
that. I encourage you to keep exploring
options (you must be on this site reading this posting because you have
in the subject!). I will continue to point the way to
various life story preservation options, working with me or with other
providers. So keep coming back to visit...and here's to your story!
New Grandma "Growping" for Answers
The newest edition of GRAND
magazine (all things about grandparenting) has an article with new grandmother Carol Orsborn. She has some
interesting insight about her new grandchild, her responsibilities,
spending time, learning from previous generations and a bit of "Boomer"
perspective (she is senior strategist at VibrantNation.com).
And her preferable term for reinvention is "growping". Groping and
growing - yeah, I
This is timely stuff for my wife and I. Our daughter is just one month
away from birthing our
first grandchild. Excited? You betcha!
Happiness is Keeping Your New Year's Resolution...Focus
Syncronity is at work this morning. I happened to catch a bit of NBC's
Today Show and a guest, Gretchen Rubin, was
on talking about her new
book, the Happiness Project. Ok, I thought - interesting.
Then when I got online and was searching for something to post about I
visited Dan Curtis' site as he always has
interesting stuff. He had a
link to suggestions on how to stick to your New Year's resolutions. I
clicked and ended up on a page and excellent article from Gretchen
As I mentioned a few days ago, keeping resolutions works best when they
are in the contest of meaning and purpose for your life. Ms. Rubin's
encouragement and points (think big, write it down, review it
contantly, be specific) are all "spot on". You can read her article here.
Narrative Medicine - health care from the perspective of a life story
There's an interesting new development in health care, but it has
nothing to do with Obama's plan for health care reform (although maybe
it should). Narrative medicine is the term being applied to discovering
a person's health history from the perspective of their life story. In
other words, letting a patient tell their health history in a broader
frame of their life experiences, occupation, interests, and so on.
This is a way to put someone's health into context and I'm
intrigued by it.
An article in the New York Times on this subject is titled, Learning
to Listen. And quality listening is essential when it comes to better
understanding patients. The article states how this
allows people to describe their syptoms as part of the larger
story of their life.
As this is a still a somewhat new approach for practitioners of
medicine it will be interesting to watch it develop. Dr. Rita Chacon,
featured in the article and a proponent of narrative medicine, proposed
a Masters program in the area to Columbia. And a number of students
have pursued it. Courses focus on such subjects as philosophy, literary
theory and autobiography.
Many people who face life threatening illness know the value of
documenting their struggles and leaving a testimony to their life. I
see this new approach by physicians as another way to help promote the
importance of capturing a life story.
Your New Year's Life Story Resolution
We are into the year 2010 and already I've caught myself a couple of
times writing 2009. Does that happen to you? Nevertheless, a new decade
has dawned. I don't know whether or not you make resolutions, but I do
hope that you consider the importance of moving towards important life
goals. One of these should be preserving your story.
I came across the blog for writer Don
Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years)and I was
struck by his posting, Living a Good Story, an Alternative to New Years Resolutions.
In it he
makes the excellent comparison of good story development and the
contains to proper motivation for resolutions. Instead
of getting fit he makes the resolution to climb Mt. Hood. He
that achieving this goal will require training, endurance, planning,
safety and a number of exciting challenges - all of which can make up a
great story of accomplishment. He encourages us to place our
resolutions in the context of a story. Identify what you want, envision
a climatic scene and create an inciting incident. I think Don is on to
something here. You can read his post at his website, www.donmilleris.com.