Tag Archives: stories

Monday’s Link Roundup.

To get your week started, this Monday’s Link Roundup has a little something for everyone. For the technology inclined, check out Edit Photos In the Cloud and The DV Show. For nostalgia buffs, don’t miss One Big Collection of 300 Vintage TV Ads.  It’s fabulous! If you love typography, you’ll love 10 Essential Books on Typography.  Do you like to tidy up loose ends? Then Wake-up Call: Write Your Obituary may be just what the doctor ordered. ;-)

  • Edit Photos In the Cloud. ” As more and more people and internet companies turn to The Cloud (a non-local storage location for data) for their daily computing activities, massive storage systems in personal computers are becoming less and less necessary. But the process of photo editing is still typically done the old fashioned way — by importing pictures onto your computer’s hard drive and editing them with a specialty (read: expensive) piece of photo editing software. But that’s all starting to change with the advent of cloud photo editing sites and apps. This guide will walk you through how to use our favorite web-based photo editor, Feather, by Aviary.”
  • Amazon Simple Email Service. “…a highly scalable and cost-effective bulk and transactional email-sending service for businesses and developers. Amazon SES eliminates the complexity and expense of building an in-house email solution or licensing, installing, and operating a third-party email service.”
  • Wake-Up Call: Write Your Obituary. “Although it sounds a bit macabre, writing your own obituary—or asking a friend or a family member to do it for you—can be an excellent wake-up call that can help you make important changes in your life. There’s more on this below.”
  • The DV Show: Podcasting the INs and Outs of Digital Video. “Hosted by Brian Alves, a 22-year veteran of video production, a crack team of 12 seasoned media professionals and one Entertainment Attorney, the shows feature answers to listener questions, careful reviews, product news, tips, tutorials, contests and high-profile interviews with industry professionals — all in a quick and engaging format for thousands of listeners to enjoy worldwide.” [Thanks to Pat McNees of Writers and Editors for alerting me to this item.]
  • A Crash Course in Marketing With Stories. “If you want your marketing to really sizzle, if you want people to remember it, you need to turn your marketing messages into stories. I’ve broken down the classical elements of story below so you can begin to think like a storyteller, and make your marketing messages stick.”
  • 10 Essential Books on Typography. “Whether you’re a professional designer, recreational type-nerd, or casual lover of the fine letterform, typography is one of design’s most delightful frontiers, an odd medley of timeless traditions and timely evolution in the face of technological progress. Today, we turn to 10 essential books on typography, ranging from the practical to the philosophical to the plain pretty.”
  • One Big Collection of 300 Vintage TV Ads. “Thanks to vintage advertising we can get at least some idea of what TV used to be like, which features used to be a big deal, what technology was exploding onto the scene, and what ad managers thought would sell the latest in entertainment.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup you’re in for some chuckles with the video Hilarious and Surprising Predictions of the Future…From the 1960s! And for some vacation reading load up your eBook reader with selections from 20 Best Websites to Download Free EBooks.

  • 10 Ways to Beat Online Obscurity. “Listen, I’ve got some bad news for you. More than likely, no one knows who you are. And more than likely, they never will. How can I say that with such authority? Easy.”
  • A Brief History of Film Title Sequence Design in 2 Minutes. “In his graduation project, an absolutely brilliant motion graphics gem, Dutch designer and animator Jurjen Versteeg examines the history of the title sequence through an imagined documentary about the designers who revolutionized this creative medium.”
  • 1000 Lives In 100 Words. “… is here to remind us that our lives are important. It’s here to remind us that it’s not the years in your life; it’s the life in your years. Because we’ll all end up as 100 words someday. So let’s make each one count.”
  • 20 Best Websites To Download Free EBooks. “It would be nice if we’re able to download a free e-book and take it with us. That’s why we’ve again crawled deep into the Internet to compile this list of 20 places to download free e-books for your use.”
  • A Story for Every Purpose. “On the Internet, you will find no lack of efforts to collect and share stories, either on an ad hoc basis, or as a site’s raison d’etre. Following are a few that have caught my eye recently.”
  • NYTimes.com’s most looked-up words for 2011.“One of the cooler-but-lesser-known functions of NYTimes.com is its word “look up” feature: Double-click on any word in the text of an article — insouciance, say, or omertà — and a little question mark will pop up. Click the question mark, and you’ll get a definition of the highlighted word directly from the American Heritage Dictionary.”

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From the Archives: Our Favorite Things Have Stories to Tell.

Our Favorite Things Have Stories to Tell. This past week I’ve been reminded how much our treasured possessions are a window into the stories of our life. My frail, ninety-one year old mother has  started to go through her modest collection of jewelry. She’s carefully trying to match each piece with a relative or friend she thinks would appreciate having it after she has died.   As I was sitting with her, she began telling me the stories behind each piece. There are the art deco black-and-white … Read More

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

Our people lived as part of everything. We were so much a part of nature, we were just like the birds, the animals, the fish. We were like the mountains. Our people lived that way. We knew there was an intelligence, a strength, a power, far beyond ourselves. We knew that everything here didn’t just happen by accident.

