Tag Archives: oral history

Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

Happy Victoria Day to my Canadian compatriots.  For those of you who have the day off, what better way to idle a few hours away than immerse yourself in my Monday’s Link Roundup. ;-)

  • Oral history and hearing loss. “I rarely consider the basics of oral history collection and production, the act of sharing someone’s story with a wider audience. That is one of several reasons I so enjoyed Brad Rakerd’s contribution to Oral History Review issue on Oral History in the Digital Age, “On Making Oral Histories More Accessible to Persons with Hearing Loss.” In his piece, Rakerd discusses the obstacles people with hearing loss or other limitations on speech understanding face when engaging with oral history, and offers several recommendations to allow scholars to make their material more accessible. Mad with the power of the OUPblog post, I contacted Rakerd to prod him for more information.”
  • How to Write a Simple Business Plan. “Simple is always best. So with this in mind, here’s our guide to writing a business plan that won’t make potential investors want to tear their hair out in confusion.”
  • The Stories That Only Artists Can Tell. “…it seems to me that artists talk about different things when describing themselves than do their biographers and commentators. Biographers focus almost exclusively on the artwork, who taught and influenced the artist, changes in the artist’s work, an estimation of the artist’s work. Who the artist knew and spent time with, as well as notable events in the artist’s life, are detailed to the degree that they explain the evolution of the artwork.”
  • Walking Across America: Advice for a Young Man. “It’s rare we take the time to listen to hour-long radio stories anymore, but I hope you’ll listen to this one, maybe twice. It’s an epic journey, a coming of age story, and a portrait of this country–big-hearted, wild, innocent, and wise…Andrew Forsthoefel, a first-time radio producer, who set out at age 23 to walk across America, East to West, 4000 miles, with a sign on him that said, “Walking to Listen.” Eventually, he showed up here in Woods Hole.Andrew didn’t intend to make a radio story–he just wanted to listen to people. You’ll hear in Andrew’s interviews his quality of attention. He is a magnet for stories and for the desire to connect.”
  • The Einstein Principle: Accomplish More By Doing Less. “Einstein’s push for general relativity highlights an important reality about accomplishment. We are most productive when we focus on a very small number of projects on which we can devote a large amount of attention.”
  • Why You Should Give A $*%! About Words That Offend. [NPR Interview] “If you said the “s” word in the ninth century, you probably wouldn’t have shocked or offended anyone. Back then, the “s” word was just the everyday word that was used to refer to excrement. That’s one of many surprising, foul-mouthed facts Melissa Mohr reveals in her new book, Holy S- – -: A Brief History of Swearing. Though the curse words themselves change over time, the category remains constant — we always have a set of words that are off-limits. “We need some category of swear words,” Mohr says. “[These] words really fulfill a function that people have found necessary for thousands of years.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

If you’re a memoir writer, you’ll find some gems in this week’s Monday’s Link Roundup. My favorite, Just enough about me, is a charming first-person account of an 80-year-old woman’s experience at writing her self-published memoir. And don’t miss The meaning of memoir. The author argues that memoirs are still of importance in today’s Facebook  and Twitter universe.

