Thursday, April 1, 2010

Promoting Memoir Writing and Exercise!

General Info:
Here I go again--beginning a blog post with an apology for having been absent for a long stretch of time. The month of March flew by like a windy day in the Palm Springs desert! I blinked my eyes, and here we are in the month of April. March was so busy with holding memoir writing workshops, working on the manuscript for my new novel, Never Say Perfect, transcribing stories recorded by a special client who is writing his memoirs, and enjoying time with house guests. I did manage to squeeze in a couple of rounds of golf also, which was so enjoyable when I'm able to keep my brain focused on the game instead of running through a mental business "to do" list while I'm trying to putt.

Memoir Writing:
One of my fervent goals is to find ways to influence younger people about the importance of adapting a pro-active role in obtaining the stories of their parents, grandparents, and other loved ones and preserving them for future generations. Many times I am told by older folks that they would like to write their stories, but they simply don't have the energy or they feel that the project is too burdensome, or they question their writing abilities. With a little bit of help from a loved one, their stories can be captured before they are forever lost.
I recently heard from Nancy Wurtzel of Westlake Village, CA, who said, "Last year, my daughter (Katie, age 16) and I conducted interviews with my mom about her childhood and up until the time she was married. Mom is almost 90 and is the last living family member of her generation. She is still fairly sharp and we realized that we needed to ask her our questions now. There were boxes and boxes of old pictures and items from when she was young, but we really didn't know who was in the pictures or the significance of the other items."
Nancy continued by saying that the idea was actually Katie's, as she is very interested in family history and genealogy. She wrote out a list of questions and brought a tape recorder when they visited Nancy's mom in Minnesota. Their investment of time and energy produced eight single-spaced typed pages of the memories of Nancy's mother and afforded both Katie and Nancy the opportunity to learn about an aunt and uncle who had died at ages 21 and 20 of typhoid fever, stories of growing up on a farm in Iowa, attending country school, family scandals, and working as a young adult during World War II, etc.
As a birthday present, they gave Nancy's mom a scrapbook of her childhood. Her mom said that it was the best gift she had ever received.
Although I don't know Katie personally, I am so proud of her for her instinctive awareness of the importance of undertaking this project. She will never regret having spent this time gaining a better understanding and perspective of her grandmother through obtaining her stories. If you have living parents or grandparents, won't you resolve to do exactly what Katie and Nancy have done? Being prepared with a list of questions and a small tape recorder are invaluable tools in succeeding in a memoir project. The results are truly priceless!

I'll readily admit it. I'm so hung up on finding easy ways to keep from gaining weight because I find that with each birthday that I celebrate, the task becomes more difficult. Last week, the big news flash on television, radio, and newspaper was that it takes one hour of exercise EVERY DAY to maintain our current weight. This wasn't recommended for LOSING weight--one hour of daily exercise required to avoid GAINING weight. My heart sunk when I heard this. How would I ever squeeze a solid hour of exercise into my daily routine? I co-chair the production of our neighborhood electronic newsletter, and there are five families who do not have computer access so we print a copy for each of these residents and deliver them to their homes. When the news broke last week about the daily one hour recommendation for exercise, I was in the process of printing the newsletter for the computerless families. I made the decision to walk to their homes for the purpose of delivery. I didn't stop to consider that I would be winding through various sections of our community and not just walking the main road. I was walking for an hour and a half before I gave up and trudged back home to hop into my car to deliver the last two copies. I'll have to gradually work up to what could be a two or more hour walk!
Speaking of walks, beginning with my next blog post (hopefully very soon) my plan is to feature one of 20 Great Walks in the Grand Strand. Each post will describe one walk--including the location, length of the walk, pertinent information, and a photo. Stay tuned for this new presentation!

For anyone who is struggling with difficult economic or general stress of life situations right now, take comfort in Jeremiah 29:11, which says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." God bless you and keep you safe until next time!