Life Story Links: June 25, 2019
“In writing, the big things in life are best illustrated by their small details. A recent widow struggling with the clasp of her charm bracelet for the first time since the death of her husband illustrates, illuminates and focuses in on grief. Go small and explode life’s large themes.”
—Marion Roach Smith
Lost & Found
MORE THAN STUFF
“If we want our family heirlooms and objects to have stories, then we must attach the story to them,” Kim Winslow writes. See how she does just that with a simple bench passed down from her husband’s mother.
FOUND PHOTOGRAPHS, MEMORIES GONE FERAL
Every photograph is “a marker, the living trace of a human who may otherwise survive only as a census entry, or not even that. We cannot discern their accompanying stories, and we can’t do anything for them.” The (missing) stories behind other people’s photos.
140,000 VHS TAPES
“This was not just a story about an archive, but a chance to use the archive to tell a story of the complicated person Marion [Roach] was,” filmmaker Matt Wolf says of his documentary Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project. I missed the screenings in NYC and Montclair, New Jersey, but hope to catch one soon.
After a Death
“As much as I miss my dad (and I do miss him terribly) I miss the me that he knew, too. I grieve the loss of our shared story,” John Pavolovitz writes. When someone you love dies, you lose a part of yourself, too: “You lose the part of you that only they knew. You lose some of your story.”
GOODBYE TO AN ICON
Almost immediately after the news broke that Gloria Vanderbilt had passed away on June 17, tributes began pouring in on social media. Her son Anderson Cooper, with whom she wrote a revealing memoir, took to the air for this moving eulogy:
TIMED WRITING EXERCISE
By limiting oneself in word count and time allotted for writing, undertaking any life story project becomes both more urgent and more relaxed. How to write a 300-word autobiographical vignette in 30 minutes.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Do you have a story about a time you were literally lost—maybe on a winding back road, in a sprawling city, or inside a cavernous building? Or maybe you were metaphorically lost, unsure of your life's direction, until that one moment or one person changed everything. Submit your writing to Hippocampus by Sept. 15, 2019, to be considered for their “Lost” themed issue.
“Imagine telling your own story, your autobiography, around the artifacts of your life—your first trike, wagon and bicycle followed by the automobiles you owned…or other objects that are unique to your life”: Ideas for storytelling using objects as markers of time.