Life Story Links: August 7, 2018
“I think of a good conversation as an adventure. You create a generous and trustworthy space for it...so the other person will feel so welcome and understood that they will put words around something they have never put words around quite that way before.”
In Their Own Words
TESTING THE WATERS
A grandmother discovers grace and self-forgiveness while offering a safe place for a child to explore: Massachusetts–based personal historian Marjorie Turner Hollman tells one of her own stories and, I hope, inspires others to allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to tell their own.
ON MEMORY & INHERITED TRAUMA
“I imagine the weight of her trauma in my palm, opaque and heavy,” Crystal Hana Kim writes of her grandmother in “Like You Know Your Own Bones.”
"I never talk about the war." Until now. Raul Roman undertook a three-year effort to document the lives and memories of North Vietnamese veterans and their families; hear some of their voices in Roman's recent NYT piece.
BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE
“Eight years ago, I decided I was going to interview my mother and last year, I finally did it. I’m not 100-percent clear on what took me so long,” writes Cari Shane. “Perhaps the reality of what and why I was recording my mother’s stories; it was an acknowledgment of her mortality.”
THE PRESCIENCE OF A NAZI-ERA DIARIST
“The past informs the present; human memory is frail and fallible; and the only way to mitigate the discord between these truisms is to chronicle current events in granular detail,” Daniel Crown writes of Victor Klemperer’s legacy.
Craft & Conscience
THE FUTURE OF BIOGRAPHY?
Historian Charlotte Gray wonders what tomorrow’s biographers will do to engage readers and bring “them as close as possible to a credible version of a life.”
Bethesda–based writer and editor Pat McNees explores two topics of utmost interest (and importance) to the life story community:
- a meandering conversation about “the rocky shoals of truth-telling” that happened six years ago but was worth her time to revisit anew;
- and why a code of ethics is crucial for those of us helping others tell their personal stories.
“You know how disappointing it is to come across an orphaned photo. You are the ancestor of future generations who will want to know who you were. Don't let them down!” writes Alison Taylor of Pictures & Stories in Utah. Learn how to—easily—add metadata to your photos.
MY OWN NEXT CHAPTER
On the heels of relaunching my own company’s website, I wrote about the journey from magazine editor to entrepreneur and announce a new signature line of bespoke books.
MORE MEMOIRS, MORE MEMORIES
A client attended her 60th school reunion and learned that the whole gang was working on memoirs. “I was pleasantly surprised to hear this and thought: Will family memoirs be as standard to future generations as wedding portraits are today?” says Massachusetts–based personal historian Nancy West.
THROUGH THE LENS OF OUR FAMILY ALBUMS
Thomas Allen Harris, who has gathered people for photo sharing events across 50 different cities for years, says it is the stories that emerge from the images that bring people together, connect generations, and “open up the communication of the heart”—for “the heart,“ he says, “has its own song.” He is working on a pilot for a new TV show, Family Pictures USA.
...and a Few More Links
- Adam O’Fallon Price waxes poetic on the virtues of the semicolon
- Memory study casts doubt on the first thing you remember from your childhood.
- Ethical wills can be a critical part of one's legacy.
- Seven reasons to honor your engaged daughter with an heirloom book
- New survey shows that storytelling moves us far more than literary quality.