Tag Archives: benefits

Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

For first time visitors to my  Monday’s Link Roundup, welcome. This is an eclectic list that features articles I find engaging, whimsical, and educational.  And I hope of interest to other personal historians, biographers, videographers, family historians, and memoir writers. Enjoy!

  • What Is the Business of Literature? “As technology disrupts the business model of traditional publishers, the industry must imagine new ways of capturing the value of a book.”
  • 7 Ways to Summon the Courage to Say “No”. “What do you do when a freelancing project just isn’t right for you? Do you turn it down, or do you take it anyway? Most freelancers already understand that they should say “no” to some clients. But often we freelancers just keep on saying “yes” when we know that we shouldn’t.”
  • Why You Should Fire Yourself. “What would you do if you discovered that the secret to your success online lay in firing yourself? Would you do it? That’s the question Alex, a freelance copywriter, had to face.”
  • Hey, at Least You Can Be Virtually Immortal. “NO one will confuse typical retirees today with the Emperor Augustus, who constructed a huge mausoleum to celebrate his life for eternity. And yet they belong to the first generation of elders within easy grasp of something once so rare and valuable that relatively few historic figures could enjoy it until now: virtual immortality.”
  • The Best Ways to Be Sure You’re Legally Using Online Photos. “Using images in our online work is crucial. It’s a visual medium and how better to tell your story or draw in your audience than with a compelling photo? But while some may be flattered you’re using a photo they took or image they created, most are not. Besides all the SEO and search-engine ranking reasons, using someone else’s work without their permission is not only wrong but also may be illegal.”
  • Getting Media Coverage: 5 Things You Need To Know. “Any publicity is good publicity, the saying goes, which makes free publicity even better. A mention in a magazine or buzz on a blog can put your company on the map and help boost sales, in most cases, without costing you a dime. But how do you get on journalists’ radar screens?”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup, if you swoon over typography, you’ll want to take a look at Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili.  It’s a feast for the eyes.  And for a more mindful approach to living, be sure to read A Primer on Full-Screen Living.

  • What is Narrative Therapy? ” Narrative therapy starts with the understanding that everybody’s life is multi-storied to an almost infinite degree.  If I were to sit down with you, and you were to talk non-stop 24 hours a day for 30 days about different things that have happened to you in your life, you would only have just begun to scratch the surface of all the stories associated with your life.  That’s because  stories are much more than events themselves.  They are perspectives, ways of making meaning about the situations we encounter.”
  • Book Review: Patrick Nathan on Boarded Windows. “The act of remembering — on a literal level it’s an act of creation. Every memory is rebuilt anew every time you remember it… What you’re remembering is that memory reinterpreted in the light of today, in the light of now. […] The more you remember something, in a sense, the less accurate it becomes. The more it becomes about you and the less about what actually happened.”
  • Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili. “For more than three decades, graphic designer Louise Fili* has been producing some of the most consistently exquisite typography, frequently hand-drawn and building upon thoughtfully curated vintage sources. In her decade as art director for Pantheon Books, she created nearly two thousand book jackets, each with remarkable attention to detail.”
  • Boost Your Freelance Brand 100 Percent with Your Expert Status. “To build a lucrative freelancing career, it isn’t enough to have the best skills out there, despite what these reality television shows may indicate. But you do absolutely have to be an expert: you need to be the person that advises your client so that they get the result they want, not the project they asked for.” [Thanks to Pat McNees of Writers and Editors for alerting me to this item.]
  • This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It). “When we first started studying life stories, people thought it was just idle curiosity — stories, isn’t that cool?” said Dan P. McAdams, a professor of psychology at Northwestern and author of the 2006 book, “The Redemptive Self.” “Well, we find that these narratives guide behavior in every moment, and frame not only how we see the past but how we see ourselves in the future.”
  • Book Review: How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain by Leah Price. “When is a book a book, and when is it something more? What is it that matters about books, and where is that meaning made? Why, and how, do we value books? And how has the meaning of books changed: what did books mean in an era experiencing the rapid rise of print, and what do they mean to us now as we shift into the digital age? These are all questions raised by Leah Price’s engaging and incisive How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain.”
  • A Primer on Full-Screen Living. “What’s full-screen living? It’s a life where we allow one thing to take up the entirety of our attention — going into full-screen mode, like a video on your computer — while allowing everything else to fade into the background. Let’s take a look.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this week’s Monday’s Link Roundup, I was particularly touched by Bowl full of memories. Involved as I am at the moment in sorting through my late mother’s possessions, I’m acutely aware of the power of the stories evoked by even the simplest of objects. And for you wordsmiths, don’t pass up I like words. It’s one tasty treat!

