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March, 2007

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March 31, 2007

It's the last day of March already?  The old adage that time goes by quicker as you get older seems to be true.

I've discovered another interesting website offering up people's stories.  It features radio host Dick Gordon's various interviews.  He interviews everyday (I don't like to call them "ordinary") people who have interesting lives.  As I always maintain, everyone does.  The Friday, March 30th program was about Kim Ng.  She grew up on the streets of Queens, NY (my father's birth town) playing stickball.  Now she's vice president and assistant general manager of the L.A. Dodgers.  

On The Story website there is a place to tell them about your story.  And lots of people are sharing.  It's interesting.

You can visit The Story at www.thestory.org.


March 28, 2007

It is currently memoir week at Slate.com.  Over the next three days their experts are weighing in on new memoirs.  I believe no personal history method has grown more the past few years.  Just what a memoir is may be open to a bit of speculation, but it differs from a typical biography or autobiography.  The memoir process allows you to focus on the "story" behind the stories of your life events, to comment on your life lessons and values, and to offer insight into a particular phase or period of your life.  You can read about a number of selections from Slate by going here.

One of the more interesting selections (for me) is on the subject of autobiography and poetry.  Poet Meghan O'Rourke comments on this subject as it relates to her poetry.  I find it pertinent as I am currently writing a book about a young poet from Mississippi.  Ahrend Walters writes very spiritual poetry that is often complex and even mysterious.  He states he is an imperfect genius and he maintains that all geniuses are imperfect.  Where he finds perfection is part of his deeply held religious beliefs and you can read more about him at his Believer Poet website.


March 26, 2007

Some people think they don't have a story to tell.  Even so called "ordinary" people often have lived fascinating lives.  For instance, Madison Sales.  I'd never heard of him but was steered to his obituary posted at GlobeandMail.com.  They regularly post obits about everyday people and Mr. Sales story is amazing, to say the least.

From the obituary: "Madison Sale mdash; known to most everyone as Mad — lived an exciting life with no regrets because he lived it in a way most people only dream about. During his lifetime, he was a newspaper cartoonist, photographer, professional motorcyclist (with national championship wins and trophies), weightlifter, gymnast, and volunteer clown for the Shriners' Circus."

You can read interesting obituaries here at the "lives lived" page which is updated each day.


March 21, 2007

Today is the first official day of spring.  The weather has been pretty nice in this part of the country with lots of sunshine and 70 degree temperatures during the day.  Today we even had a few sprinkles and we might get some rain showers tomorrow.  It's always good for us to get precipitation for our dry lands.

Another significant date has been the 4th anniversary of the War in Iraq.  Our Armed Forces have endured a lot during this time, with many of them pulling more than one tour.  I hope and pray that there will soon be a resolution to the conflict, but it is a difficult and violent situation.

If you haven't seen it yet, there is now an
online Iraq Veterans Memorial  that honors the members of the U.S. armed forces who have lost their lives serving in the Iraq War.  The site, hosted by the Brave New Foundation, includes video memories from family, friends and military colleagues.  It's very moving. More here.


March 18, 2007

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day.  Did you wear green and get your Irish on?

My wife and I drove up to Santa Fe to visit a dear friend of hers for lunch. Then we attended the wedding of two good friends of mine.  Pam and Ray had a beautiful ceremony at the historic Loretto Chapel near the old town plaza. That chapel is no longer a Roman Catholic Church, but privately owned.  It has an interesting past, especially the story about the miraculous staircase.

The wedding and reception were lovely.  There was plenty of their family and friends, including children and grandchildren, as they were both previously married.

Weddings are one of those special events that bring together lots of people and make powerful memories.  I always encourage those thinking about doing an iMemoryBook to consider a wedding or anniversary as the subject.


March 12, 2007

If there is such a thing as "spring fever" I think I've caught it.  Our weather here in New Mexico has been lovely the past few days.  The days are warmer and now that Daylight Savings Time has begun we have light into the evening. I do love this time of year.

There is a new movie out based on a best-selling book, The Ultimate Gift. James Garner stars as the wealthy grandfather and Drew Fuller plays his grandson. It tells the story of a man, Red Stevens, who decides his legacy of wealth needs to be used to teach his grandson the true meaning of living.  I haven't seen the movie yet, but I can tell from the subject matter that it will resonate with any of us who write our stories and for all those who want to preserve their stories and their life lessons.

The movie is distributed by Fox Faith and you can find out more at the official site - here.  And there is a very positive review by Lawrence Toppman here at GuideLive.com.


March 7, 2007

If you've been to You Tube on the Internet you know there is a wide range of videos posted.  Lots of them silly or strange, but more and more people are sharing some of their personal stories and family history.  A great example is the 80-year old English gentleman, Peter, who goes by geriatric1927.  He's posted a great many videos of him describing his life and he's generated quite a following of avid viewers.

Recently the BBC profiled him on a radio segment and you can see that new report here.


March 1, 2007

What kind of people are personal historians.  Well, as personal historian Chana Thau relates in an article posted online at The Globe and MailĀ  tells us, "Personal historians are a motley crew. With such diverse backgrounds as teaching, counselling, marketing, television, newspaper journalism and oral history, we are producing memoirs in the form of books, videos and photography presentations."

I believe anyone with a passion for preserving family and personal stories and histories can be a personal historian.  However, it takes some dedication and some skills.  Some, like myself, specialize in writing.  Others are very good at interviews and recording oral histories. And there is a growing number who create wonderful video biographies.  

Chana is a member of the Association of Personal Historians (APH), and she gives credit to the growing organization's (over 650 members now) great resources and assistance.


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