Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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It's a fact of life that growing up there will be things you'll dislike
about the way you are parented. Mom and Dad don't always see
eye to eye with the children (yes, I know that's something of an
Of course, years later, and particularly when you have children of your
own, you might appreciate your parents and your upbringing more.
Time has a way of doing that. And when you are
faced with helping your kids grow up you find a different perspective
than when you were a child.
One of the great things about having children is you can learn from
your parents and your experience and hopefully improve the parenting
process through the generations. But It's not an easy thing
Judy Wright, author of 101
Ways to Get Your Kids to Help at Home, emphasizes the
importance of success at home for our children. The more success at
home the more likely to find it outside the home. Bulding
positive life experiences is part of our responsibility as parents.
You can find out more about Ms. Wright's book here.
Ok, first things first...congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays.
A great series with the Boston Red Sox (my beloved baseball
team - see below). If you love baseball, you love this time
of year. As they say, there's only one October!
I saw some more online coverage related to the recent NY Times article
about the benefits of hiring a personal historian. About.com
and Kimberly Powell, on her blog, mentioned the article and added her
endorsement for the idea of personal historians helping you finally get
a life story project underway. See Making a Living as a Personal Historian.
Dramatic sports comebacks are great topics of conversation, but they
can also teach us good lessons about the power of believing in yourself
I've expressed several times before what a big Boston Red Sox fan I am.
My love for the Sawks
(the way they say it in New England) dates back to
1967. I was a kid in second grade and my hero was Carl Yastrzemski.
I followed the team all season long and when they lost in
seven games to the St Louis Cardinals in that year's World Series it
was the first of many heartbreaking defeats.
But I stuck with my team through the years and amazing seasons.
Ultimately, my joy was fulfilled with the 2004 World Series
win (against the Cardinals! Poetic justice?). And Boston
overcame a 3 games to 1 deficit to come back and win last year's
American League Championship series against the Cleveland Indians and
went on to sweep the Colorado Rockies, the cinderella team of the
National League, for another World Series title.
The Red Sox may or may not make it to the World Series this year.
They were all but written off last night, trailing the Tampa
Bay Rays by a score of 7-0 in the bottom of the 7th when they started
an improbable comeback and eventually won the game in dramatic fashion
in the bottom of the 9th inning, 8-7! So they are still alive
in the ALCS but must win two more games to advance to the Fall Classic.
Tampa Bay has a great team this year and lots of young, dynamic talent.
Their season has been wonderful, going from worst to first (last place
in the American League East division in 2007 to winning it this year).
But the never-say-die Red Sox have kept the hopes alive for
themselves and the fans of the Red Sox Nation.
How does this translate to our lives and our stories? Because
sports can be a part of your story and the drama of playing hard and
winning against long odds teaches us about character, teamwork and
sharing in the ups and downs of life. You surely have
personal experiences that you can relate to sports comebacks.
Be inspired and inspire others with the story of your
Being a personal historian is something I am passionate about.
I have found in networking with others who work in this field
that this is a commonly shared passion. Helping people recall
and share the meaningful events and values of their life is very
rewarding. It is rewarding certainly for the subject of the
story, but also for family members, friends and for the personal
There is certainly growth in the field of life and family history
preservation. But I find that people frequently are unsure
just what a personal historian does. And that can make it harder to
earn a living in such an occupation. Eventually I hope to
work in the field fulltime, but right now I must focus on an income
that meets my family's needs so I continue work as a promotions
director for a couple of radio stations as well as various web and
The work of personal historians will always be significant.
The number of professionals working in the field will
continue to grow. I have no doubt about that. It
may be that this type of work is best suited for those in their "second
half of life" (50 plus) who have their own life experiences and also
are looking for a career they can pursue into their own autumn years.
An excellent article in this past Sunday's NY Times - Tales From the Past, Preserved for Families - gives a good
insight into the work of
personal historians, including
members Susan Owens, David O'Neil and Sarah White.
What a drag if you had done considerable writing of your autobiography
and then had your only copy stolen. That's what happened to Roger Moore, noted
actor (one of the few to play "James Bond" in
Apparently he had written about 14,000 words and it was saved on a disc
that was then stolen out of his bag at the Geneva airport some years
put him off of the project for a long time, but with encouragement from
his wife and daughter he's returned to the project (story at www.mi6.com.uk).
This instance reminds of us of the importance of making backup
copies of your writing. For those of you still struggling
with how to start I really recommend Michael Boyter's excellent MemoryGrabber.
So much good help, prompting and suggestions
for preserving family history in a very user-friendly downloadable
format - and a real bargain at under $15. More on MemoryGrabber
I discovered something called The
Oxford Project. I know, it sounds like some
"high-brow" intellectual study. Actually, it was a great life
story project put together by photographer Peter Feldstein and Stephen
Bloom, a University of Iowa journalism professor who interviewed and
recorded the histories of the residents of the small Iowa town of
It was 1984 when Feldstein got nearly all of the town's 676 residents
to agree to being photographed. Twenty years later he sought them out
to re-photograph and brought Bloom along to conduct the interviews.
The pictures "then and now" are great, but even better were the stories
told by the various residents. As Bloom put it, "My job in
Oxford was to talk to the voiceless, to people who don't have any voice
who are the backbone of America." And his easy-going manner
and questioning yielded wonderful responses.
Read about this intriguing look into everyday American citizens (The Oxford Project)
online at CNN.com.
annual conference this year is in Salt Lake City, October 29 - November
2. Crossroads in Personal History is the theme and it will
give the many attendees a great boost in developing their personal
history businesses. Networking, workshops, speakers and
gatherings (both in groups and one-on-one) along with the amazing
resources of the Family History Library in this Utah city will make it
another powerful event.
Here's a link to a recent article
in the Daily Herald,
a Utah newspaper, about the upcoming conference.