  • Wikipedia Didn’t Kill Britannica. Windows Did. “Print will survive. Books will survive even longer. It’s print as a marker of prestige that’s dying. Historian Yoni Appelbaum notes that from the beginning, Britannica‘s cultural project as a print artifact was as much about the appearance of knowledge as knowledge itself. Britannica “sold $250 worth of books for $1500 to middle class parents buying an edge for their kids,” Appelbaum told me, citing Shane Greenstein and Michelle Devereux’s study “The Crisis at Encyclopædia Britannica.”
  • How the art of eavesdropping is fuelling boom in oral history. “Last week the British Library announced it is to work with local BBC radio stations to set up The Listening Project, a Radio 4 programme that will create an oral survey of the nation by putting together thousands of recorded conversations from across Britain. Selected daily excerpts will be broadcast on Radio 4 before news bulletins from the end of this month and an omnibus edition will be aired at the weekends.”
  • Man Who Learned to Read at 91, Writes a Book at 98. “For 91 years, James Henry, a lifelong fisherman, did not know how to read and write and carried the shame of not being able to order from a menu. It had been his life’s ambition to read. Now 98, the Connecticut captain has achieved that, and more, penning a memoir of short stories about his life at sea.” [Thanks to Paula Stahel of Breath & Shadows Productions for alerting me to this item.]
  • ‘Your Playlist Can Change Your Life’: Can music boost your brain? “Anyone who’s had a bad day, then flipped the car radio on and caught the first notes of a favorite song knows how quickly music can lift the spirits. But can that momentary burst of musical power be tapped more strategically to make you a better, happier, more productive person?”
  • 15 Books That Should Be On Every Grammar Geek’s Bookshelf. “People writing “your” when they mean “you’re” makes you cringe. The song “The Way I Are” makes your hair stand on end. You can’t read user comments on websites anymore because you can feel brain cells dying off just trying to make sense of them. You, dear friend, are a grammar geek. As such, there are books that constitute required reading for those of your ilk. After you’re done editing this article, proceed to your nearest bookstore and purchase these must-have titles for rolling in the depths of grammar.”
  • I like words. “When copywriter Robert Pirosh landed in Hollywood in 1934, eager to become a screenwriter, he wrote and sent the following letter to all the directors, producers, and studio executives he could think of. The approach worked, and after securing three interviews he took a job as a junior writer with MGM. Pirosh went on to write for the Marx Brothers, and in 1949 won an Academy Award for his Battleground script.”
  • Bowl full of memories. “…we are defined by so much more than our possessions, despite our rampant consumerism. Yet I believe that for each of us, there are one or two objects that resonate so much, they indeed cut to the heart of who we are.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian compatriots! This Monday’s Link Roundup has its usual eclectic mix of articles. One on my favorites is 7 Playful Activity Books for Grown-Ups. If you’re looking for something to lighten your day, then one of these books may just do the trick. Also don’t miss a fascinating story about Vintage Report Cards from the early 1900s and what they reveal about daily life.

  • The Benefits of Speaking Aloud. “Giving sound to what had been a silent process puts writers in the role of their readers. This extra step gives writers an objective view of their content. Bestselling author Nicholson Baker calls his version of the verbalizing process “speak-typing,” in which he dictates to himself and types as he speaks.”
  • 7 Playful Activity Books for Grown-Ups. “The intersection of childhood and adulthood is a frequent area of curiosity around here, from beloved children’s books with timeless philosophy for adults to quirky coloring books for the eternal kid. Today, we turn to seven wonderful activity books for grown-ups that inject a little more whimsy and playfulness into your daily grind.”
  • When a Dictionary Could Outrage. “…the furor over Webster’s Third [1961] also marked the end of an era. It’s a safe bet that no new dictionary will ever incite a similar uproar, whatever it contains. The dictionary simply doesn’t have the symbolic importance it did a half-­century ago, when critics saw the Third as a capitulation to the despised culture of middlebrow, what Dwight Macdonald called the “tepid ooze of Midcult.” That was probably the last great eructation of cultural snobbery in American public life.”
  • Five ways to work a conference. “It’s conference season, and the challenge for most attendees is how to turn the hothouse of ideas they are exposed to into marked improvement back in the office.” [Thanks to Philip Sherwood of Lifewriters for alerting me to this item.]
  • Vintage Report Cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls. “After discovering hundreds of early 1900s report cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls, Paul Lukas is publishing his findings online in a series called “Permanent Record” on Slate. The written assessments are historical artifacts as well as ephemeral relics of daily life, describing some students as “slow,” and others as “very ambitious,” “irritable at times,” or a “nice type.”

