Your Story Matters!
Memoir Writing Instructor Answers Your Questions
Every life is made up of stories—some are deliriously happy tales, others are devastatingly sad, and our life experiences represent every imaginable kind of emotion in between. We all have family history and life stories, and the sad truth is that if we don’t preserve them, they are permanently gone. There is no rewind. There is no going back to capture them.
My apologies that I have not posted since November. We sold one home and purchased another during December 2016, and life has been wild and crazy. I keep saying that I will never, ever move again! We are finally beginning to settle in, so I can make some attempt at getting back to business!
Please enjoy Post #4 in the series.
Q4. My parents and grandparents have passed away. I no longer have the option of interviewing them to obtain their input for my family history project. How can I include them in my stories?
A4. If you are fortunate enough to have other living relatives who knew your parents and grandparents, ask them what they can remember about your loved ones. You can record that information and decipher what is important to include. Be sure to write stories that you recall them telling you, as well as what you remember about them--any distinctive characteristics and memorable moments that come to mind. Look through old photos, scrapbooks, home movies--any resources you can locate and write the stories that you are able to formulate. This way their history lives on, as well as your own as you write your stories.
Sandi, a dear lady who once attended my workshop series, was inspired to contact cousins whom she had not seen in many years. She arranged a “cousins reunion” in a centralized location so they could spend time reflecting on memories of their relatives. The cousins shared stories about Sandi’s parents that she had never known, and she enjoyed hearing the thoughts that came from an entirely different perspective than her own experience with her mom and dad. To these cousins, Sandi’s parents were Aunt May and Uncle Joe. At the same time, she was able to offer memories to them about their own parents. I love this idea and believe that she found this reunion to be incredibly beneficial and worthwhile.
Think about your own relatives and who could provide good stories for your family history project. Your family stories are a priceless legacy!
Mary Anne Benedetto is the owner of A Writer’s Presence, LLC, a writer, speaker, blogger, Certified Lifewriting Instructor, and an affiliate teacher with the The Memoir Network. Author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, she offers beneficial tips, hints and critical steps in memoir writing in order to remove the “overwhelmed” factor in memoir projects.
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