Before the Chair is Empty

empty chairWhen the nights are longest and the season coldest, gifts are exchanged between those related by kinship, friendship or some other bond. These tokens, meant to lift spirits and honor connections, pale in comparison to the stories held by our elders, most of which remain unwrapped and waiting to be told.

As lively as anything in books or on screen, their stories are ripe for telling, having incubated a lifetime. Continue reading

Mapping a Life Story

beads and map copyShe had 90 years to cover. How to tell it all?! She made a chart, dividing her life into short spans. In each section, she jotted down important things that had happened to her. This became her map of the past and gave her direction. She only included the stories that mattered most, the ones that took her somewhere.

Where do I begin?

start smallThe best things in life have humble beginnings. Start small. Write the story the day holds for you. The energy of that story is like an egg, just waiting to be hatched. Try sitting with it, listen to what it has to say, write down your memories, or share them with someone who can write it for you (l’d love to hear your story). Just like this little chick which will grow over time, simply begin with a cheep. Don’t worry about the order – that will come later. The important thing is to begin.

Show the Scale

little chickThis day-old chick in a teacup  reminds me of the WWII veteran who recounted the precise dimension of a battleship seventy years later. But why? He said that growing up in the Midwest, he had never seen anything larger than a silo. The looming hulk of steel that blocked the sky, inspired in him an urge to measure it. After the war, he became an engineer and measured everything.

 

Crow a Little

Bragging RightsYou’ve earned bragging rights. Explain your feat by showing what you overcame. A certain man made good; it was his one story, told and retold. I sat down with him and asked fresh questions. His new angle, never before shared, included immigrant parents who did not speak English, had little education and hoped he’d sell groceries. He exclaimed. “I showed the world that I was more!” Finally someone heard what he overcame, saw his determination, understood his courage. Then his pride shifted to include his heritage. He let the old story go and moved on to tell new ones. (Everyone crowed along with him.)

 

*2chicksThe yellow chick on the right is the same rooster as shown above. He was raised with a breed a little bigger (they got a head start). He knew he was small and… well, different. He was supposed to be a hen – what confusion! Introducing Mr. White. Yes, he’s loud, but consider his beginnings. And what kind of morning would it be without his crow?

Include the Gang

the gangYou can’t write about everybody, but choose the ones who meant the most and share how they shaped your life. There is very little we’ve done all by ourselves. Give credit where it is due. Most of our adventures happen with friends. Friendships are what get us through. Share the love.

Down and Dirty

dirty birdIt is only natural to want to show our best face in public, but hold back from too much gloss. Keep the gritty part. Living isn’t easy. We are going to get dirty; it’s a fact of life. Be generous in sharing the whole truth. Reveal it, then shake it off. It is good animal nature to do so.

No Two Alike

eggs smallEvery storyteller has a unique style and story. No two are alike. Appreciate the fact that yours will be as unique as you are. Just as these eggs are colored by their breed of hens, your stories will reflect the one and incomparable you. It is the purpose of Life Stories to frame them in such a way that your life is celebrated.

Legacy Words

maternal prideThere is nothing so permanent as words on a page to show how much we love someone. There is no pride like a parent’s pride.This pride, this passion for someone, this sense that they belong to us and we to them… is, in fact, the legacy that will outlive all others. Share the memories, the observations of what we cherish in those we care about. Love is the eternal gift. It is indestructible.

Trust Yourself, Trust Your Story

in kitchen2You have been in the kitchen of your life from the day you could hold a spoon. You don’t need to worry about how to tell your story. You’ve got it down. It’s in you. So relax. This is the time for reflection.  Now is the time to begin. Trust yourself. Trust your story. Life Stories is here to help you in any way you need, and at the end of the process, you will have your life story in a book.