Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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Television Archives and Upcoming Emmys
The annual award presentations for Television's best programming, the Emmys, are
about a month away. August 29, hosted by comedian Jimmy Fallon, will be
the night of glitter, fashion and maybe even a bit of substance. George
Clooney will be honored with the Hope Humanitarian Award. And
if like me, you don't have regular access to certain premier cable
channels (HBO, Showtime) you might be asking yourself, "when did they
air that show?").
Despite the criticisms of television, many that are quite valid, the
medium is powerful and there can be educational and quality
entertaining programming. This year I fell in love with Breaking Bad
and caught up with the first two seasons and watched all of the third.
It's nominated for Best Drama as well as some significant acting
nominations. Also, the show Lost
wrapped up this year. Yes, I hung in there for all six seasons and I
think it was one of the best shows ever for creative plots and
If you like to research the history of television check out the Archive of American Television.
Lots of interviews from TV legends and professionals. Included is a
Remembering Daniel Schorr feature about the legendary news journalist
and broadcaster who recently passed away.
Where You're From - in Verse
Some of you are aware that I'm in a program to earn a teaching
certificate. It's an alternative route to licensure for those already
possessing a bachelor's degree. My degree was earned over 30 years ago
and is in Psychology. But out of college I went on to a longtime career
in radio broadcasting.
Now I'm in a new phase of life. In addition to the rewarding life story
writing and preservation work I do as a personal historian I am drawn
to become a school teacher. I've already worked one year as a
substitute teacher in the public school system and I'm most drawn to
third, fourth grades and in a year I should be employed as an
One of the education classes I'm taking this summer is on teaching the
fundamentals of literacy. I've learned a lot and there have been many
moments of profound insight, especially as it relates to life story
We received a a printout this week of a poem by George Ella Lyon,
"Where I'm From" (or the Spanish title, De donde yo soy).
It's very expressive and beautiful. He writes of
being from many things, from ordinary items (clothespins), products
(Clorox), food (fried corn and strong coffee) and ancestry (Artemus and
Billie's Branch, the finger my grandfather lost to the auger) and
ethereal places (I am from those moments - snapped before I budded -
leaf-fall from the family tree). Lyon is a writer and a teacher and on
his website you can read the poem and discover some tips about how you
might use "Where I'm From" in your own writing (more here).
Levi Romero created a template based on the poem that allows you to
write your own "Where I'm From" verse (here).
Where we come from is more than our lineage and home town. We come from
our experiences, our senses, our memories and dreams, and (ideally) we
come from the heart.
A Journalist Giant
Daniel Schorr has passed away at the age of 93. It's the real end of an
era as he was the last of Edward R. Murrow's CBS team. His career
spanned six decades and he was a giant in the field. As an
investigative journalist he covered controversies that included Senator
Joseph McCarthy's hearings in 1953, the 1972 Watergate breakin, and the
Clinton impeachment hearings in 1998-99.
NPR has a great article. Read it here.
If you are a writer, or study the craft, you are
probably familiar with
William Zinsser. He's authored some important books on writing,
including On Writing Well and Inventing the Truth (which includes observations on memoir and
contributions from other wonderful writers).
Now Zinsser has a new book: Writing Places: The Life and Journey of a Writer and Teacher.
I haven't read it yet, but it sounds intriguing. My writing is
influenced constantly by the places I go. And the stories we have are
embedded in the places we live and visit. Zinsser's memoir shares his
tales of teaching, reporting and writing in a 50-plus year career.
A Storygathering Journey About the Gulf Oil Spill Impact on People
Like most people I am saddened and angry over the Deepwater Horizon
Gulf oil spill. The horrific impact of this ecological disaster will be
felt for generations. The hardest hit are the people who live along the
Gulf Coast. Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas are all
states with wonderful coastlines that are now tarnished by the spilled
What can we do? As empathetic humans we can listen compassionately to
those affected and maybe find ways to help. Mike Pearson is a personal
historian and onetime journalist for the Associated Press and The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He's part of an effort to record the
stories of the people and places affected by the oil spill. You can
follow along at the website The Gulf and Me and there are plans to create a book
from these stories with some proceeds to go towards Gulf recovery
The online community who participate in this effort can upload stories,
photos and so on. There are also plans for some live video streaming.