  • Writing Memoir, Quotes, and Books. “Working on my memoir, I’ve turned to many, many (many many, too many) books with tips on how to get started, organized, and inspired.  I also read a lot of what other authors say about the process and will share quotes here, as well.”
  • The Legend Library: A video record of our theatrical legends. “This series of exclusive video interviews is one of our most important initiatives, capturing the stories of our theatrical legends. Conducted by actor/director RH Thomson, these comprehensive interviews will preserve our [Canadian] theatrical heritage for generations to come.”
  • Just enough about me. “It was a Sunday in May, 2010, and I was two-finger-pecking at the keyboard on my computer, composing another anecdote for my memoir, which I hoped to self-publish in time for my 80th birthday in May, 2011.”
  • Milestone Memories. “I’ve been thinking about milestone’s a lot recently. Late May through early July is major milestone season for my family and me. I graduated from high school on May 28. and began my first job on June 5, which was also the day I first met the man I married a year later…Milestone moments deserve to be celebrated and commemorated. Many call for celebration in person with others. All are compelling story topics on their own merits.”
  • The meaning of memoir. “Even in an age of tweets and Facebook posts and personal websites and talk-show bookings, there are things only a memoir — a sustained written meditation on an individual experience — can do. In his introduction to “Memoirs” (1972) by W.B. Yeats, Denis Donoghue wrote that Yeats “is not given to the intrinsic pleasure of confession, he is concerned with the meaning of a life, not with its mere content.”
  • Day One Stories. “In 2011, hundreds of people across the country were asked to photograph their first day of retirement. These photos and the accompanying documentaries capture a moment of transition in a life.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

If you’re looking for some good summer reading, this Monday’s Link Roundup has several suggestions. Be sure to check out ‘When Women Were Birds’ by Terry Tempest Williams and 10 of the Best Memoirs About Mothers. If you’re a Mad Men fan, and who isn’t, you’ll want to read Mad Men and Wonder Years: history, nostalgia, and life in The Sixties.

  • Carl Sagan on Books. “The love of books and the advocacy of reading are running themes around here, as is the love of Carl Sagan. Naturally, this excerpt from the 11th episode of his legendary 1980s Cosmos series, titled “The Persistence of Memory,” is making my heart sing in more ways than the universe can hold:”
  • Black history ‘undertaker’ loses treasures. “Nathaniel Montague spent more than 50 of his 84 years chasing history, meticulously collecting rare and one-of-a-kind fragments of America’s past. Slave documents. Photographs. Signatures. Recordings.”
  • Arnaud Maggs: One of the most remarkable careers in Canadian art. “It was when Maggs started fishing around in French flea markets in the 1990s, however, that his obsessive collecting and arithmetic ordering found their richest raw material in the shape of domestic and industrial ephemera from the 19th century. In this show, curator Josée Drouin-Brisebois includes the lovely Les factures de Lupé, photographs of the pastel-coloured household invoices of an aristocratic French couple from Lyons. Who were the Comte and Comtesse de Lupé and why did they keep all their bills for furniture, jewellery, perfumes and linen? We don’t know, but these pristine photographic enlargements of their mundane household papers read as an emotionally gripping act of historic retrieval.”
  • ‘When Women Were Birds’ by Terry Tempest Williams. “After her mother’s death, Terry Tempest Williams opens her mother’s journals – and finds that they are all blank. This book is a meditation on what information they could have contained, as well as a fragmented memoir of Williams’ own life, mixed in with reflections on womanhood, her Mormon upbringing, and environmentalism. It contains 54 short pieces, labeled as “variations on voice” – her mother was 54 when she died, and Williams is 54 years old now.”
  • Oral history’s quiet heroes. “Over the past few weeks I have been eavesdropping on private conversations. I heard a homeless South African tell a charity worker how moved he was to be offered a sandwich and a cup of tea after walking 20 miles through Lincolnshire; and an elderly Hull woman, reminded by her daughter how much of her life she had spent pregnant with her 10 children, concluding she “must have been bonkers”. The Listening Project has been harvesting these intimate gobbets and broadcasting them before the Radio 4 news. The launch of the Listening Project by the BBC and the British Library coincides with the return next month of another pioneering work of oral history: 56 Up, the latest in Michael Apted’s now eight-part series stretching over almost half a century, following a group of ordinary Britons from the age of seven into what is now deep middle age.
  • Mad Men and Wonder Years: history, nostalgia, and life in The Sixties. “Mad Men and The Wonder Years share many of the same overarching historical themes of political, social, and cultural change during 1960s America.  Specifically, both shows illustrate how the everyday lives of people at the time intersected with the events and trends that have become engrained in popular memory of the decade.  The civil rights movement, feminism, the Vietnam War, and the emerging counterculture – to name a few of the major forces of the era – serve as subtext for both series.”
  • 10 of the Best Memoirs About Mothers. “This week saw the release of cult cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s second work of non-fiction, Are You My Mother: A Comic Drama, a graphic memoir that investigates her relationship with her mother in all its fraught, tender weirdness…After we zipped through the book, we felt a hankering for more memoirs about mothers, so in case you feel the same way…we’ve collected a few of the best examples in recent memory here.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

It might seem odd to include a Christmas item in this Monday’s Link Roundup, but be sure to check out 25 years of Christmas. It’s a touching home movie compilation of one family and the changes over a quarter of a century. For the bibliophile in your life,  have a look at Top 10 Gifts for the Bibliophile. You’ll find some very whimsical gift ideas.

  • Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. “It has become something of a literary cliché to bash the thesaurus, or at the very least, to warn fellow writers that it is a book best left alone. Some admonitions might be blunt, others wistful, as with Billy Collins musing on his rarely opened thesaurus. But beyond the romantic anthropomorphizing of words needing to break free from “the warehouse of Roget,” what of Collins’ more pointed criticism, that “there is no/such thing as a synonym”? That would suggest that the whole enterprise of constructing a thesaurus is predicated on a fiction.”
  • Should You Open a Personal History Business? “Are you looking to go into business for yourself but having difficulty choosing the type of business to open? Have you previously worked as a writer, editor, storyteller, or are you a history buff? Do you love talking with new people? Opening a personal history business may be perfect for you! In fact, even if you haven’t worked as a personal historian before, you may already have the transferable skills to run a successful business in this rapidly expanding industry. For example, excellent communication skills and being adaptable to new situations are qualities that will help you as a personal historian.”
  • Microsoft Builds a Browser for Your Past. “Mining personal data to discover what people care about has become big business for companies such as Facebook and Google. Now a project from Microsoft Research is trying to bring that kind of data mining back home to help people explore their own piles of personal digital data.”
  • How to Write Headlines That Work. “Your headline is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a headline or post title that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist.”
  • Native Tongues. “The scene is a mysterious one, beguiling, thrilling, and, if you didn’t know better, perhaps even a bit menacing. According to the time-enhanced version of the story, it opens on an afternoon in the late fall of 1965, when without warning, a number of identical dark-green vans suddenly appear and sweep out from a parking lot in downtown Madison, Wisconsin…The drivers and passengers who manned the wagons were volunteers bent to one overarching task: that of collecting America’s other language. They were being sent to more than a thousand cities, towns, villages, and hamlets to discover and record, before it became too late and everyone started to speak like everybody else, the oral evidence of exactly what words and phrases Americans in those places spoke, heard, and read, out in the boondocks and across the prairies, down in the hollows and up on the ranges, clear across the great beyond and in the not very long ago.”
  • Top 10 Gifts for the Bibliophile.  “The classic bibliophile collects and treasures books, it’s a person who makes them an important part of their lives. This may sound all too familiar; you may consider yourself one or perhaps it just describes someone you know. Today, we take a look at 10 gifts that were made for that person. In fact, they’re sweet and clever gifts that the reader in all of us can enjoy.”
  • 25 years of Christmas. [Video] “Every year, our dad would tape us coming down the stairs. This is a compilation of all the videos I could find. Relatives and pets grow up and disappear, and new extended family members appear in their place. The song is “Christmas Time is Here”, played by Vince Guaraldi”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup, don’t pass up Affirmation, Etched in Vinyl. It speaks passionately to why personal historians do the work they do. As someone who loves a pen in my hand, I was intrigued by Why creative writing is better with a pen. For a little blast of nostalgia, take a look at What Record Stores Looked Like in the 1960s.

