TELL ME A STORY…about you!

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The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling. ~ Cecil B. DeMille

When I encourage people to write down their stories the usual replies are:

  • My life is nothing special
  • I haven’t done anything worth writing about
  • No one would be interested, who would read them?

In 1874 a young man kept a day planner. In it he recorded the weather and something he did that day, like picking cotton, going to the cotton gin, or sitting up with a sick friend. He wrote about going to church or eating supper with family. If someone had told him his scribblings would one day be treasured, he would have thought that person was nuts. When 1875 rolled around, he threw his the 1874 planner in the drawer. Over the years the little planner was passed on until it landed in the hands of his great-granddaughter in 2010. She opened it and ran her finger over his writing while reverently reading what he had to say. This was her touching point, her connection, with a long-dead relative. To her, it wasn’t day-to-day ramblings. It was a treasure.

That great-granddaughter is me.

Writer Page Lambert once said, “We cannot change the pain of our past, but we can give health to the future.” We can do this through writing. The difference between what my great-grandfather did and what I do is writing with purpose. Writing to give health to the future. And good news! You don’t have to be a writer to do this. Just tell your stories.

Write about:

  • Mistakes you made, what you learned from them, and how you overcame.
  • Influential people in your life, why they are influential, how they have inspired you
  • Your observations and epiphanies from the historic events that have taken place in your lifetime. Things that have changed or influenced the way we live in the USA, or even the world. Natural disasters, the social media explosion, or modern inventions.
  • Memories made or lessons that can be taken from your hobbies.

You may not think anyone will be interested. But from experience let me say, yes, your stories will be treasured. They are threads in the fabric of humanity.

Your stories matter.

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WHY I WRITE

I do not have dreams of grandeur as a writer. But I do have purpose. My core value is communication, so writing is a given. Maybe, one day, if my books fall into the hands of the right person, I may make it to the lists. Well, one can hope can’t she? But even so, I write with purpose. Whether it is fiction or non I write to send important messages about life that will endure the test of time. I write for future generations.

This is something we all can do, even if you do not consider yourself a writer. Our stories matter. I have a diary of daily happenings that belonged to my great-grandfather. It was for the year 1870. Through the decades that little diary went through a lot of abuse. It lost its cover, some grandchildren scribbled in it, no one paid much attention to it, except to keep it. Thank goodness. By the time it came into my possession, that little rag-tag diary was a treasure. I keep it in a safe place and treat it as something priceless. Because it is. When I read it I’m visiting with my great-grandfather. I’m learning about him and what was important to him.

One day the stories I made up or writings of family experiences will be my great grandchildren’s treasure. You hear about leaving a footprint on the earth? By writing, we all leave a footprint on our future’s heart.

FADING INTO VAPORS

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I teach a  workshop on Living in History. It is my passion that we write our experience of historical events in our lifetimes for future generations to read. We should tell what we remember, what we felt, but most important of all, what we learned. How did our lives change?

My grandchildren will read about the attacks of September 11, 2001 in textbooks. They will learn where it happened, how many people died, the economical effects it had around the world, how it changed our security and even see pictures. But what they won’t read is how it changed me.

I remember thinking about the morning before the victims of 911 left for work. What happened? Did they leave angry, hurtful, words hanging between them and their family or friends thinking they would get it right later? Did they ignore them? I listened to desperate phone calls made when it was obvious to some that they were going to die. I’ve heard that you speak the most important thing when you know your time on earth is coming to a close. The three frantic words spoken on those calls were “I love you.”

I love you .

I want my grandchildren to know the power of those three words. I want them to never leave their homes without affirming their loved ones. We don’t know what the day will bring. Who, when boarding those jets expected it to become a weapon of mass destruction? Who, when sitting at their desk expected a jet to fly into their office?

Thirteen years after the attack, I see the remembrance fading into vapor. It is no longer a headline on the news sites. It has been reduced to a single line below the banners. Maybe a tiny picture. Soon it won’t be noticeable at all, that is until another attack occurs. And another attack will.

Don’t let it fade or anything else that happens in your lifetime. Telling as story and writing a story is what vapor is to stone. Even if it is only a paragraph, give wisdom and guidance to future generations.

I’m closing this post with these words:

I appreciate you, my readers.

HOPE FLOATS

“There shall be wings! If the accomplishment be not for me, ‘tis for some other.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

I’ve been in a frustrating season lately. It reminds me of the time Neal and I went fishing with another couple. We boarded our friend’s boat and went to his favorite spot. We baited our hooks and with great hopes cast our lines. In no time at all the fish hit everyone’s hook but mine. But that was okay, because it meant we were in the right spot to catch our limit and my turn would soon happen.

 It didn’t.

At first I was fist pumping the air, congratulating everyone because, as I said earlier, my turn would surely come. After an hour my fists gripped the pole as I watched that stupid bobber float on the water. I mentally grumbled, “Why are they catching the fish? I’m using the same bait and in the same boat for heavens sake.” I wanted to quit, get out of the boat, break my pole over my knee and go home!

For the past several months I’ve received notices from my writing acquaintances and friends about their awards, three-book deals, and acceptances. And I’ve fist-pumped the air and congratulated them. But as far as my submissions, my writing . . . zilch, zip, nada, crickets chirping.

I have wanted to quit. To walk out of my office, throw my computer in the dumpster and go pout under a shrub. But I can’t. So what do I do? I sit in my writing boat and bait hooks for others so they can catch another contract, earn another award, get another acceptance.

And while this sounds noble of me, it doesn’t make things easier. But it helps me keep my perspective. After all, it isn’t all about me. It isn’t all about them. It is what it is. So while I’m conducting workshops, encouraging writers, and helping them succeed, I keep my eye on my own bobber floating on the water.

A couple of days ago, I got a nibble. Who knows, maybe this time it will disappear below the surface and I will be the one pulling in the deal. But until then, I’ll keep baiting hooks.

How about you? Do you feel invisible while others around you are succeeding, getting promotions, passing tests, stepping over you on the ladder of success? Are you  tempted to bale out of the boat, or are you willing to bait the hook for others?

I suggest you hang in there and keep your eye on your bobber. Hope floats. Persistence pulls it under.