Life Story Links: February 26, 2019
“Some writers have a more defined sense of cause and effect. Plot. My sense of life is more moment, moment, and moment. Looking back, they accrue and occur to you at a certain time and maybe you don’t know why, but you trust that they are coming back to you now for a reason. And you make a leap of faith. You trust you can put these moments together and create story.”
Writing the Suffering
“ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE ABOUT THAT?”
The complicated choices of memoir writing: Judy Goldman on finally being able to write about her husband.
“Preserving the full story of your adoption journey may mean sharing some of the pain, too—but how much you include is a personal decision.“ Last week I delved into this topic in the hopes of helping adoptive parents consider how to best shape their personal narrative.
MEMOIR = POWERFUL THERAPY
“You validated my life.” Such is the nature of the feedback memoir coach Bob Becker receives from senior citizens and other participants in his Connecticut memoir workshops. “Sharing your story is for you first,” he says.
In this powerful short film (below) created by Ancestry and Sundance, six strangers meet in Brooklyn—and at the historic Plymouth Church, an integral station along the Underground Railroad, learn how they are bound together by the deeply webbed histories of their ancestors.
See also a panel that was recorded live after a screening of the film, including Harvard historian and Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates Jr., Ancestry historian Lisa Elzey, featured historian Melissa Collom, and featured descendant Gayle George.
First Person Pieces
ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK, WHERE ARE YOU?
Of attending a concert of her childhood musical crush Kavita Das writes that “memories [came] flooding back to me of how it felt to be so small my feet didn’t touch the car’s floor but also to have felt so big that my voice drowned out all the clamor of New York City on those song-filled drives with Mommy.”
STORIES, LONG BURIED
“That grandma told me the story at all was unusual. She lived in the present. Didn’t reminisce.” How one family story leads this writer down a genealogical rabbit hole.
“ME, BY ME”
NYC-based journalist Cynthia Ramnarace learns that, while she is the writer in her family, she was not necessarily the right person to write her own relative’s stories. She explores why, and delves into her inspiration to start Memoiria Pubishing—in the end revealing why she is the perfect catalyst to bring other “people’s stories from minds to lips to paper.”
WRITING RETREAT: TWO OPENINGS REMAIN
In honor of her imminent MFA graduation (congrats!), Wisconsin–based personal historian Sarah White is hosting a small-group Nova Scotia writing retreat. Participants will spend three days at Windhorse, a rural farm/eco-retreat, followed by two days in bustling Halifax on the campus of University of King's College.
BUTTERFLY TOWN, USA
On the latest episode of The Life Story Coach podcast, Amy Woods Butler speaks with publisher Patricia Hamilton about a curated community history project for which she received more than 400 submissions—and how she sold out of a 500-print run on launch day.
...and a Few More Links