Life Story Links: September 24, 2019
“…though I try to grip the memories, they blur and shift with time. It seems that the more I take them out to look at them, the more I alter them by looking.”
Writing, and Revealing, Our True Selves
YOURSELF AS CHARACTER
Nicole Breit looks "at ways you can nurture the split between person and persona, and learn a few tricks to develop yourself as a character on the page” when writing memoir.
From the Amazon description of Journey, a book of visual and literary prompts: “It is a place where private dreams and musings, stories, and sketches come to life—and an ideal gift for those who wish to explore and then record their memories and dreams.”
THE MYTH OF DISINTEREST
When an acquaintance told me that her grown kids have no interest in listening to stories about her formative years and life experiences, I was compelled to revisit this topic once more: Your grown kids may not “care” about your stories now, but they will one day. They will.
Are you stuck with your life story writing? “It’s not the lack of time. It’s not clutter. You don’t have ‘writer’s block.’ It’s probably that you just don’t know what to do next,” writes Alison Taylor of Pictures and Stories in Utah. She responds with some clear, actionable next steps to short-circuit your procrastination tendencies.
Reminders of Times Gone By
IMBUED WITH MEMORIES
"I didn’t want my grandfather’s things to just be another box of stuff. If you don’t pass these stories on, they get lost.” Five families talk about objects they could never part with—heirlooms they have cherished and preserved—because they hold meaning beyond their physical worth.
AS TOLD TO, FOOD EDITION
“Whatever else we put on the table, rice and shoyu was always the linchpin. We had it for dinner every single night of my childhood. It’s intimately tied to my sense of home.” Sanae Yamada on how returning to the foods of her childhood grounds her.
GERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE
German culture minister looks into creating a central institution charged with archiving and sharing the country’s photographic cultural heritage to secure “the visual memory of our society.”
“WE GATHER HERE TODAY…”
At the book launch for one of her memoir clients, Nancy West was struck by how the gathering had all the best aspects of a memorial service: rich details about the person's life, loving tributes from his closest friends and family members. But there was one key difference—he was present to take part in it.
“I do want [my granddaughter] to remember me, not specific events so much as my presence. I want her to know that I helped care for her, comfort her and celebrate her. That I was there, a part of her life, and loved her ferociously,” Paula Span writes in this thoughtful piece about what our grandchildren will—and won’t—remember about us.
THAT TIME HE SHAVED MY LEGS…
Wisconsin–based Sarah White, who has been leading life writing groups since 2004, created “True Stories Well Told“ as a place to highlight stories of real life. Recently she shared her own sample of object writing, a piece of flash memoir she wrote guided by the prompt, “What is your earliest memory of your longest love partner?”
Maria Rivas shares a remembrance of her mom, who was “strong in everything",” with StoryCorps Legacy, a project that gives people with life-threatening illnesses the chance to record their story, and their loved ones a chance to remember. Listen in: