Story and Why
"Your Life is Your
© Tom Gilbert
quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products,
...and whatever else catches our fancy
past entries - see the blog
100th Anniversary of Armistice Day
Yesterday, November 11, was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. This became known as Armistice Day,
although in the United States the name of the day has since been
renamed Veterans Day to honor all members of our military for their
service. (You might want to check out this song by Paul Simon, Armistice Day.)
By 1918 people were very relieved to have the end of the bloody and
global conflict. It was the worst war the world had ever experienced
and people were praying it would never happen again. Unfortunately,
just over twenty years later the world was at it again.
History teaches us that we must learn from our mistakes and learn about
our past or we make those mistakes again. Looks like we are still
The National Museum of American History
has put together a lot of rememberances and resources to learn more
about WWI and the people that experienced it. Even though the
anniversary was yesterday there is plenty to check out. I think it is
important to recognize the high cost of service that veterans pay. The
history of the world is something we all contribute to in various ways.
Your history may not seem like it is significant in light of major
events, but you and your family are still part of the stories of
humanity. It is important for us to put our lives in the context of
what is happening in the world.
Keep that in mind as you go through your days. You never know when
something may impact you that connects you to many others. Witnessing
the events of just the past couple of weeks with an election, a few
mass shootings, and the horrific fires in California make that very
apparent to me.
The Civic Thing To Do
November 7, 2018
One day after Election Day in the United States and the pundits and the
public are absorbing the results. This was what we refer to as the
Midterm Election because it comes halfway through the term of the
United States President. And it has significance as people elect
congress members, governors, and a great number of state
It is important to also recognize that on the ballot in many places
there are bonds and issues, along with various public service
candidates. The democratic process where citizens are allowed to
participate in choosing their representatives and having a say in
government should never be taken for granted.
Despite the great opportunity and responsibility to exercise your civic
right to vote, many people still do not vote. There are many reasons
why. Some people are apathetic, thinking their vote doesn't matter. I
have heard people say the whole system is rigged. Others just don't
seem interested or educated about it. I can understand the
cynicism. But change can only happen when people decide to say and do
I believe voting is the civic thing to do. I remember how excited I was
in 1974 when as an 18-year old I finally got my first opportunity to
vote. It was exciting. I continue to vote in elections, and not just
during the presidential election year.
One of the things that is interesting about this election is the
growing diversity of elected officials. More women and more from
different backgrounds. Here in New Mexico we elected one of
the first ever Native American women to the House of
Representatives. Deb Haaland hails from the Laguna Pueblo in New
Mexico and now will represent Congressional District 3. She will join
Sharice Davids from Kansas as part of the next Congress.
If you live in a country that allows you to participate in choosing
elected officials I hope you exercise your right to vote. Of course, it
is each individual's choice, but not everyone has the opportunity.
Go for Memoir Writing
November 1, 2018
Today on the start of a new month, November, you have a great
opportunity. You can finally get started on writing your memoir!
Or maybe you've been stalled and need to re-start.
How about getting some free tips to help you? All this month you can
get free lessons, 30 in all, through the November is Memoir Writing
Month program offered by the Memoir Network.
I strongly believe that many people want to tell their story, to write
their memoir, but just are not sure how to go about it. We all need
tips and resources to help motivate us. One of the things I know that
helps me is to write about things I am passionate about. One in
particular is my love of baseball, especially the Boston Red Sox, who
just won the World Series! Boy, I find it really easy to journal and
write about this great season the Sox just had. I've been a lifelong
fan of the team, so this is not my first time celebrating a world
champtionship. But it was an especially enjoyable finish to an
You probably have some things you are passionate about. Writing about
them and how they have been part of your life story can be very
satisfying and motivating in moving your memoir project along.
Denis Ledoux of the Memoir Network has lots of great ideas, tips and
resources he is willing to share with you as part of your free
membership in the My
Memoir Education Program. It's a great time to check it
out because during November he is giving you 30 posted lessons that
will offer new facets of looking at your memoir and at your writing.
Give it a try. It's free. I know I will be following the program myself
as I am always looking for fresh ideas. No doubt I will be using some
of these ideas and sharing my notes about memoir writing all during November
is Memoir Writing Month.
Putting Your Story in Order
October 24, 2018
If you are a subscriber of my free Your
Life Is Your Story newsletter
then you have already probably read the featured article for October
about putting your story in order. I make some points about how and why
this is important as you are doing your life story writing and
organizing your material.
There is not one way to organize your experiences.
But I think it can be helpful to try some different approaches.
