Tag Archives: quote

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.”

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The Life Story Quote of the Week.

supper table

It’s not about dinner but the kind of conversations you have with your family and the stories you tell.

Robyn Fivush ~ Professor of Psychology, Emory University

“The family is the first and most enduring group you belong to,” says Barbara Fiese, a psychology professor at Syracuse University. “It provides a sense of belonging for children, adolescents and adults so the individual doesn’t have to feel isolated.”

We help create this bond by sharing our  family stories from the past and the present. Research conducted by Dr. Robyn Fivush shows that parents who take the time to tell their children about family events, inside jokes, nicknames and family successes and failures  produce adolescents with higher self-esteem and self-confidence.

We owe it to our children not only to make dinner a time for the family to gather but also a time to share the richness of our family stories.

Photo by Kirsten Jennings

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The Life Story Quote of The Week.

eyes

We see the world not as it is but as we are.

Anaïs Nin ~  (1903 – 1977)  was a Cuban-Spanish-French author.

We all see the world differently because of our unique upbringing, values and beliefs. I’m sometimes asked if we should be aiming for the truth in telling someone’s life story. I believe that as much as possible we should get locations, dates and names down accurately. But how a person recollects the unfolding of events is not for us to question. People in the same family will often interpret things differently. And that’s okay. Our work in recording and preserving a life story is to do justice to the telling of one person’s life as he or she perceives it.

Photo by Bob Prosser

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The Life Story Quote of The Week.

chinese umbrella

I hear and I forget.

I see and I remember.

I do and I understand.

- Chinese Proverb

As a personal historian, I write a good deal about the need to record and preserve memories. It’s important that we remember our stories and the stories of those who’ve come before. What this proverb reminds me of is that doing a personal history of a family member also leads to greater awareness of who that person is.  I recall that interviewing my mother for a book on her life made me come to understand her much more than I had previously. Her concerns, values and motivations all made much more sense to me.

When we  help someone with their life story we also benefit from this undertaking.

Photo by Daniel Greene

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The Life Story Quote of The Week.

steep climb

To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.

-  William Shakespeare

Sometimes when we look at the work involved in telling our life story or that of another, we can become overwhelmed. It seems too monumental and so we give up before we ever get started.  I’m a great believer in starting slow.  Don’t feel you have to rush into a life story and have it completed in a week or two. You might begin by reading some useful books on how to write a life story.  I wrote a previous post,The Ten Best Selling Books on Life Story Writing, which you can find by clicking here.

You might start by writing  little sketches as Anna Mary Moses did in her wonderful autobiography, Grandma Moses: My Life’s Story. She said, “I have written my life in small sketches, a little today, a little yesterday, as I have thought of it, as I remember all the things from childhood on through the years, good ones, and unpleasant ones, that is how they come out and that is how we have to take them.”

The other piece of advice I have is that you set aside some time each day to write. It doesn’t have to be much time, perhaps a half-hour. What’s important is that you develop the habit of sitting down to write each day.

Good luck with your writing. Tell me any other approaches you’ve used for starting slow.

Photo by Stan Hieronymus

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The Life Story Quote of The Week.

memory room

So much happens to us all over the years.  So much has happened within us and through us.  We are to take time to remember what we can about it and what we dare.  That’s what taking the time to enter the room (called “Remember”) means, I think.  It means taking time to remember on purpose. It means not picking up a book for once or turning on the radio, but letting the mind journey gravely, deliberately, back through the years that have gone by but are not gone.  It means a deeper, slower kind of remembering; it means remembering as a searching and finding.  The room is there for all of us to enter if we choose.

Frederick Buechner, from Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons

I like Buechner’s phrase “to remember on purpose”.  It says to me that engaging in the recording of our life story or that of another is not a frivolous undertaking. It’s serious work. It requires that we take the time to reflect on life’s journey and by so doing not only leave a legacy but a clearer understanding of self.

Will you enter the room called “Remember”?

Photo by Max R

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The Life Story Quote of The Week.

tree canopy jpg

If you don’t know your history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.

Michael Crichton - (1942 – 2008) American author, producer, director, screenwriter and physician

We live in a world that prizes speed, innovation, newness and youth. We’re constantly looking forward. And in the process we’ve become strangers to our past. We’ve either never heard our family stories or forgotten many of them. We pay a price for this. We feel rootless, unconnected and at our deepest core anxious and unhappy.

Recording  and preserving our stories is not some flight of nostalgia. It is in fact a determined  act to reclaim our history.

Photo by justneal

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The Life Story Quote of The Week.

looking back

If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.

Pearl S. Buck – (1892-1973) American writer

Preparing our personal history offers us the opportunity to look back on all our yesterdays. By doing so, we come to see more clearly how we got to where we are, the values that have inspired us along the way and what wisdom we’ve accumulated.  A clearer understanding of our past helps us better navigate our future course.

Photo by Markus M.

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The Life Story Quote of The Week.

pen-and-book

Anyone who’s fortunate enough to live to be 50 years old should take some time, even if it’s just a couple of weekends, to sit down and write the story of your life, even if it’s only twenty pages, and even if it’s only for your children and grandchildren.

~ former President Bill Clinton

Clinton’s point that you don’t have to write your life story in epic form is a good one.  Some people become  immobilized by the overwhelming thought that they have to write at least a 200-page masterpiece and so nothing gets written.  The truth is that anything you can put down is better than nothing.

Photo by Eve

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Life Story Quote of The Week.

cemetery

To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.

- Chinese proverb

How many of you can name all of your eight great grandparents? That’s the question posed by Dr. Barry Baines at one of his Ethical Will Workshops. I must admit I can only name one. How about you? Probably very few – right? Think for a moment. If you don’t do something to preserve and record your life story then your children’s grandchildren will not know your name. Pretty sobering isn’t it? What are you doing to ensure that your name isn’t forgotten?

Photo by David Fielke

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