Friday, October 2, 2009

Write your personal story

Friday, October 2, 2009

Everyone should be a writer.

Almost thirty years ago now, when our son was born, my father bought a blank bound book and wrote his story for his grandson.

My father's personal story was interesting. He was born soon after his mother got off the boat from Italy. He attended medical school in Naples, Italy. He spoke Sicilian Italian and, because of his medical training, he also spoke the dialect they speak in Naples. And he was in Italy during the rise of Mussolini.

But he never talked about that. He was a future oriented man. He always looked toward the future and thought about the future.

With the birth of a grandson, we asked him to write a paragraph in the baby book. That paragraph turned into thousands of words in his own handwriting.

My father has been dead now for twenty-three years. Our son hardly knew him. Dad died when our son was six. But Dad's grandson has his grandfather's story in his grandfather's own handwriting.

This is not a full-fledged family history. It is just his personal story, the kind of thing we could all do.

If you want to see how powerful such stories can be, click on this site and listen to a couple of the stories.

We should all be writers. We should all write our own stories.

This comes up because yesterday I was having Power Breakfast with a friend. Each Thursday a small group of us gather for Power Breakfast at the community center in Lenoir Woods. We share biscuits and gravy, and we become better friends.

My friend is writing her personal story. Her husband was a prominent minister in the denominational structure of the Missouri Southern Baptist Convention. She just tagged along (and played the organ all the time, of course). Now that her husband is dead, she wants to tell her story too. She is surely over eighty. It is time for her to do her writing.

Telling your personal story is so easy to do nowadays. You can write your story, and if you choose to, put it on a computer file and have it made into a publication quality book inexpensively. It is not like it used to be where people who wrote family histories (or even small personal histories) had to pay some publisher thousands of dollars to have the book published.

Now, in our town, we can take the computer file down to a local bookstore and pay them so many cents per page to make the books. The file can have pictures in it, just as this blog often does. We can give copies of the book we've written to family members so that if one copy is lost, others have copies.

Believe me, your family will be grateful.

So, maybe it is time to start writing. Maybe you need to record your own personal story.

Since you are reading this blog, one way you could do that is to write your own blog. Blogs can be made private, just open to the family and friends.

Blogging causes you to write a little something each day. And after a while, if you are like me, you have written hundreds of little pieces.

Make those little pieces about your personal or family history. Compile them into a personal book, in whatever way you want to do that. And share your story with your family.

One hundred years from now, your family will be grateful.

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