“Is that the secret meaning of the word ‘story,’ do you think: a storing place of memories?”
—J.M. Coetzee, Foe
Stories are at the heart of what we do. As personal historians, we work across an array of media, from coffee table books and audio recordings to full-fledged video biographies and printed memoirs. No matter the medium, though (and no matter what we call our work), the preservation of stories is key. Oh yes, and story sharing—did I mention the sharing...?!
The Path to Legacy
SENIOR CENTER STORIES
“In 2012, I completed my first community memoir, a compilation with 47 senior citizens from Carleton-Willard Village in Bedford, MA,” says Nancy West of Nancy Shohet West Editorial & Memoir Services. Five years later she was invited back to do a second volume, which launched this week.
200 YEARS OF MEMORIES
How deep is your memory bank? “We often despair when an elderly person passes away, their memories unrecorded,” writes Pam Pacelli Cooper of Massachusetts–based Verissima Productions. “What we often forget to do is seek out the younger person who listened to the stories of their elders. We can record them.”
A TENDENCY TOWARD NOSTALGIA
Rediscovering an old family photo album in my closet prompted me to reflect on the lasting appeal and transformative power of nostalgia.
(MIS)ADVENTURES WITH DNA
“Sometimes your heritage doesn’t have anything at all to do with your genetics—and I didn’t even have to spit in a test tube to figure it out,” writes Kristen V. Brown is this compelling piece that unravels the science behind ancestry DNA tests—and that, certainly, makes us wonder if those colorful pie-chart genetic results reveal something profound about what makes you, you...or if they are simply a fun conversation starter.
“THROUGH THE EYES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE”
In her new PBS series We’ll Meet Again, veteran journalist Ann Curry focuses on reunions between people whose lives intersected and were torn apart at pivotal moments. The seasoned interviewer honors the power of connection, and the stories she draws forth from her subjects are emotional and, perhaps more important, seem to inspire viewers to reflect on their own lives and moments of connection. View the official trailer and get a peek at upcoming episodes here. The first episode airs tonight.