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We seem to be a celebrity obsessed society. So many people are fascinated
with the lives of famous people. Maybe it is that we don't think our own
lives are interesting enough. Of course, I don't believe that's true.
But famous people will continue to capture the attention of many.
It's not necessarily a bad thing if we look at the lives of prominent
people and learn something from them. That's the whole point of personal
histories and the value they can hold for our friends, loved ones and
even casual acquaintances or complete strangers.
The memoir market continues to churn out the "million stories in
the naked city". Not of all them are worth a read, but certainly
some are. A recent NY Times article (free registration required) looks at the plethora
of memoir releases and the article's author has a sarcasm-laced pen. Still,
it shows that writing memoirs is more than a passing fad. And I'm glad
for that as I'm currently getting a great deal of enjoyiment from reading
Bob Dylan's "Chronicles".
If you have a story worth telling I think you should pursue it. Not everyone
is interested in publishing for mass consumption. Your life has value
and your story matters, even if it is meant for no wider readership than
your immediate family.
Do you know what you believe in? I mean the really core values and beliefs
that guide your life. Most of us think we know what we believe in, but
until you spend time with that question, including some writing, it might
be vague and ill defined.
I know for me that what I believe in has evolved and changed over the
years. The more time I have in my life journey the more I realize how
important it is to stay open-minded and willing to consider various viewpoints.
It's like the Bob Dylan song, "My Back Pages", with the great
line, I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.
Back in 1951 esteemed journalist Edward R. Murrow created a radio series
called This I Believe. He asked Americans from all walks
of life — including former U.S. presidents, captains of industry,
taxi drivers, actors and homemakers — to write brief essays about
their most fundamental and closely held beliefs. Now NPR (National
Public Radio) is resurrecting this concept and will begin to air essays
from people about their beliefs on April 4th.
I think it is a great idea and a worthy project for each of us to write
about. So, whether you are interested in submitting your essay to NPR
or just getting down on paper what you believe I want to encourage you
to do it.
There continues to be more press coverage on the growing interest in ethical
wills. I wrote about this previously (here),
but you might also have seen an article that has been picked up by the
Associated Press and printed in numerous papers. Lisa Cornwell captures
in a consise article some of the many powerful reasons for writing your
ethical will and you can read it here.
If you find you are interested in developing your own ethical will I highly
encourage you. I am expanding my services to include interviewing and
writing others' ethical wills. If you are interested feel free to contact
This past weekend we were delighting in warm sunshine. It was over 70
degrees on Saturday and it seemed that Spring hard surely sprung! It's
not unusual for beautiful New Mexico to have those kinds of days, but
it was the first of its kind for this year and we loved it.
But "Mother Nature" likes to show us that the weather can change
unexpectedly. Today we had the most snow in Albuquerque all winter. Wet
snow fell throughout the afternoon and it looks like a winter wonderland.
Getting strange twists in the weather can make for memorable days and
these add to our stories. No doubt when I look back on March, 2005 I will
remember how Winter turned to Spring and back to Winter in the blink of
It's amazing when you consider how advanced video recording has come in
just a generation or two. Remember the old 16 millimeter recordings? Do
you or your parents have any of those old reels around? We were impressed
back then, but what a hassle to mess with the threading and playback!
Nowadays digital video is all the rage. It's great stuff and makes editing
a much less complicated process. But, if you don't know some of the "ins"
and "outs" of digital recording and editing then the process
Thank goodness there are people like Steve Pender around. His Family
Legacy Video product and services are easy-to-follow and very professional.
Naturally - he's been doing professional video work for years. He's also
an able instructor and lover of family history. See more about Family
Legacy Video at our "Highlight
And here's a nice quote: "You are not here merely to make a living.
You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater
vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich
the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."
— Woodrow Wilson
What is it about people's stories that makes them compelling? When we
hear of the experiences, the trials and tribulations, the triumphs and
the tragedies of others we recognize that we all have many things in common.
It is especially powerful when the stories of family members teach us
about life. We learn that the path we travel is our own but still shared.
We see the links to our past and we can share a vision for the future.
We transcend our preoccupation with self and recognize the need for transformation.
Tell your story. Tell it for the value it brings to family. Tell it for
the lessons you learn, and continue to learn. Tell it with the language
of the heart.
There is a growing interest in children, teenagers and young people telling
their story. I think this is great! Get started at a young age and an
interest in personal history will help throughout your life.
An email I received recently from one of the members of the Association of Personal Historians (APH), Amy J. Oaks Long of Old Willow
Personal History, claims she has done a lot of work with children
and teens writing their personal stories. See more here.
Everybody has a story to tell!
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