Life Story Links: October 2, 2018

 
 

“Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.”
—Aretha Franklin

 
 PHOTOGRAPH: Old time fiddling at Bernie Rasmussen's in Polson, Montana, July 22, 1979, from the  Montana Folklife Survey collection  at the Library of Congress.

PHOTOGRAPH: Old time fiddling at Bernie Rasmussen's in Polson, Montana, July 22, 1979, from the Montana Folklife Survey collection at the Library of Congress.

Battle Scars

BRUISES AND ALL
“I understand that sharing difficult experiences is decidedly not for everyone,” writes Chicago–based personal historian Betsy Storm. “But nobody can underestimate the power of such stories to lift others up from their own tender and painful places.”

THE RELUCTANT INTERVIEWEE
This week I review the 1996 documentary Nobody’s Business, in which Alan Berliner interviews his (rather pugnacious!) father about family history. You’ll laugh and you’ll cringe at their father-son interplay.

On the Front Lines of History

OBJECT LESSONS
Check out Your Story Our Story, a national project exploring American immigration and migration through a crowd-sourced collection of stories about everyday objects of personal significance.

MOON MAN
Neil Armstrong’s personal papers land at Purdue, his alma mater, including approximately 70,000 pages of fan mail, which Armstrong continued to receive from around the world for years after he landed on the moon. (Archivists: Imagine the time it took to catalog this “finding guide” to the collection!)

Memories that Matter

IN REMEMBRANCE OF 朱苏勤
“She knew only two people who speak English fluently—myself and my father. Not able to tell her story herself, I want to use my voice to tell it for her,” writes Li Jin in “Saying Goodbye to My Grandmother.”

AN APP FOR THAT?
In the hope that preserving “one memory at a time” is less daunting for some than writing a “life story,” I explored digital story sharing services in my latest guest post for The Photo Organizers.

STORIES OF OUR STUFF
In What We Keep, 150 people share touching stories behind their most prized possessions. Read three excerpts here, and listen to co-author Bill Shapiro talk about how things become imbued with memories and meaning.

Pro Tips

UNFORESEEN CONSEQUENCES
Massachusetts–based personal historian Nancy West offers suggestions for looking at your life through a thematic lens. As she writes, “You might be surprised to find out that your life story has governing themes that go well beyond a simple linear list of dates and places.”

THAT (DREADED?) MONEY CONVERSATION
“Life story work is ‘heart-driven’ work, and like other service-oriented professions, it attracts people who may not feel comfortable with the money-making side of their business,” says Amy Woods Butler, founder of the Story Scribe in Kansas City. In the latest episode of her podcast she talks with educator and memoirist Sarah White about money matters.

...and a Few More Links

 

Short Takes