The order of your stories in your memoir is
important. It can establish a theme and a tempo. One way is to put it
in chronological order. Start at the beginning of the time of the story
across time to the place where the story concludes. This is probably
the easiest approach, but it isn’t necessarily the best way
to do it.
| read more
October 16, 2018
October is National
Family History Month. We are halfway through the month,
but it is not too late for you to try to preserve some of your family
stories. The first step is to sit down and have a talk with those
people in your family who have the interesting and important stories to
tell. As they remind us at the Talk of a Lifetime
site, those stories will only last forever if you have that talk with
your family members and pass the stories on.
Probably everybody in your family is interested in knowing more about
their family elders. But not everyone is willing to be the family historian.
Hopefully someone is willing to take on that responsibility. Is it you?
Are you good at asking questions and then listening?
Nowadays we have so much technology at our fingertips that you don't
need to have super fancy equipment. Most smart phones will record
conversations with decent quality. Somebody needs to take the
responsibility of preserving your valuable family history. There is a
lot of information easily obtained to help you with this task (hint:
have you looked around
my site?). And there are lots of people who are available for hire who
are good at helping you preserve life
stories (insert wink for another not so subtle hint).
Some of our stories are lighthearted and heartwarming. Others tell of
times of great challenge. Many families have both kinds of stories.
Your message in a story dealing with adversity may well be inspiration
for another, maybe even a complete stranger. Here's a story shared by
the Living Legacy Project about
immigrants from El Salvador years ago
who had to deal with some very tough times, the type of story that is
still happening today, more than thirty years later. You can read Rage,
Fear and Helplessness online.
Season Ending Drama
September 30, 2018
Oh how I love baseball! Those of you who have followed my postings over
the years know this to be true. The game represents so many things that
I find important in life, suoing above and beyond, doing your best, and
knowing how to handle both winning and losing.
ch as facing each
moment, knowing when to
to take a pitch (pause and reflect) or be laser-like focused and ready
to hit (when you have
a decision). There is offense and defense, teamwork and camaraderie,
leadership and rules, g
It really is a game that
encompasses it all. I even wrote about this in Seeing
Life Through the Eyes of a Baseball Fan.
Today is the final day of the regular season of Major League Baseball.
Some teams are just playing it out and then heading home for the
offseason. Others have clinched a spot in the playoffs and are gearing
up for the games to determine who will play in the World Series. And
there are still a couple of divisions in the National League (the
Central and West) where things are up in the air and four teams who
will be in the playoffs are battling to determine who wins their
division and who will be in the wild card one game playoff. So it is
pretty fun to be a fan and exciting to follow the exploits of the Los
Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs.
As a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan I've already enjoyed watching my team
win well over 100 games and locking up their division. It has truly
been a historic season, but anything less than winning the World Series
will be a bit of a dissapointment after such a great season.
No matter how you feel about baseball remember that life is typically a
long haul, similar to the stretch of a baseball season. There are ups
and downs, high drama, injuries, rainouts, double-headers, intense
battles, great plays and a lots of fun.
I've been reading a very enjoyable memoir by Jon Peters, a baseball
star in his youth who set the record for most high school pitching
victories in a row (51) in 1989. He loves baseball and was sure he
would eventually have a career in professional ball, but life threw him
a few changeups. He struggled through adversity and shares his story in
Life Grabs You by the Baseballs.
History Helpful Resources
September 24, 2018
September is almost finished. The summer has wrapped up, Fall is in the
air, and when October rolls around it is a great time to take stock of
your family because it is National
Family History Month. What type of family
history have you "harvested"?
If the answer is little to none then I encourage you to start planning
to do something. It could be as small a project as a picture book or
scrapbook, or more extensive like a manuscript about the patriarchs of
Personally, I favor doing memoirs. This form of personal history is
flexible because you focus on a theme, like your love of cars or
baseball, or maybe you want to write about a particular time in your
life, a slice of your personal history. A friend of mine recently did
this with his memoir, Head
about working in radio during the heady days of hard rock and heavy
metal, especially at the renowned one time king of metal radio
stations, Pure Rock 105.5 KNAC.
worked at that station in the late 1980's and I remember well the
diehard fans and the love of music that we all shared, along with some
wild times and, let us say, adventurous exploits. The bands, like
Metallica, Guns n' Roses, Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne (just a few)
were heroes to our listeners and the station was something of a hero to
the bands because we played a lot of music that other stations in
Southern California wouldn't consider giving any exposure.
Ted Pritchard, better known as Thrasher or ThrashPie, morning man and
entertainer, worked hard to write his memoir. I read it over the
weekend and it was fun, funny and brought back a lot of memories. One
of the things that struck me was how it helped the author reminisce
about his life in radio and some of the amazing things that happened
along the way, including a real brush with near death (read the book to
find out more).
I've posted plenty of resources for you about preserving your story and
you can check
them out on this website.
If you haven't explored them then please take a look. And start
considering what an adventure your life has been. You
probably have a pretty good story to tell.
has a story to tell!
© 2003 - 2018 All