Why do a personal or family history?
Events unfold during our lives that can only be captured in memory. Photographs, documents, and recordings provide a great deal of information, but the meaning attached to them is contained with in us. I can help you write your autobiography.
Memories and meanings attached to events can differ from person to person, even within the same family. Telling a story is the best way to record the memories and meanings of past events and lives lived. Narrate your personal biography; save your life story in writing.
Certain experiences or events are so significant that they shape a lifetime. Sometimes we talk about them extensively, but memories fade with time. Sometimes we are reluctant to talk about them at all.
Getting your memories and impressions down on paper preserves them for you and others, and helps with understanding their place in your life as time goes by.
Special Occasions can be a time to share special stories.
Special anniversaries or significant birthdays can be wonderful occasions for giving the gift of a personal history. Many older people don’t need or want new “things.” They might not have the good health to take a trip. They will be honored and affirmed, however, by knowing that you care enough to ask them to tell their story.
Are you planning a wedding for a son or daughter? Give them a special gift to mark this new passage in their life: tell the story of their growing-up years as only you know it.
Everyone has stories of their children’s growing-up years, but do the children themselves remember those stories? We are all shaped by our experiences, our surroundings, and the people in our lives, yet many adults say they have forgotten much that happened in their early years. As an adult, you have a unique perspective on those years that your children will never have. Telling a story is the best way to record the memories and meanings of the journey toward adulthood. Create a book that will be passed down through the generations; your child’s story.
Whatever the reason, whatever the occasion, a personal history is a gift to others that will grow in value over time.
What can the stories be about?
The stories can be about any aspect of personal or family history. The client will contract for a general focus. The specific content is up to each story-teller or narrator. The primary questions for the narrator to think about are:
“Who is my audience?”
“What do I want them to know?”
If the entire story is being told by one person, he or she might want to focus on parents, grandparents, or some particular individual; on his or her own childhood or young adulthood; on the early lives of his or her children; or on some particular event, period of time, accomplishment or experience; or a combination of any or all of the above.
Alternately, a group of people can each narrate their memories and experiences of a particular person, event, or family experience, resulting in a collaborative document made up of multiple points of view.
Now might be the time to create a memoir, a family history, a personal biography, a tribute to a loved one, or tell the story of a special time.
Who might tell a story?
Stories can be told by older people with long lives to share or by any person who has compelling experiences that they want recorded while memories are still fresh.
Alternatively, you can create a biography of someone special. A group of people, such as members of a family, might want to each tell a portion of a story which then presents a collective narrative from varying points of view.
Write a Letter to Your Loved Ones
In our culture we often make careful provisions for the disposition of our material possessions. What we do not often do is share, in writing, who we are as people: what truths we hold dear, who most influenced us, what challenges we overcame, our hopes for the future, our hopes for the lives of our loved ones. In the midst of life, we often forget to record our thoughts and feelings of the moment. Writing a letter to a loved one can serve as a legacy, as a snapshot of a point in time, as a diary. What would you like your loved ones to know about who you are? What would you like them to know that could help them in living their lives?
Letters can be written by people of any age who want to record their thoughts and feelings at a particular juncture in life. Letters can be written upon the birth of a child, upon the occasion of a wedding, or for any other life event. Letters can be written by the terminally ill, or by older people wanting to encapsulate and share the wisdom they have gained with the advantage of age.