In addition to the thegulfandme.com site you can
follow along (and spread the word) through the Facebook
The Voice and The Boss
Two prominent (some might say "legendary") figures of Yankee baseball
have died in the past week. Longtime Yankee public address announcer
Bob Sheppard was
known for his distinguished style; he could make
poetry in his elocution of names like Derek Jeter, Joe DiMaggio, Micky
Mantle and others. He was also greatly respected as a pious gentleman,
snappy dresser and lover of language. He nearly made it to 100 years of
age and his career at the old Yankee Stadium saw many greats and great
moments. He's fondly remembered by players, fans and management and he
even has a plaque bearing his name in Monument Park alongside the
Yankee titans like Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio. There's a terrific
tribute and article by Marty Noble posted here at MLB.com.
The other prominent Yankee, like Sheppard, was not a player. But George
Steinbrenner, the big spending, big-talking and longtime owner of the
team, was known as a winner. Yes, he paid large salaries - the best
players money can buy - but he also instilled a winning attitude to a
club that had an incredible legacy of success but had fallen into a
slump in 1973 when
he acquired the franchise. "The Boss", as he was fondly known, passed
away today at the age of 80 (story here). Maybe it is fitting
that he died on the day the Major Leaguge Baseball All Star game is
being played. Steinbrenner was something of an all star among
It's not typical of me to heap praise upon members of the New York
Yankees family. I'm a longtime and diehard Boston Red Sox fan. The
diamond battles between these teams are legend. But the fact that
Steinbrenner brought championship baseball back to the storied NY team
is something to be admired. And when the Yankees and Red Sox are both
winning it makes for better baseball all around.
A Road Trip to Explore Your
As usual, fellow personal historian Dan
Curtis has found some more interesting information, so I'm
spreading the word on this one from his blog postings. Sears is looking to
send out some people on the road this summer to explore different parts
of the country and record their experiences to share with the rest of
us. They call this Exploring
My America (details here).
I've often enjoyed road trips. Sure, traveling by car can be long and
tedious. But you get to see so much more and to experience more,
especially if you take the time to savor the journey and make stops at
intriguing places. I have childhood memories of the family riding by
car across many states (Dad was in the Air Force and we relocated a
lot). My wanderlust continued in college. One summer a buddy and I, on
a whim, drove from Norman, Oklahoma to Los Angeles and back over the
July 4th long weekend, including stopping at the Grand Canyon and
Disneyland. My best memories from the trip were driving through
secluded mountain areas, deserts and along historic highways, like
Route 66. And the comraderie and conversation were a big part of the
I think Sears has a great idea (and a different marketing approach than
the norm) with their Exploring My America project. A weeklong road
trip, meeting people, sharing your story and theirs - that's the kind
of "Your Life Is Your Story" adventures I encourage.
Remembering Robert Butler, Inventor of Term "Ageism"
Leukemia has claimed the life of Robert Butler on Sunday (story), but his impact and
influence on respectful treatment of elders will live on long past his
83 years. The Pulitzer Prize winner is credited with coining the term
"ageism" to bring attention to age discrimination. He was considered to
be a prominent gerontologist and he did a lot of advocating for aging
and was the founding director of the National Institute on Aging at the
National Institutes of Health.
spans continue to lengthen and how elders are viewed and treated will
continue to be an important issue. How do you treat the elderly? Do you
give them their due? How will you want to be treated? Everyone - young,
old and in the middle are deserving of dignity. I'm reminded of the
chorus to the John Prine song, Hello In There:
know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello."
God bless the elders. And God bless those of you who are doing your
part to preserve our elders' stories.
Write About Your Freedom Rights
face it, despite the problems and challenges we face in America we
still have many wonderful freedoms and rights. Sometimes I think we
take them for granted. These freedoms don't exist in every country.
Freedom doesn't come free. It requires sacrifice. A willingness to be
part of a community and a responsibility to get along with others and
protect those who need protection. It means helping those who need
help. In our pursuit of happiness we do well to remember this.
What does Independence Day mean to you? Do you celebrate your freedom
and respect the rights of others on July 4th? Over the course of our
history the United States has experienced growing pains. And many men
and women have fought for freedom. In wars. In civil rights marches. In
the classroom. In homes. We do well to think, and I believe, write
about what our freedom rights mean to us. Your life story includes
struggle. And it includes knowing yourself on a very deep level.
Remember the profound statement, "The truth will set you free".
Discovering the truth of the meaning and purpose of your life is indeed
a freedom. Let that freedom ring!