Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products,
...and whatever else catches the fancy of personal historian Tom Gilbert
Bridges to Connect Lives and Stories
March 29, 2016
a world where people are too often building walls it is important
to recognize that life stories can build bridges that connect us. A
family history or life story can connect younger generations with their
elders. It can connect people who share similar values. Our stories can
bridge the gap between cultures and help people recognize that despite
our differences we have many things in common.
for the better good is better than building walls out of fear of the
One of the wonderful ways to build bridges so that people can connect
is through the use of art. There are many artistic activities that
allow for sharing lessons, values and stories. An organization based in
America’s heartland of Lincoln, Nebraska is using the arts to
help facilitate the creation and sharing of life stories and spiritual
growth. The Hildegard
Center For the Arts have
developed: Art Bridges – Lesson Plans for Enrichment, Growth and Healing.
| read more |
Typical Response for Information to Help with Your Story
March 22, 2016
I get a lot of emails from people wondering about what kind of help
they can get to write their story. They also want an idea of what it
costs. These are good questions for those investigating how to get
their story done. I answer these requests and I thought it might be a
good idea to share a typical response.
This is what I wrote to someone who is interested in knowing more about
creating their life story. They are doing their own writing:
Thank you for your email and your interest in knowing more about
creating a life story. I am a sole proprietor and do this part time as
I am a full time school teacher at this point in my career. My
specialty is to coach someone who is doing it themselves and/or
co-write or ghost write. I don't get involved in the book layout or
publishing, although I know others who do it and can help point people
in the right direction. Basically, I like teaching how to write,
editing or doing the writing.
Everyone has their own rates. I work on a $50/hour rate which is more
than fair for this type of work. It is an investment of a lifetime (pun
intended) to preserve your life story and leave a legacy - your words,
values, experiences - for others, especially family members. Think
about what you would pay to have a memoir from a beloved relative
(parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, etc).
The amount of work that gets done in an hour depends on what it is.
Heavy editing of difficult to understand and poorly written text is
slow going versus someone who writes well, but needs some feedback and
When I interview someone each hour translates to about 15 hours of work
- the questions, interview, transcription and then writing/shaping the
Others to investigate: The
Memoir Network, The
Association of Personal Historians.
I hope this information is helpful.
"Everybody has a story to tell"
Hopefully this gives you an insight into the process. I recognize it is
just the beginning. If you work with a personal historian you want to
begin a dialogue, ask questions, see samples of work and feel
comfortable with ability as well as a good working relationship. Keep
in mind that goes both ways. Personal Historians want a good
interaction with clients because life story work is intensive and can
take a long time. I've got more information about life story resources
Inspiring Story About an Irish Mom
March 17, 2016
It's St. Patrick's Day and so an inspiring story about an Irish mom is
fitting. It comes from Ruth Bergin, a personal historian who so wanted
to find her mom's life stories after she passed away. She didn't, but
she did discover a priceless journal her mother kept during a visit to
Ireland in 2009. It was full of delightful observances and experiences
on the Emerald Isle. This provided Ruth with inspiration that
led her to saving life stories for others.
Even more, she got a precious final gift from her mom once it was
discovered that her illness was terminal and death imminent. The mom
informed her family of her wishes they remain strong and insisting she
and her siblings visit Ireland and explore their family roots.
That was her last wish, that they use inheritance for this worthy
| read more of An Irish Mom's Final Gift - on the
True 5th Beatle was Producer George Martin
March 10, 2016
Martin, an extraordinary music producer, has died at the age of 90.
Without him, the Beatles, an alltime great band, would not have been
the same. The Beatles had the songs, the drive, the playing ability.
George Martin brought to the studio a trained ear and mind. He
understood musical theory. And he made great suggestions and gave the
group some terrific ideas. The fact that he produced some of the
amazing sounds on albums like Revolver
Pepper's cannot be understated.
Many people don't realize that the Beatles had to struggle at the
beginning before becoming successful. Despite having a good club
following in England, several record companies rejected them. But
George Martin heard something they didn't and gave them their first
recording deal. He spent many great hours in the studio with them and
truly should be recognized as the "5th Beatle".
A really interesting article about George Martin and how he signed and
produced the Beatles can be read at the Rolling Stone Magazine site.
and Religion - Taboo or Topic
March 7, 2016
A couple of hot buttons for most people are politics and religion. It's
frequently been said that you avoid those topics in conversation. But,
can we really do that when we are writing our memoirs or a history of a
family member? Quite often what we think about government, service,
faith and our quest to find spiritual meaning are topics that help
define who we are. Politics and Religion are part of this. So is it
taboo or a topic worth pursuing?
I, for one, think it is important to deal with these topics. Having
consideration about how our beliefs might impact others and also how we
treat others with differing (read diverse) ideas and opinions about
politics and religion say a lot about our character. Stick to your
values and beliefs, but tread softly could be good advice.
This year's presidential campaign includes a lot of name calling,
insults, and personal attacks that have nothing to do with the issues.
It is hard for us to not comment on how we feel about that. There are
also some major issues that need to be considered.
With the passing of Nancy Reagan, former first lady and husband of
President Ronald Reagan, people are getting a chance to look at a life
of someone who stood by her husband, was a trusted adviser, and truly
loved her spouse. Whether you agree with their politics or not, I think
we can admire their relationship.
Fran Morley, a freelance writer, photographer and personal historian
shared a thoughtful blog post on the Association of Personal Historians
site about Religion and Politics. It spurred my own post here and I
suggest you read what she has to say about these important topics and
how we can ask helpful and guided questions that will give us insight
into people's feelings on these matters.
Memoir Classes and Promote Personal History
March 3, 2016
Many people who work on life stories and memoirs probably think they
could help others. And there is plenty of truth in that. If you can
write a memoir there is a good chance you could help others do the
same. I realize not everyone who is preserving their life story is
interested in helping others do the same. But some are.
I find myself drawn to the stories about other people. I also believe
that we should all be living lives of value, trying to bring to the
world our talents and leaving a legacy that includes our unique
As part of the process of educating and bettering myself in the field
of personal history, life story writing and memoir instruction I have
attended workshops, conferences, taken courses, read many books, done a
lot of writing and shared what I've learned with others. Not many
people take on the job of being a professional teacher and that's fine.
It is a lot of hard work and to do it you have to want to help others.
It's a calling. Believe me, I know - I work full time teaching 5th
grade. But I also have a passion for helping others, young and old, to
preserve their life stories.
One of the things I did a few years ago that has helped me is I
purchased the Memoir Professional Package from The Memoir Network.
This package of instruction includes a tremendous amount of resources
such as a curriculum and presenter's manual for Turning Memoires Into Memoirs workshops.
And I got some one-on-one instruction from Memoir professional and
mentor Denis Ledoux.
You can do the same. And the timing is good as the Memoir Professional Package
is being discounted from $350 to $250 (a $100 savings) from March 7
through 10. I recommend you investigage it. Yes, if you buy it I will
get a commission and that would be nice. But I am more
in you discovering the value of this package. If you've ever thought
about joining in the ever-growing field of personal history and memoir
creation then check this out.
Memoir Writing Professionals are needed and in demand. You don't have
to reinvent the wheel. The Memoir Professional Package already
has the information and resources you need to start your own memoir
business. It's a tremendous feeling to help others tell the stories of
their lives. This is a way you could part of that.