  • How Do You Spell Ms. “Forty years ago, a group of feminists, led by Gloria Steinem, did the unthinkable: They started a magazine for women, published by women—and the first issue sold out in eight days. An oral history of a publication that changed history.”
  • Getting Ready for Next Year–Now. “While the end of the year is likely not in the minds of many, it’s closer than you may think.So before the ball drops and that tax deadline gets even closer, it’s a good time to think about the many things you can do to prepare for the end of the year–and the promising year ahead.”
  • Why creative writing is better with a pen. “In a wonderful article published on the New York Review of Books blog the poet Charles Simic proclaimed “writing with a pen or pencil on a piece of paper is becoming an infrequent activity”. Simic was praising the use of notebooks of course, and, stationery fetishism aside, it got me thinking about authors who write their novels and poems longhand into notebooks rather than directly onto the screen.”
  • Affirmation, Etched in Vinyl. “For years I tried to construct a viable idea of my long-gone father by piecing together scraps of other people’s memories. I was only 6 when he died,…My father’s death stole many things from me, including the sound of his voice. For instance, I have tried to remember his laughter from that final night — its timbre and roll — but my mind is an erased tape. I possess the knowledge of his laughter and of Angie and Johnny’s bubbly white noise but have no memory of the sounds themselves. It’s as if I have garnered these details by reading a biography penned by a stranger.” [Thanks to Pat McNees of Writers and Editors for alerting me to this item.]
  • 7 Little Things That Make Life Effortless. “Life can be a huge struggle, most of the time, and for years it was a struggle for me.I’ve gradually been learning what causes that struggle, and what works in making life easier, better, smoother.Life can feel effortless, like you’re gliding along, if you learn to swim smoothly, to glide, to stop fighting the waters of life and start using them to buoy you up.”
  • What Record Stores Looked Like in the 1960s. “Just think: kids being born today will probably never see the inside of a record store. And why would they? Buying music used to involve wandering around a store browsing, picking things up based on cover art, putting them down based on scornful glares from record store employees, and generally being outside your house. Now, buying music usually amounts to nothing more than a click of the mouse from the safety of your couch.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Encore! As Personal Historians, How Do We Rekindle “The Sacred” in Our Work?

Last year I had the privilege of hearing First Nation elder STOLȻEȽ ( John Elliot) of the WASÁNEĆ (Saanich) territory address the 16th Annual APH Conference in Victoria, B.C.  He spoke reverently of the stories that were passed down to him about the land and sea and animals and the values to live by… Read more.

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.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this  Monday’s Link Roundup have some fun with Literary Games for Bored Book Nerds. For something serious be sure to read Oral history, unprotected.  And memoir writers will find two interesting articles, What Exactly Happened and ‘Memoir Project’ Gives Tips For Telling Your Story.

  • On Acknowledgements. “Anyone who wants to study writers’ idiosyncrasies need look no further than their acknowledgments…Acknowledgments also offer an all-too-rare view of the writer as actual human being.”
  • Oral history, unprotected. “Researchers who conduct oral history have no right to expect courts to respect confidentiality pledges made to interview subjects, according to a brief filed by the US Justice Department on Friday.”
  • The case for and against the Oxford comma. “When linking three or more elements, some writers place a comma before the “and”: bell, book, and candle. That’s known as the Oxford comma (or serial comma). Other writers don’t use that comma: bell, book and candle. Wars have been fought over less.”
  • Literary Games for Bored Book Nerds. “In the New York Times this week, Dwight Garner writes about literary games one can play with friends that aren’t anxiety-inducing. He writes, “Many people flee from games they fear will be public I.Q. tests or will expose gaps in their literary knowledge.” So true. Which is why we at Flavorpill would like to introduce a few games into your summer repertoire,..”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup be sure to take a look at the charming Dear Sophie. It’s a little over a minute long and points to the increasingly creative ways we can tell  our stories.  With the 70th anniversary of the premiere of Citizen Kane you’ll want to read Jane Shafron’s perceptive article, Video Biographers: 5 Quick Tips from Citizen Kane.