~  David Elliott Sr. (Saltwater People, School District 63 (Saanich, 1990)

This past week 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.

I was moved by his dedication to his people and by the importance he places on the preserving and recording of their stories. Too often I find myself caught up in the mechanics of my work as a personal historian. There’s marketing to do, blog articles to write, and deadlines to meet. I forget about the sacredness of our work. And by sacred I don’t mean religious. I mean knowing someone deeply, being touched by our common humanity, and venerating the interconnectedness of all life.

What can we do to rekindle the “sacred” in our work? Here are some thoughts.

Begin with our elders.

We need to connect regularly with our own past and show reverence for our elders. This might mean ending or starting each day with some personal expression of remembrance and gratitude for family members who hold a special place in our hearts. It could mean being mindful of the elders in our community and extending a smile or helping hand.

Make time for reflection.

We need to take time out from our busyness for reflection. We need to connect to our sacred moments. Find a space where you can sit quietly and recall a sacred moment in your life. Remember what was happening and how it felt. Let that moment wash over you.

Listen for The connections.

There’s a Bantu expression, Ubuntu, which translates as  I am because you are; you are because I am. It speaks to our interconnectedness as human beings. When I’m working with clients I’m aware that some part of their stories touches my own.

Create A personal belief statement.

We  need to find a statement that gets to the heart of what we do as personal historians. It’s not just words to use in a tag line but a touchstone that can remind us of why this work is sacred. Start by writing, “I am a personal historian because I believe that…”. Play around with phrases until you have an Ah-Ha! moment. For me that moment came when I wrote, “I am a personal historian because I believe that preserving memories is an act of love.” Whenever I lose my way, I try to remember that statement and why I’m doing this work.

Write it. just don’t think it.

We know how much we learn from listening to our clients’ stories.  But how many of us have actually told our clients this in writing? Too often I’m guilty of not taking the time  to pen a thank you note that acknowledges the wisdom that I’ve gained from my clients.

keep a “thank you” file.

I have a file where I keep the letters of appreciation I’ve received from clients and their families over the years. It also includes excerpts from personal histories that particularly touch me. When I need a pick-me-up, I go to that file and read through the collection. It reminds me of why I do this work and reconnects me to the sacred.

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.

~ e. e. cummings

Photo by Cornelia Kopp

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup check out PageKeeper. It’s the perfect gift for your bookworm friend. It’s already on my Christmas list! For a sobering and fascinating look at changing cultural touchstones, I recommend Beloit College Mindset List.

  • Story Development Ideas.“You have read, or heard me say, stories make a speech or sales presentation more interesting, memorable and ‘visual.’ Remember, your audience remembers what they ‘see’ in their minds more than the words you use. In my sales presentation training I recommend you call your satisfied clients and interview them about their experience of doing business with you.”
  • BBC Documentary: Memory Wars. “… oral history has been firmly associated with the voices of the ‘ordinary’ citizen – a view of turbulent times from the bottom up. It offers a different version of the unfinished business of the past, be it war, revolution or dictatorship.  In this two-part documentary Alan Dein explores how oral history collides with the official version that has been committed to history books – particularly in nations where the outcome is still bitterly contested.”
  • You Tube Time Machine.“The You Tube Time Machine is a collection of audio and video snippets from 1860 (that is NOT a typo!) through 2010 that provide a history of movies, videos, and sound recordings. I rather enjoyed looking at some of the older ones, before 1920. These are really corny and it is difficult to imagine anyone paying money to see them. However, when moving pictures were still a novelty, I guess it didn’t take much of a plot to entice audiences to watch.”
  • Study: Audio recordings of US history fading fast. “New digital recordings of events in U.S. history and early radio shows are at risk of being lost much faster than older ones on tape and many are already gone, according to a study on sound released Wednesday.”
  • Beloit College Mindset List. “Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall…The class of 2014 has never found Korean-made cars unusual on the Interstate and five hundred cable channels, of which they will watch a handful, have always been the norm. Since “digital” has always been in the cultural DNA, they’ve never written in cursive and with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch. Dirty Harry (who’s that?) is to them a great Hollywood director. The America they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and China has always posed an economic threat.”
  • 8 Bad Habits that Crush Your Creativity And Stifle Your Success. “…research shows that once you get beyond an I.Q. of about 120, which is just a little above average, intelligence and creativity are not at all related. That means that even if you’re no smarter than most people, you still have the potential to wield amazing creative powers. So why are so few people highly creative?”
  • PageKeeper. “I’ve used a PageKeeper bookmark for several years and love it. Once in place it stays put. You don’t have to do anything until you’ve finished reading whatever book you’ve put it in. It keeps your place for you without you having to move it, or dog-ear the page.”

Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

Happy Monday! I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s collection of tasty links. If you look no further than Great Storytelling challenge, you’re in for a remarkable piece of storytelling by Daniel Beaty. Don’t miss it! And for all of us who make presentations from time to time, don’t pass up Make Better Presentations. You’ll find a wealth of good information.

  • Library helps memoirists capture their experiences. “In Candace Thompson’s Lincoln Park condo sit hundreds of yellowed pages filled with the loopy cursive writing no longer in favor… But filtering someone else’s experiences into a book is no easy task, so Thompson enrolled in a memoir-writing workshop at the Pritzker Military Library that is designed to help fledgling writers capture their experiences and those of others for a historical record.”
  • ACT UP encore. “Created in 1987 by six gay activists, the Silence = Death Project soon came to symbolize a potent rising protest movement: The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP)…But to the dismay of Helen Molesworth, Harvard Art Museum’s Maisie K. and James R. Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art, many of today’s generation have forgotten the imagery, the movement, and its importance…She aims to change that with a new exhibition at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts titled “ACT UP New York: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis, 1987–1993,” opening today (Oct. 15). The show examines the history of the movement through a series of powerful graphics created by various artist collectives that were part of the influential group.”
  • Contemporary Approaches to Heritage Planning. “Although heritage often appears to be an issue of saving significant buildings, there is another, equally important conversation that I feel often gets short shrift: the preservation of intangible heritage. Intangible heritage is the associative heritage that characterizes a community; it is made up of the stories and symbolic values that attach themselves to and come to define the built environment.”
  • 30 Old Books Worth Buying For the Cover Alone. “These are those books that catch our eyes, that demand to be picked up and opened, and that make us want to possess them. Enjoy these exquisite examples of beautiful books, and treat yourself to something lovely and collectible – most are surprisingly affordable. “
  • What is The Moth? “The Moth, a not-for-profit storytelling organization, was founded in New York in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate in New York the feeling of sultry summer evenings on his native St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, where he and a small circle of friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales on his friend Wanda’s porch.”
  • Great Storytelling Challenge: Sometimes It’s All in the Delivery. “…rising to reader Raf Stevens’ challenge for me to present more examples of good storytelling in this space, I give you another one that is making the social-media rounds…, this one depends on spoken words. The spoken words give it a huge portion its power… The rest of its power comes from the delivery by actor, singer, writer, and composer Daniel Beaty, illustrating just how much a teller can bring to a story.”

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

Another Monday and another roundup of interesting, story-related links. Enjoy!

  • DigiTales. “… takes the ancient art of oral storytelling and engages a palette of technical tools to weave personal tales using images, graphics, music and sound mixed together with the author’s own story voice. Digital storytelling is an emerging art form of personal, heartful expression that enables individuals and communities to reclaim their personal cultures while exploring their artistic creativity.” [Thanks to Kathy Hansen at A Storied Career for alerting me to this site.]
  • Houston Public Library Launches Oral History Site. “Houston Public Library (HPL) is a pivotal partner in an ambitious oral history project, a multiyear, collaborative effort to that will help preserve important parts of the city’s history through the voices of its inhabitants.”
  • unpaper – Post-Processing Scanned and Photocopied Book Pages. “Have you scanned bound books, only to find that the pages are curled near the center binding? You also may have noticed that some of the pages are skewed. A program called “unpaper” may solve those problems. Please note that the software only runs on Linux systems.”
  • Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2009. “If you’re interested in writing online, you’ll get a lot out of adding each of these to your daily reading.”
  • Storybird. “A service that makes it simple for families and friends to create short, visual stories together that they can share and print. For artists and writers, Storybird is next-generation publishing: global, viral, and instantaneous.”

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Photo by  iStockphoto.com

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

links

Today’s Link Roundup includes two video segments, The Letter From Iwo Jima and Being imperfect. Both are moving testaments to the power of remembrance. And for something practical be sure to check out Safely Storing Digital Photos.

The Letter From Iwo Jima: “A letter taken from a soldier killed in the battle of Iwo Jima is returned to his family.” ~ A New York Times Video [Thanks to Pat McNees for alerting me to this video]

I went fishing and hooked my lost family: “Peter Culver, 75, was cut off from his birth family after he was fostered at the age of five. He spent the next 70 years searching for eight lost brothers and sisters, before a chance meeting during a fishing trip changed his life forever. Here Peter, a grandfather from Beaminster in Dorset, reveals the story behind his emotional reunion…”

National Punctuation Day: 24-hour mark of our failure. “There’s no question that Canada urgently needs a federal Punctuation Improvement Program. The evidence can be found at the heart of our national life, in the logo of the only fast-food chain ever described as a Canadian icon by people who like to call things icons, the so-called Tim “Hortons.”

