Life Story Links: Blog Roundup, January 9

curated links to blogs and articles of interest to personal historians and family biographers
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
—Oprah Winfrey, Golden Globes, 2018


It has been a slow start to the new year for me, hit with a flu that has left me grumpy and tired and well, not at all productive. I’ve had plenty of time to read, though, and since my guilty-pleasure Christmas gift, Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries (so much dish I recognize from my years in the same mag world!) is too heavy to hold up in my weakened state, I’ve been indulging in memoirs on the Kindle and plenty of link diving on my phone.

I’m almost done with Alan Cumming’s 2014 memoir Not My Father’s Son (well worth the read). I’ve got the current issue of Brevity open on my phone, for creative nonfiction pieces that fulfill and enlighten in short periods of time. And I’ve been perusing Cathi Nelson’s new book, Photo Organizing Made Easy: Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed, gleaning tips to share in a future blog post (as I’ve written about before, photographs can make for incredible memory prompts, and being able to find the photos in our overflowing photo libraries is often no easy task).

Here are a few posts and articles that have been on my sick-bed reading list, as well. Happy (and healthy!) New Year to you all, fellow storytellers.

Living, Writing, Remembering

“My memoir clients assume their readership will be limited to their children and grandchildren,” says Massachusetts-based personal historian Nancy Shohet West. “They are consistently surprised when their nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors, former colleagues, and long-time acquaintances all start clamoring for copies of their own.” If you can picture just one reader, it might be time to start writing.

Craig Siulinski of Sharing Legacies in San Carlos, CA, recently completed leading his first Life Story Writing class based on the principles of guided autobiography. Read about his joyful experience, learn more about guided autobiography, or pick up a book to help you on your path to crafting your own life story. And if you’re in the market for a flash nonfiction writing class, check out Sarah White’s recent post.

As part of the New York Times Magazine’s annual The Lives They Lived issue, editors invited readers to contribute a photograph and a story of someone close to them who died this year: The Lives They Loved.

“No work I have ever done has brought me as much joy and hope, or changed my outlook on life as profoundly,” writes John Leland of his year interviewing elderly New Yorkers. His book Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons From a Year Among the Oldest Old will be published on Jan. 23. A. E. Hotchner reviewed: “Remarkable revelations gleaned from those who, in their superannuated years, have discovered rewarding benefits from the life that actually surrounds them.”

A film called “funny and life-affirming,” Faces Places explores themes of art, vision, regular people, and aging, all with tenderness and wit, energy and delight. Find showtimes in select cities.

Short Takes

#MemoriesMatter #Legacy #LifeStories #Memoir #OralHistory #FamilyHistory