Your Life is Your Story Go To Your Life is Your Story Home Page

The "Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives

Read about quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products, links, services

                     ...and whatever else catches our fancy

March 2013

current blog entries
blog archive index

The Poet's Memoir

March 25, 2013

Recollection, introspection - respiration, inspiration. Scanning memory, thinking about it, breathing the past and getting fueled for tomorrow, these are some of the things I admire about poets. There is something about their view of life, a perspective that elevates the mundane to greatness or lowers the lofty to sea level. Yesterday, tomorrow and the now all collide and revolve and orbit each other in the poet's mind/eye/heart/soul.

Looking for the Gulf Motel by Richard BlancoRichard Blanco, this year's inaugural poet (One Today), has released a memoir, Looking for The Gulf Motel, and the review by Julie Marie Wade is fascinating because it raises questions about what constitutes memoir. Memoir can be tricky; it relies on memory, specifically that of the memoirist, and that version of the truth may vary with other versions, but ultimately it is the version that matters. At least for the story being told.

I am not a poet, but I surely do find them interesting. In recent years I've discovered some fine wordsmiths such as Billy Collins, Mary Oliver and (from ages ago) Gerard Manley Hopkins. My ongoing association with Ahrend R. Torrey keeps me open-minded and growing as a writer and interviewer. We previously collaborated on Believer Poet and are now working on a sequel.

So I say, thank you, to the poets. You open our eyes, ears and hearts to the worlds you see that but for your words we might have missed.

Family Narrative For the Good of the Children

March 19, 2013

I've seen more than once how writing or telling someone your life story can have a benefit on your mental, physical and often emotional health. But the New York Times just released a story, The Stories That Bind Us, stating how good it is for your children's health, especially as they grapple with the challenges they will go through in life. Having a strong family narrative can give your children insight on how to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life. They develop confidence, they feel more secure and they tend to be more resilient.

Now keep in mind that the powerful family narrative is best when it combines stories about success as well as how they have dealt with failure, setback and tragedy. So don't make it all a bed of roses nor a trail of tears.

This is the second New York Times article in just a few days to mention the benefits of life story work. I've been watching this trend develop over the past decade. Are we about to reach critical mass?

Becoming Virtually Immortal

March 13, 2013

We live in a time when the means to preserve a life story are more advanced and accessible than ever before. No longer do you have to rely on pen and paper or even old fashioned photography. Technology has made recording our lives through digital means possible with our smartphones, advanced cameras, recorders, tablets and computers.

It still takes some work and perhaps the help of a professional personal historian to pull together these elements and create a coherent finished product. A New York Times article reveals how we are living in a great time for preserving our stories. The article by J. Peder Zane, Hey, at Least You Can Be Virtually Immortal, mentions the growing trend of leaving a legacy with the tools of the 21st century.

Featured in the article are Association of Personal Historian members Sarah White (current APH president), Cathi Nelson (also a founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers), Mary O'Brien Tyrrell (president of the International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review) and Stefani Twyford (Legacy Multimedia). This piece wonderfully advances the importance of passing on our stories for our future descendants.

Time Enough For Time

March 11, 2013

The semi-annual ritual of changing the clocks one hour took place this weekend. Daily Savings Time kicked in as we moved our clocks forward one hour and got robbed of a precious sixty minutes of sleep Saturday night.

Messing with our "body clocks" can result in feeling out of sorts. Are you one of the many who feel this way when we spring forward or fall back for the start or end of Daylight Savings Time?
Government reasoning for daylight savings time
We all get the same amount of time each day. I try to live in twenty-four hour segments. It would be even better to just live a minute at a time. Or not even tick off the seconds. Now is the only time we have.

A friend sent me a touching email today, a story about an old man who passed away and a young man who was his friend and a gift he received from him. You may have heard the story of Mr. Belser before. I traced it to a site that credits it to Bob Perks and you can read it here. I think the message is important and I hope you take the time to read it.

As for your ongoing life story, use some time each day to take stock. What memories are with you today? What memories did you make? How are you processing and preserving your life story? We all have a story and writing and talking about it has many benefits.

Death and the Online Process of Tribute and Grief

March 7, 2013
rest in peace - digital online grieving
We live in a different kind of world than previous generations. Information is everywhere. Technology keeps advancing. The Internet is at our fingertips. On computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones we drink in information. And we post it, too. Instantaneous and global.

When death occurs, be it family, friends or celebrity, we often find out about it through social media, blogs or tribute sites. In addition to discovering this news, many are driven to comment. It brings a public mourning aspect to death. Unfortunately, part of the price of this brave new world is the lack of respect at times for those in grief. The flipside, however, is that we can also get consolation with heartwarming posts, messages and tributes.

Thanks to a recent post by personal historian Stefani Twyford (Legacy Multimedia), I discovered in one spot a great deal of interesting and helpful information about this topic. Digital Mourning - Grief In the Online Age has some of Twyford's thoughts. This is good stuff. I recommend you read it and consider how you handle death and grief in our online world.

Forest Fenn and His Hidden Treasure

March 4, 2013

A Santa Fe man has an interesting legacy he wants to leave. Forest Fenn is a famous art and antiquities dealer who retired after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1998. Although his cancer is now in remission, he's aware that it could always return. It isn't his first frightening battle; he was an Air Force pilot that knows how life can end at any time.

Forest Fenn, Santa Fe art dealer, has buried treasure worth two million dollarsFenn wrote a memoir titled The Thrill of the Chase and in the book he put clues to the location of buried treasure. This treasure, in an honest-to-God treasure chest, contains $2 million worth of gold nuggets, jewelry and other valuable archaeological finds that he had collected over the years. It is supposedly buried somewhere in the deserts of the Southwest. While many have been searching for it the past several years, nobody has found it. Recently he's been featured on the Today Show and an article by Margie Goldsmith is a delightful read about her encounter with this interesting man.

The treasure of our lives is more than gold and relics. Forest Fenn shows us it is indeed in a life well-lived and the thrill of seeking treasures of all kinds.

Everybody has a story to tell!
Copyright © 2003 - 2016 All rights reserved
Email Tom Gilbert