Tag Archives: life lessons

Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

In today’s Monday’s Link Roundup, be sure to read So Many Snapshots, So Few Voices Saved. It speaks eloquently to why personal historians do the work they do.  And for a feast for the eyes,  don’t miss A Typographic Tour of New York City at Night.

  • What Good Is Listening Anyway? “I’ve observed that good listeners set themselves apart with a few key habits. These behaviors come naturally to some, but they can be practiced or developed by anyone. Here are a few tips to consider:”
  • Life Lessons from the Newtown Obituaries. “For adults, obits are about what they did. But for children, they’re about who they were. It’s about their spirit, that nebulous thing we sense when we’re around people we love and enjoy. As a result, the obituaries for the children of Newtown could end up less of a reminder of how they died than a lesson on how to live… I’m asking my fellow adults to reconsider how you’d like to be remembered, and then start living that way in small ways, every day. Live so that your obituary reads less like a résumé and more like a tribute to someone who will be dearly missed.” [Thanks to Pat McNees of Writers and Editors for alerting me to this item.]
  • So Many Snapshots, So Few Voices Saved. “I remember the regret I felt after my mom died, years ago, that we had no recording of her voice on tape. And yet when my dad died in 2008 — same thing. Plenty of photographs, but no record of the sound of his voice. I’m glad to have the photos, but I miss the immediacy of those voices, the way that even a recorded voice captures the movement of time and the resonance of the body with extraordinary intimacy.”
  • A Typographic Tour of New York City at Night. “In 2008, photographer duo James and Karla Murray took us on a breathtaking tour of New York’s disappearing face in their stunning visual archive of mom-and-pop storefront signage — a bittersweet project eight years in the making, documenting shops more than half of which are now gone. This season, they’re back with New York Nights (UK; public library) — a striking, lavish street-level tour of New York City’s typographic neon mesmerism, revealed through the illuminated storefronts of some of the city’s most revered bars, diners, speakeasies, theaters, and other epicenters of public life.”
  • I was writing my life story, but left myself out of the picture. “A few months ago I started taking a night-school course called True to Life: Writing Your Own Story…I decided I was going to learn to write what I thought was my life story. With Beth as our teacher, however, something more than just writing happened in class.”
  • Don’t Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay. “Lovers of ink and paper, take heart. Reports of the death of the printed book may be exaggerated. Ever since Amazon introduced its popular Kindle e-reader five years ago, pundits have assumed that the future of book publishing is digital…Half a decade into the e-book revolution, though, the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter. Hardcover books are displaying surprising resiliency. The growth in e-book sales is slowing markedly. And purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets. It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup check out the animated talk 5 Things Every Presenter Should Know About People. If you make presentations, I highly recommend it.  And for something creative and fun, be sure to watch Publisher Creates Inspirational Book Sculpture Video.

  • 10 Important Life Lessons We Learned from Children’s Books. “This week, one of our favorite children’s book authors and illustrators of all time, Chris Van Allsburg, turned 63. Allsburg’s books were formative literature for us as children, so to celebrate the author’s birthday, we were inspired to think about all the life lessons we learned from children’s books — both picture books and early chapter books — that still stick with us.”
  • 8 Things You Should Include In Your Terms of Service Agreement. “If you’ve been a solo freelancer for any significant stretch of time, you’ve probably learned the hard way that a work project can go horribly wrong. They turn out to be life lessons in the long run, but there are ways to protect yourself.”
  • The Life Biographic: An Interview with Hermione Lee. “Acclaimed biographer Hermione Lee talks about life-writing as a scholarly and literary pursuit: the fictions and facts that make up written lives, rules that can be broken, conventions that change and motives that remain the same.”
  • Participatory Archives: Moving Beyond Description. “Last week, the Library of Congress Archives Forum hosted a talk by Kate Theimer of the popular blog ArchivesNext…Theimer spoke on the subject of participatory archives, highlighting the ways that archives can use crowdsourcing projects to increase user engagement and understanding, while also enhancing the information and resources that they provide.”

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Encore! Scrabble And Family Stories.