  • Top 10 Genealogy Mistakes to Avoid. “If you are new to genealogy research…there are ten key mistakes that you will want to avoid in order to make your search a successful and pleasant experience.”
  • Dear Sophie. “A father uses the web to share memories with his daughter as she grows up in this video depiction.”
  • 100 Digital Storytelling Tools: Part 1. “Here are the first 25 digital storytelling tools that you can use … to tell your digital story. I’m sure you are already familiar with some of them and I hope you can find new tools to use.”
  • Video Biographers:5 Quick Tips from Citizen Kane. “For video biographers, personal documentary makers, and all of us interested in preserving personal and family history, Citizen Kane is still surprisingly rich in lessons and inspiration, and well worth the rental of the video DVD. So, what are some of the lessons from Citizen Kane that we can apply to our work?”
  • Grief Observed: Using Movies to Move through Grief. “Movies and DVD rentals that dramatize others coming to terms with their pain may serve as a valuable tool to help you and your family members move through the grieving process…Movies can be an effective tool in addressing certain grief issues, especially when your selections are made consciously and deliberately.”
  • The Case for Cursive. “The sinuous letters of the cursive alphabet, swirled on countless love letters, credit card slips and banners above elementary school chalk boards are going the way of the quill and inkwell. With computer keyboards and smartphones increasingly occupying young fingers, the gradual death of the fancier ABC’s is revealing some unforeseen challenges.”
  • ‘Secret’ Love Stories Revealed. “Choreography that includes oral components, historical research and overt storytelling is increasingly fashionable in modern dance. Sean Dorsey, the first transgender artist to be named Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” and winner of two Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, is using this approach in an ambitious attempt to express the love stories of transgender and queer people from the 1920s to the present.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

To spice up the beginning of your week, this Monday’s Link Roundup includes  Vanity Fair. Writers Reading with  Susie Bright reading from her memoir Big Sex Little Death.  If you’re new to video editing, head over to The Basics of Video Editing. It’s a terrific resource. One of my favorites this week has to be The Book Surgeon. To say it’s incredible doesn’t do this work justice.

  • Cooking Tales: 10 Delicious Memoirs from Chefs. “The past few years, we’ve watched “foodie” culture explode into prime time, elevating many chefs to celebrity status. It’s no wonder, then, that the chef memoir has become as much of an art form as cooking itself.”
  • For Dying People, A Chance To Shape Their Legacy. “Imagine that you’ve just been told you have only a short time to live. What would you want your family and community to remember most about you? In St. Louis, a hospice program called Lumina helps patients leave statements that go beyond a simple goodbye.”
  • Vanity Fair. Writers Reading: Susie Bright Reads from Big Sex Little Death. “Susie Bright has never been one to shy away from discussing sexuality, erotica, and feminism, becoming one of America’s leading “sexperts.” In her new book, Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir (Seal Press/Audible), Bright traces her entertaining and influential political/sexual revolution—from a fearsome Irish Catholic Girl Scout to teenage radical in The Red Tide and International Socialists to co-founder of On Our Backs, the first erotic magazine created by women.” [Thanks to APH member, Catherine McCrum for alerting me to this item. ]
  • The Book Surgeon. “Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer carves one page at a time. Nothing inside the out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, illustration books, or dictionaries is relocated or implanted, only removed.Dettmer manipulates the pages and spines to form the shape of his sculptures. He also folds, bends, rolls, and stacks multiple books to create completely original sculptural forms.” [Thanks to Beth LaMie of One Story at a Time for alerting me to this item.]
  • The Basics of Video Editing: The Complete Guide. “These lessons concentrate primarily on editing video in Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be helpful for other editing software. The idea behind having the lessons with both applications is to demonstrate that when you learn one editing application it’s pretty easy to learn another.”
  • Before I die I want to… “A little over a month ago, installation artist Candy Chang turned the side of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighbourhood into a giant chalkboard where passersby could write up their personal aspirations.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.