Jotting down family tales leaves priceless legacy

| Bill Dodds | June 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

Let’s start with possible reasons you may give for not writing your memoirs now:

You’re too young (or too old) to write your memoirs. You’ve led an ordinary, uneventful life. You aren’t a writer.

All of those may seem true, but on the other hand, consider the following: If you’re young, you more easily remember stories about your youth. If you’re older, you have more family stories to tell. And, you may be the only one still around who knows them.

No one leads an ordinary and uneventful life. And what seemed “ordinary” to you as a child half a century or more ago is a different world to the youngest family members today. Radio shows for kids? Only one (black-and-white) TV in the house? No video games?

There’s no need to be a writer. Be a storyteller. Grammar, punctuation and spelling don’t matter. (Forget what Sister Mary told you in the fifth grade. Just get it down on paper.)

It might be true that no one will want to read your stories now. But in 10, 20, 50 years, these stories will be treasured. They’ll be priceless.

Yes, you may confuse some facts. That’s OK. All “history” is what was written down at one time, and it all has at least a few errors.

You don’t have to make a big commitment of time. Write one story a week and in a year the results of those little, regular commitments add up quickly. You don’t need to write a book. Again, just tell stories.

A memoir can take a lot of different forms. Yours doesn’t have to be chronological, biographically complete or follow a structure. You don’t need to call what you write your “memoirs.” A “collection of family stories” or “stories from my life” works just fine. It sounds less stuffy, too.

Here’s more good news: You don’t need to begin at “the beginning.” Just jot down a favorite story, a strong memory, then stop. Come back and do another.

Part of your collection might well include how your faith, your Catholicism, shaped and enriched your life. That’s a lovely legacy to pass on to younger generations — those present now and those yet to come.

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Category: Senior Living