Scrabble 2

Image via Wikipedia

I read an essay, Lessons Beyond Words by Darren Yourk, on the Globe and Mail website.  It’s subtitled, While thrashing me at Scrabble, Grandma did more than expand my vocabulary. She shared our family’s story. Yourk’s piece is both humorous and touching. Here’s an excerpt… Read more.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup if you like to see how things are created, don’t miss How Illuminated Manuscripts Were Made. If you’re a fan of vintage neon signs, you’ll love  An Architect’s Quest to Document New York’s Neon Heritage. 

  • Is a Bookless Library Still a Library? “We’ve been hearing about it for years, but the bookless library has finally arrived, making a beachhead on college campuses. At Drexel University’s new Library Learning Terrace, which opened just last month, there is nary a bound volume, just rows of computers and plenty of seating offering access to the Philadelphia university’s 170 million electronic items.”
  • One word or two? “Frequently confused word lists abound, and a good list can be a copyeditor’s dear friend when a brain cramp sets in or a deadline looms … It struck me that copyeditors might find a quick list of these word pairs a handy tool to fight a sudden brain cramp.”
  • How Illuminated Manuscripts Were Made. “In this fascinating short documentary, part of The Getty Museum‘s excellent Making Art series on ArtBabble, we get to see the astounding patience and craftsmanship that went into the making of medieval illuminated manuscripts.”
  • The Me My Child Mustn’t Know. “Everyone has a past, and it’s a very personal decision to reveal — or not reveal — the more unsavory bits to our children. It’s possible for most people to smooth out the rough edges of their histories, to edit out indiscretions or sanitize their mistakes. After all, some things are none of our kids’ business, right?” [Thanks to Pat McNees of Writers and Editors for alerting me to this item.]
  • An Architect’s Quest to Document New York’s Neon Heritage. “Kirsten Hively is an architect with an unusual affection: not for buildings but kitschy neon signs, on storefronts and against windows. Hively scoured New York City for remnants of what was once abundant in the city, photographing them as part of her series Project Neon. So far, the architect has over 400 photos, as well as a modified Google Map with pins tacked to the signs’ locations.”
  •  Northern B.C. ghost town resurrected on Facebook. “Ramona Rose is raising a town from the dead. But she’s not an exorcist; she’s an archivist. The University of Northern B.C. head of archives and special collections runs a project to preserve what remains of a ghost town. Using Facebook, she’s been rebuilding Cassiar as a virtual community.”
  • 10 Life Lessons from Esquire’s “What I’ve Learned” Interviews. “Since 1998, Esquire magazine has conducted more than 300 interviews with artists, athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs, musicians, politicians, scientists and writers. The series — called “What I’ve Learned” — provides a fascinating cross-section of the lives of prominent people. From Buzz Aldrin to Batman, the interview list reads like a Who’s Who of our era.”

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Want to Know What Betty White Can Teach You About Your Personal History Business?

1989 Emmy Awards

Who doesn’t  love Betty White? I’m a huge fan, first encountering her as the sugar-coated tough cookie  Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. This past weekend I was reading an interview with White.

I was struck by the fact that her life has lessons to teach those of us who run personal history businesses. I’m not for a moment suggesting that we can all possess the good health and talent of a Betty White but we can certainly learn from her example.

Keep going

Betty White has been working hard for over  six decades. She’s done it all, constantly reinventing herself. She started out in radio in the 1940′s. Her first television appearance was in 1949 with Al Jarvis on Hollywood on Television which she later hosted.

Through the 50′s she created, co-produced, and starred in the syndicated comedy Life With Elizabeth for which she received her first Emmy Award.  Through the 60′s  and early 70′s she appeared regularly as a celebrity panelist on game shows.

Her big break came in 1973 with The Mary Tyler Moore Show where she was a regular until the series ended in 1977. Her next starring role, for which she received her second Emmy Award, was on The Golden Girls from 1985 through 1992.

Through the 90′s, White guest starred in numerous network television programs. She also lent her voice to a number of animated shows. Most recently she’s hosted Saturday Night Live and is starring in the comedy series Hot in Cleveland.

