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The "Your Life is Your Story" Blog

© Tom  Gilbert

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Every New Beginning
Every New Beginning
May 22, 2022

It’s nearly the end of May. There are very few days left in the school year. What a year it has been. Everyone is tired. Everyone has been through the ringer, at least some kind of ringer with Covid, masks, vaccinations, and kids back to in person learning after their “freedom to do whatever they wanted”, at least for many of them who had little supervision during the remote learning of last year. We tried really hard to educate them through online meetings, but the truth is that wasn’t very effective for most of them. The flipside is that back together the students had to adjust again to being around each other and following rules and there was a lot of friction.

There’s no tired like teacher tired. By this point in each school year I am pretty spent. In a way, that’s how it should be. Good teachers work really hard and I’ve given it my all, poured out my experience, strength and hope to a group of 5th graders who may or may not have taken it in. And it is okay. Kids learn, even if it is not always the particular lessons I was teaching them. Teaching is an artform. Kids learn. And there were plenty of good things happening this year. So I have come to trust the process.

I didn’t always want to be a teacher. It came later in life, in my mid fifties after a difficult year of unemployment and some prayerful discernment for what should be next. But once I embarked on the adventure of education it was a good and fruitful experience. Not all of it was fun or enjoyable. Can you love and hate something at the same time?

Now, at the end of a dozen years as a full time elementary school teacher, I am ready for the next thing. It’s good and exciting. I have a part time job for some steady income and I can focus more on the role of life story mentor, coach and writer. I’ve been doing this kind of work when I can for almost twenty years and it has always been fulfilling. I suppose I’ve been something of a teacher with memoir and life story work.

So it is on to the next thing. We live in cycles. One thing ends, the next begins. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

The Influence of Memoirs

May 10, 2022

Do you read memoirs? In the past several years the genre has become increasingly popular. Memoirs are different from an autobiography or biography. Instead of giving the full life story a memoir focuses on a particular time in a person’s life, often with a theme. It could be about an adventure you lived through or your spiritual development. Maybe you have experienced addiction to drugs and alcohol and then gotten sober. Perhaps you overcame some other great difficulty to achieve something special. The world is full of incredible stories.

There are many influential memoirs. I recently came across a list of THE 20 MOST INFLUENTIAL MEMOIRS OF ALL TIME by Ashley Holstrom and posted to Book Riot.

I have been aware of many of these classics and read a few of them. More are on my list to get to. I think it is fascinating to read a good memoir. There is an additional benefit if you are someone interested in doing your own, or having someone help you. The more memoirs you read the more insight you get into the art of storytelling. Believe me - it is crucial that you are able to present an interesting story, one that people can relate to.

of most influential memoirs were not famous celebrities. Remember, everyone has a story to tell. Not everyone will tell theirs. But perhaps you will!

The Force is Still Strong With Star Wars

May 4, 2022

Do you know what today is? May 4th. And all the Star Wars geeks celebrate! As in 
May the fourth be with you. See the this Star Wars site for more.

May the 4th be with you!Get it? The Force is a big part of the spirituality of the Star Wars Universe. And you can slide to the positive side or the dark (negative) side. There's actually a certain philosophical side to this that appeals to me.

When I was in college in when the first Star Wars movie was released on another day in the month of May. It was May 25th, the Memorial Day weekend, and I went with a bunch of my college buddies to check it out. We were so impressed we went back several more times that summer. It was so fun and became such a sensation that we enjoyed turning others onto the "Episde IV - A New Hope". I even took my dad, a retired Air Force jet pilot. He loved the flying scenes!

One could say Star Wars is bigger than ever. The franchise has included 9 episodes in the main saga and since George Lucas sold the rights to Disney in 2012 for a hefty price, there have been some spinoffs, including the popular Mandalorian. It's a real force to be reckoned with. Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.

Speaking of puns, that's what this day each year is all about for fans of Star Wars. While I don't consider myself a geeked out fan, the movies, especially the first one, will always be part of my life story. From that summer of 1977 and through the years, and now with ongoing sagas put out by Disney, it continues to entertain as well as have me ponder.

Memoir Writing Help for Fee and Free

April 27, 2022

It is exciting to think about a finished memoir or life story! All the adventures, memories and lessons learned, told in an interesting or even entertaining fashion is a goal of many people. And why not? As I like to say, everybody has a story.

But the reality of producing a life story or memoir is that it takes time and it is a lot of work. Sometimes really hard work. But take heart, life story teller! I am not trying to discourage you.

What anyone needs when they embark on the journey of writing a life story (or working with someone who will do the writing) is encouragement and good advice. There is real value in paying for the services of a professional. At the same time there is lots of free information and help available for free.

Memoir writing help for a fee and for free - you should consider both. I have lots of articles on my site as I have written about the process of life story writing for nearly twenty years.

I also have paid for help myself. Investing in services and education has made me a better writer and life story professional.

Much of the help I have received has come from The Memoir Network. You can sign up and get access to a great deal of free beneficial memoir tips and resources. I did. 

The Memoir Network even has their own YouTube Channel and I've watched some of those informative videos. Check them out.

If you are serious in making headway with your life story I encourage you to investigate the resources. Preserving the story of your one incredible life is a worthy goal.

Wow, What a Day!

April 19, 2022

All of us have days that stand out. It could be remarkably good. Or depressingly bad. Such is life. Although most days are not on the extreme of positive or negative, the ones that we remember typically are.

Thankfully, not all days are on an extreme end of the spectrum. We couldn't handle it if it was incredibly great all the time (though it sounds tempting). And certainly life would be a very long tale of woes if every day was crushingly bad.

But life is much more like a rollercoaster than a merry-go-round. Ups and downs.

A writing task you can try would be to pick a day in your life to write about that would have the final line of, "Wow, what a day!" I got the idea from reading an article about a retired University president who is now teaching writing classes to an unusual group of people. Homeless people.

Russell Long is a former president of West Texas A&M University. His class is not a continuing education course, or a seminar for aspiring writers or college students. He shares his insight, experience and writing expertise with people who don't have a regular place to lay their head each night. He has teamed with the Panhandle Adult Rebuilding Center in downtown Amarillo. His "students" range from the higher educated to little to no schooling. You can read about this at the online Amarillo Globe-News site.

I like that he is breaking down stereotypes and inviting people to write about their lives. Science has evidence that writing about your life can actually have health benefits.

His assignment to his students is to pick a day to write about from your past, present or even imagined future that ends with the line, "Wow, what a day!" I bet there are going to be some amazing stories.
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