"Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous." ~Anais Nin

04 August 2017

Tell Your Story, Man

The Adults (my great grandparents): Joseph and Sopia.  The children: Sophie, Katherine "Kitty", Anna, Mary, Barbara, Zora, Daniel (my grandfather), Mildred, Josephine, and Frances "Vinny."  Not featured: Elizabeth "Betty" who was not yet born.  Based on my estimated age of the eldest daughter, Sophie, who was born in 1904, I think this photo was taken in 1920 or thereabouts.
For the most part I find people to be interesting.  For the most part.  I think everyone has a story to tell about themselves and their lives.  This is the type of history that I enjoy: the history of people, the personal, the relatable.  The stories of my family.  The stories of your family.  Stories.

In that vein, I'm developing a memoir writing program at my library.  The program will run every Tuesday night in October, with four weeks of writing and storytelling assistance, and one final week of filming one of the stories the participants have written.  I'm pretty excited about it, and I really, really hope this program is successful because I'd like to see it expanded.  I have dreams of creating a regular podcast or web series around the program, and running the classes through much of the year.

Oh!  And can you imagine a book?  I can.  I think it would be nifty.

My program planning is mostly finished.  The only things left for me to do are the final touches: creating handouts, working out which of the myriad of topics we'll focus on, and figuring out how to use the freaking green screen at the library.  I'm working mostly from Lois Daniel's How to Write Your Own Life Story, and incredibly helpful book on memoir writing, which I love.  And I'm having a really great time figuring out the how of this, going over some of my old writing assignments from yesteryear, remembering the styles and encouragements of my teachers, mentors, and professors.  I'd forgotten, I think, how much I enjoy the business of writing—I love it more than anything.

Which brings me to myself and my writing.  I have really been sadly neglecting this hard-won skill.  I mean, yeah, I have a natural talent for language use and storytelling, but that gets me nowhere if I don't actually work at it, and I used to work at it.  Now, I'm in a state of atrophy, but I'm not so far gone.  I just have to remember, and remember to work.  So I guess that's what I'm going to do.

At one point I wanted to make writing my career, and you know what?  I still do.  It's time for me to actually start seriously pursuing that career.  No excuses.  What does that mean for this blog?  Not sure.  Because I want to actually sell what I'm writing, I'll not be posting it here.  Most publishers want first rights, you know?  But I will post some stuff (and maybe more often), and I'll try to keep you apprised of what's happening.  The two people I know who actually read this blog sometimes complain that I don't update it enough, so I suppose that has to change.  (I don't know how my suspicious number of French readers feel about anything, I just know that I'm getting an oddly large number of hits from France.)

So that's my plan.  I'll keep you posted on my library program and my writing progress and whatever else I feel like blogging about (because, really, this blog's about me).  Below is my list of possible memoir topics, and, um, I'll let you know as I figure more out.

Oh! And I almost forgot: I'm still looking for a new job.  As much as I now enjoy the library, it still isn't the place for me.  I've got no room to grow.  And I'd really like to have relatively normal hours—and full time hours with all the benefits that come with those (medical, dental, retirement).  So, if I find a job before October?  I'll take it.  I plan on leaving enough notes that one of my coworkers can step in.  Or, if I can swing it—and this is my preference—I'll still teach this October class after my regular workday.  It'd be nice if the library will still pay my regular hourly wage for it, but I'm not expecting that.  If I have another job to pay the bills, I can volunteer.

On to the list!

Possible memoir topics include:

  • Birth
  • Childhood
  • Parents & Grandparents
  • Accomplishments
  • Where were you (significant historical events)
  • Religion
  • Relatives
  • Romance
  • Turning Points
  • Children
  • Technology
  • Holidays
  • Politics
  • Pets and Animals
  • Traditions
  • Immigration
  • Memorable Moments
  • Places
  • Failures
  • Jobs
  • Creative Arts (how music, theater, dance, movies, paintings, etc) affect your life
  • Hobbies
  • Wars
  • Fashion
  • Teachers (in school and out of it)
  • Food
  • Lessons (that you learned or that you have to teach)
  • Natural Disasters
  • Et cetera, et cetera