Monday, November 9, 2015

OUR STORIES MATTER


In 1874 a young man purchased a weekly planner and each day he scribbled something about it. Sometimes he wrote a lot, sometimes just a line or two. After the year was over, I suspect he purchased an 1875 planner. I'm not sure because I've not seen it. However, over the following 141 years this 1874 planner survived.

Now I don't know this for sure, but I feel as if no one thought much about his scribbling in this tiny planner. Thankfully, after he passed, it wasn't thrown away. Someone probably dropped it in a desk and forgot about it. Perhaps when this man died, someone kept it for sentimental reasons. Even so, the sentimental value didn't keep whoever had it from letting children scribble in it.

However, as the years passed, this non-consequential planner grew in value. Not monetarily, but emotionally. When the planner was handed to me I considered it a treasure. You see, this is my great-grandfather, Charles Diehl's. Even though I never met him when I read it I feel as if I'm somehow visiting with him. When I run my fingers over the penciled words, I'm touching him.

Now if someone suggested to Great-grandfather Diehl that one day his great-granddaughter would be be interested in what he wrote in his little book, he'd probably have scoffed. After all, who cares if it was clear and warm on Monday, August 24, 1874?

I do!

I wrote in my last blog, we are living in history and one day our day-to-day experiences will be important to someone else. However, some will never write their stories because they think their stories don't matter. Besides, the very thought of writing a book is daunting for some. The good news is, we do not have to write books. We can tell our stories in so many different ways. In my book, Writing Life, Your Stories Matter, I give some ideas of fun and simple ways to give insight into who we are, what we've learned, epiphanies we have or observations we've made. Some of the ideas are:


  • Keepsake Cookbooks - Holiday recipes? Tell a story around the recipe such as family traditions, the person who gave you the recipe, memories of times together enjoying this recipe.   Maybe make a collection of family favorites and tell stories about those recipes. Perhaps you like to entertain. Write about your tips and ideas. This will be a treasure 141 years from now! 
  • Photo Albums - Adhere a photo and underneath, using the creative nonfiction style of writing, write about everything that was happening when that picture was taken.
  • Lists - I love lists! Make a list of special people you've known and write about each one and how they impacted your life. List the things you wish you had done and why. List the things you wish you hadn't done and why. There are so many topics you can cover. 
So, what do we do with our stories once we've written them? A few ideas I thought of:

  • Jot your stories down in a journal
  • Write a blog 
  • Go to your local copy shop and let them put your stories in a binder. 
  • You can write on the pages in a cookbook or in your Bible. 
We are the only limitation to our ideas. Remember this, our stories matter. Let's not let them disappear when we leave this world. 





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2 comments:

  1. So much we know about history--about individuals living inconsequential lives during profound times--comes from letters and journals. I hope letter and journal writing never become a lost art.

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  2. Me too Linda! And as you can see, my g-grandfather didn't have to write much. I've used some of it in my historical novel. The way he worded things is somewhat different than how we speak today! May your day be beautiful and filled with delightful coffee aroma! ;)

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