American Family Stories: “For the last five years storyteller and audiographer Joe McHugh has traveled around the United States meeting people and recording their family stories. These stories have been featured on public radio stations, NPR’s Morning Edition, and Voice of America. Here you can enjoy some of Joe’s favorite stories while viewing Paula McHugh’s illustrations.”

Bridging Gaps, Telling Stories: “Everybody’s got a story to tell. The idea for Cathie English’s three-year oral history project came after a co-worker’s centenarian grandmother passed away unexpectedly, taking her stories with her. Motivated by her coworker’s loss, Cathie started the Aurora High School Oral History Project.”

Being imperfect: “What makes our loved ones so precious to us? You probably jumped to all the good and impressive things first. And that’s fine. But what about those little quirks? What about those sometimes annoying habits? Maybe their imperfections are just as important.”

Safely Storing Digital Photos: “It’s important to keep copies of your digital photos in different places in case a disaster destroys one set of images.”

Photo by fdecomit

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

links

Another Monday and a potpourri of fascinating links to the world of stories. Two of my favorites this week are Mapping Main Street and a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity. And for those of you considering self-employment be sure to read Leo Babauta’s piece on getting started. He’s got some very practical advice.

  • Put Your Ancestors on Our Cover! “We’re looking for a great ancestral photo to feature on the cover of the January 2010 Family Tree Magazine (that’s our 10th anniversary issue!).  Maybe your family photo is the one.”
  • Mapping Main Street: “… a collaborative documentary media project that creates a new map of the country through stories, photos and videos recorded on actual Main Streets. The goal is to document all of the more than 10,000 streets named Main in the United States.”
  • Interview: Sue William Silverman on Memoir Writing: “Sue William Silverman’s newest book, Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, reads like a memoir about writing memoir – and that’s exactly what the accomplished and respected nonfiction writer had in mind when she decided to do a book about writing craft.”
  • Once upon a time in Palo Alto: “Unlike their bigger oral history counterparts, these videos are low-budget and brief but they give watchers impressions of a city that most of us probably don’t know too well, if at all.”
  • I Love My Librarian Award: “… encourages library users to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. The award is administered by the American Library Association with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York and The New York Times.”
  • Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity: “Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.”

Photo by fdecomit

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Our Favorite Things Have Stories to Tell.

braceletThis past week I’ve been reminded how much our treasured possessions are a window into the stories of our life. My frail, ninety-one year old mother has  started to go through her modest collection of jewelry. She’s carefully trying to match each piece with a relative or friend she thinks would appreciate having it after she has died.   As I was sitting with her, she began telling me the stories behind each piece. There are the art deco black-and-white earrings she bought to go with a very fashionable dress my father got her shortly after they were married. A silver bracelet brought back by my dad from Pakistan during WWII is tarnished but her memories of my dad’s war experiences remain vivid. Each piece unlocks a story in my mother’s life.

And then there was a colleague at Victoria Hospice who told me of a unique funeral celebration he attended. A friend of the deceased gave a eulogy that was built entirely around photos of the  shoes in the woman’s life. Each pair of shoes had a story to tell.

In The Globe and Mail newspaper on Thursday, I read an essay entitled Family Ties. It tells the story of a son’s remembrance of his father through the neckties that were passed down to him. Here’s an excerpt:

The other day I was getting ready for work and went into my closet to get a tie…I reached for a brown-, blue- and white-striped tie and I remembered that it was one of my father’s. He died last year and shortly afterward my mother, who was almost 80, made the decision to sell the big house we all grew up in. It took her a while, but she finally tackled the job of cleaning out my father’s closets… My father had a lot of ties – dozens and dozens and dozens of them…. And so, on this morning, I found myself knotting my father’s tie, remembering how we stood in front of the mirror years ago, him teaching me how to get a half-Windsor just right. I smiled, knowing I might be the only person in the building that day with a tie on.

Another interesting use of objects to tell a story appeared on the NPR website. Entitled A Catalog — Literally — Of Broken Dreams, it reviews the book Important Artifacts by New York Times op-ed page art director Leanne Shapton.  The NPR article points out:

Foregoing narrative entirely, Shapton tells the story of a couple’s relationship in the form of a staggeringly precise ersatz auction catalog that annotates the common detritus of a love affair — notes, CD mixes, e-mails, photos, books— and places the objects up for sale…. In choosing the conceit of an auction catalog, Shapton reminds us that the story of love can be told through the things we leave behind, but also by the condition in which we leave them.

All of this got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a memoir or life story built around the special things someone possesses?  Something to keep in mind. Have you already done something like this? Love to hear from you if you have.

Photo by Kylie