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What Everybody Ought to Know About Life Stories and Palliative Care.

I’ve been writing about the value of life stories in palliative care since 2008. I felt it was time to assemble these articles in one place for those of you who are interested in this subject. The posts are arranged chronologically from the most recent to the oldest.

Photo by David Hsu

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20 Reasons Why You Need to Attend the 2010 APH Conference.

In a previous post, 10 Great Reasons to Visit Victoria, BC, I extolled the virtues of my home town as the location for this year’s Association of Personal Historians conference. I know that coming up with the cash to attend a conference can raise questions of getting value for your money. Let me be frank. You’d be hard pressed to find another professional conference that gives you as much “bang for your buck” as the APH conference. I speak from experience. If you’re in the business of being a professional personal historian, you owe it to yourself to attend this conference. If you still need more convincing, here are 20 reasons to head to Victoria this November:

  1. You’ll learn enough new insights, skills, and ideas to keep you fueled until next year’s conference.
  2. You’ll meet friendly, seasoned veterans who’ll be happy to share their knowledge and experience with you.
  3. You’ll have the chance to develop business partnerships with other personal historians.
  4. You’ll make new friendships that will help sustain you in your business over the years.
  5. You’ll enjoy the luxury of putting work aside for a few days.
  6. You’ll be stimulated by dynamic keynote presentations.
  7. You’ll find your “Tribe” and be energized by its members who have the same passion as you do for personal histories.
  8. You’ll be able to share your work and experience in a supportive environment.
  9. You’ll get to taste the delights of “Nanaimo Bars” and “Sidney Slices”. Yummy!
  10. You’ll get to meet APH members  from your region.
  11. You’ll be able to put a  a face to the “stars” who post regularly on the APH listserv.
  12. You’ll become part of a vibrant group and return home feeling less isolated and alone in your work.
  13. You’ll get to ask lots of questions.
  14. You’ll have fun exploring Victoria, one of the world’s top travel destinations.
  15. You’ll get to take in the  “bigger picture” of personal histories.
  16. You’ll have epiphanies.
  17. You’ll get to listen to and talk with experts that you’d not normally have a chance to meet.
  18. You’ll discover new solutions to old problems.
  19. You’ll have a chance to test out and refine your “elevator” speech because attendees will be asking you, “What do you do?”
  20. You’ll get to meet me! Just kidding. ;-) But seriously I’m looking forward to meeting many of you at the conference.

© Sebastian Kaulitzki | Dreamstime.com

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

My vote for the most unusual item in this  Monday’s Link Roundup is the “wireless tombstone”.  But if you’re looking for more substance, don’t miss Pat McNees’s comprehensive article on the beneficial effects of legacy work. I’ll admit to a bias, I was one of the people Pat interviewed  for the piece.

  • Kill Busywork: The One Skill to Focus On What Matters. “Imagine everything you do could fall into one of three buckets: 1. Bad Work. 2. Good Work. 3. Great Work. I’m not talking about the quality of the work you deliver – I’ve no doubt that’s fine. I’m talking about the meaning the work has for you and the impact it makes. Let me explain.”
  • New App Integrates Storytelling with Social Media. “Well, with Facebook anyway. I’ve written about many forms of Twitter storytelling, but Snipisode is the first storytelling app I’ve come across for Facebook. Snipisode, developed Agency Zen, lets you type or paste in a whole story and then with a click of a button snip up the story either by line or by punctuation — periods, question marks, or exclamation points. Then you choose a frequency for snips of the story to appear as status updates — daily or every two days.”
  • Die-Fi: Wireless Tombstones. “[An]Arizona company Objecs announced today that it has developed “enhanced memorial products” that add Near Field Communications tags to cemetery markers, which allow text and photos to be “embedded” in a headstone and retrieved whenever a cell phone is touched against its surface.”
  • How to Write Your Healing Story: Interview with Linda Joy Myers. “In the latest Heart and Craft of Life Writing podcast, Linda Joy explains how writing literary memoir and integrating the story arc of our lives can lead to much deeper levels of insight than we can ever get from a pile of disconnected stories. In this wide ranging conversation she also talks about using our words, our stories, to create art.”
  • Fab Forty. “Votes are in for the Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs. Come with us into a wonderful online world of family history news, research tips, encouragement and more.”