LESSON: Success doesn’t happen overnight. As a personal historian you’ll need to put in many years of hard work. You might have to take on a second job to pay the bills. Like Betty, who continually reinvented herself, you’ll need to learn new skills such as public speaking, book  production, blogging, or workshop design. Doing all this with determination and a positive attitude will help you through the tough times just as it did Betty White.

celebrate your uniqueness

Betty White embraces her age. She makes no apologies for being old. From the Golden Girls to Hot in Cleveland she’s demonstrated that you can be old and still be funny, smart, outspoken, and sexy.

Receiving a lifetime-achievement award at the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards, she gushed sincerely about how lucky she’s been to work with so many in the room, and then seamlessly added, “And I may have had some of you, too.” Back on that podium again in 2011, she stroked the statuette’s bare bottom and smiled lewdly.

~ from the Globe and Mail  The Betty White tornado

LESSON: Be yourself. As a personal historian, I bring decades of experience as a documentary filmmaker. I value my graying beard and wrinkles. I see my “advancing years” as a plus in this business. Age suggests experience and a life lived – all valuable and marketable traits for a personal historian.  Look hard at what makes you special and unique. This will be a selling point with your potential clients who are not only looking for competency but also authenticity.

Embrace curiosity and learning

“You have to stay interested in things.” White said in her Globe and Mail interview. “There’s so many things I want to know more about that I’ll never live long enough to do. But it’s something to reach for.”

Betty White is a marvelous example of life-long learning. Starting in radio, moving to television, then becoming a producer, starring in feature films, hitting the quiz show circuit, and now releasing her fifth book  If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t).

Given her six decades in the entertainment business she could have easily succumbed to its changing technologies and tastes as many did. But she rose to the challenges, got even better, and survived without any bitterness. As she says, “Sickeningly optimistic.”

LESSON: To survive in the personal history business we need to adapt or be swept aside by the the digital revolution. E-books, print on demand, social media, and HD video all require learning new ways of doing our work. Sure,  it’s not easy at times but sticking our heads in the sand or complaining bitterly won’t work. Grab on to your inner “Betty White” and just do it!

look Fantastic

Have you noticed that throughout her career Betty White always looks fabulous and stylish? She’s not afraid to show some flair and sassiness.

LESSON: Hire a designer to ensure that all of your marketing materials – business cards, brochures, and website are first class. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to come up with a design that speaks to your uniqueness. And don’t forget your own appearance. Looks do speak volumes whether we like it or not. You want your business attire to read confident, impeccable, trustworthy, and appropriate.

Photo by Alan Light

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Ethical Wills 101: Part Four ~ Life Lessons Learned

An important aspect of an ethical will is being able to share with others the life lessons we’ve learned over the years. Why is this important? To begin with it’s useful to reflect on how much wisdom we’ve actually gained from our experiences. Some of our most profound lessons learned come from the so-called “bad” events in our lives. For me, at the tender age of twelve, I lost my dear dog, Mickey. It was a devastating event. We had been inseparable. From that and the loss of another dear friend years later, I eventually learned that nothing remains constant. Everything changes and no matter how much we may love another intensely it cannot stop the inevitable – their death. Today, a life lesson I know from experience is that we must live and love each day as if it may be our last.

Sharing our life lessons with others permits them to understand what guides us. And I think it’s also a way for people to begin to reflect on their own lessons learned. For the young our ethical will can provide a living example of the power of life experiences to teach us wisdom.

Exercise: Turn to a blank page in your ethical will notebook and at the top write, “Life Lessons.” Now use each of the following prompts below to write down your lessons learned. Some of these may not apply to you. Skip those and move on to the next. Remember that you’ll eventually transfer your notes to the front of your notebook when you finalize your ethical will at the end of the series. As with my personal example above, try to give the background story to a lesson you’ve learned.

From my father I’ve learned….

From my mother I’ve learned….

From my favorite teacher I’ve learned….

From my best friend I’ve learned….

From my work life I’ve learned….

From my (partner, spouse) I’ve learned….

From my children I’ve learned….

From my brother I’ve learned….

From my sister I’ve learned….

From my neighbor I’ve learned….

From my cat I’ve learned….

From my dog I’ve learned….

From old age I’ve learned…

What I’ve learned from failure is….

What I’ve learned from success is….

What I’ve learned from my faith is….

Watch next week for Part Five ~ Expressing Forgiveness.

Photo by Todd Baker