Life Story Links: February 12, 2019
“Certain moments are vividly conceived during adrenaline rushes—falling in love, thinking you’re about to get hit by a bus. But the brain isn’t a file cabinet…and what you forget says as much psychologically as what you remember.”
On Memories and Memoir
DIARIST AS MEMOIR WRITER
An aspiring memoirist seeking famous writers’ letters and essays for motivation receives an inspired list of book recommendations. I can almost guarantee you’ll find something new to you and revelatory on the list.
“THIS IS MY LIFE”
“The past is a giant ball of tangled yarn that I simply do not know how to untangle,” writes N. West Moss in this keen meditation on the nature of memories. Later: “The thread of my own story spools from me like an endless ribbon. It says to me, ‘This is my life. This is my life.’”
CHOOSING YOUR STORIES
“If you answer a few interesting questions while you still draw breath, you will leave a gift of inestimable value to those who come after you,” writes Alison Taylor of Utah-based Pictures and Stories.
Pieces of the Past
FOOD OF LIFE
A reissue of Ntozake Shange’s If I Can Cook/You Know God Can (Beacon Press, 2019) prompts LitHub to share this deliciously personal excerpt. The book’s subtitle, “African American Food Memories, Meditations, and Recipes” merely hints at the rich and eclectic content within, a tribute to food as a people’s living legacy.
RECIPE FOR NOSTALGIA
“The internet is making paper recipes obsolete, but many modern cooks see the cards as tangible mementos of favorite foods and the beloved cooks who made them over and over again.” Frayed edges and oil stains? All the better.
VOICES FROM LONG AGO
Susan Hood of Remarkable Life Memoirs in New York shares a handful of handwritten letters she revisited among her parents’ things, feeling reconnected to them and gleaning a bit of family history along the way.
We all know how photos and family heirlooms tell stories, but what about objects as mundane as bakeware? Are there simple objects that reflect significant truths about who you are?, asks Massachusetts–based personal historian Nancy West.
Family History Reads
DIGGING STUFF UP
“They’re the myths that are a part of the story of yourself, whether you like them or not,” Jaya Saxena writes of uncovering genealogical facts. “Learning your history is forced reckoning, asking you to consider whose stories you carry with you and which ones you want to carry forward.”
You needn’t travel to Utah to benefit from the family history event of the year, RootsTech. Discover how you can learn about storytelling, interviewing, and genealogy from the comfort of your own home.
...and a Few More Links
Urban Archive invites New Yorkers to submit photos for their new crowdsourced history project.
Familygenealogy.online launched tools and resources for exploring family trees.
HippoCamp, a conference in PA for creative nonfiction writers, has opened early-bird registration.
“How to Turn Your Parents’ Stuff into Something Cool”