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5 Benefits of Hiring a Personal Historian.

handshakeIf you’re thinking of hiring a personal historian, keep reading.  If you’re a practicing personal historian, remember that potential clients don’t really care what you do. What they care about are the benefits they’ll get from hiring you.  I must admit that I sometimes forget this fact.  So as a reminder to myself and to anyone else who needs a prompt about the benefits -  here are five important ones. Can you think of more? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

  1. Your story will get told. This is the most important benefit of all. Countless times  people have told me that they started working on their life story or that of a family member but never seemed to be able to get it finished. Hiring a personal historian means the work will get done on time and in a professional manner.
  2. It’s more fun. Let’s face it, sitting alone with a blank computer screen or piece of paper and waiting for inspiration to strike can be daunting. We are by nature conversationalists. Sitting with a personal historian who is a skilled interviewer and empathetic listener makes telling your story an enjoyable experience.
  3. Your story will be richer in detail. Because of the familiarity with your own story, you can easily miss details that others would find fascinating. You need a personal historian who is fresh to your story and has the skill to bring out the richness of your life’s journey.
  4. A personal historian relieves you of the burden of  producing your book. Putting together a life story is an overwhelming undertaking for most people. From start to finish it requires a set of skills  that include – interviewing, editing, research, photo enhancement, design and layout, and printing.  A personal historian takes on these production tasks  and ensures that all are handled professionally.
  5. A personal historian has the time. Are you someone who simply can’t find enough hours in a day to devote to working on your own story or that of a family member? Hiring a personal historian relieves you of the guilt of not putting in the time you need to get your life story or that of a family member told.

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Photo by iStockphoto

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If You Miss This Conference, You’ll Regret It.

APH Conference 2009-logo

The Association of Personal Historians  2009 Annual Conference is being held in  Valley Forge, Pennsylvania from  Oct. 21 – 25, 2009.  If you can get to only one conference this year, this is the one to attend.

Warning: Early bird registration ends on July 31st. If you want to save money click here. Non APH members can attend the conference but if you’re not yet a member, I’d encourage you to join the APH. The Conference fees are lower and you’ll receive a wealth of benefits that are well worth the membership fee.

I attended my first APH conference in Portland, Oregon,  in 2006. It was a great experience. Here’s what it did for me:

  • Recharged my batteries: Meeting with and listening to the varied experiences of APH members got me excited about my chosen profession.
  • Honed my skills: From workshops on marketing for introverts  to making demo reels to the therapeutic benefits of life stories, I soaked in new and valuable information.
  • Inspired me: The keynote speakers and workshop leaders helped me see my work in a larger context and made me want to do more.
  • Made new friends: I found personal historians are “my kind of people”. They’re good listeners. They’re enthusiastic. They’re helpful. I still keep in touch with several colleagues I met in Portland.
  • Created a sense of community: Working on our own can sometimes feel daunting and lonely. I left Portland knowing that I was now part of a very vital and enriching community.

Revolutionary Perspectives is the theme for the 2009 APH conference. Paula Stahel, APH President, writes:

… this year’s conference theme,  is designed to help you transform and expand your awareness. The wide array of educational workshops and enlightening speakers will open your eyes to opportunities you can take advantage of immediately. Access to new information, ideas, technology, and connections will offer fresh insight on how to make your business thrive, not just survive, harsh economic times.

I really encourage you to go to this year’s APH conference. It’s an investment you won’t regret. I wish I could say that I’ll see you there but I’m caring for my 91 year-old mother and she’s my priority right now. One day I’ll be back at an APH conference. See you then!

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The Life Story Quote of The Week.

memoirs

Memoir writing, gathering words onto pieces of paper, helps me shape my life to a manageable size.  By discovering plot, arc, theme, and metaphor, I offer my life an organization, a frame, which would be otherwise unseen, unknown.  Memoir creates a narrative, a life story. Writing my life is a gift I give to myself.  To write is to be constantly reborn.  On one page I understand this about myself.  On the next page, I understand that.

~ from Sue William Silverman’s Fearless Confessions:  A Writer’s Guide to Memoir (U of Georgia, 2009)

If you’ve been contemplating the writing of your own life story, this observation by Sue Silverman may convince you to start.  The effort it takes to craft the work  is more than amply rewarded by seeing your life, often for the first time, as a coherent and intricate pattern.

Photo by Colin Campbell

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