According to The Gift of History, a document developed by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH): “History can inform and educate us by providing the context and perspective that allows us to make thoughtful decisions about the future. And history has the power to delight and enrich us, enlarging and intensifying the experience of being alive.”
Think your life is too ordinary to record? Consider this: Anyone who has read The Diary of Joseph Plumb Martin: A Revolutionary War Soldier or Lucy Breckenridge of Grove Hill: the Journal of a Virginia Girl 1862-1864, or The Life of an Ordinary Woman by Anne Ellis (about her life in the Colorado mining camps of the late 19th century) realizes every life is extraordinary in its unique perspective of the times in which the writer lived.
Lifewriting is the art of capturing your life stories to share your collected wisdom with your family and community. It is an opportunity for you to come to an understanding of yourself and your life. Our family stories provide the link between our past and our future.
If present day media is the sole source of current social history – our history – how will future generations know what it felt like to be an ordinary person living in ordinary times? Who will know the emotions stirred witnessing the home birth of a grandson while embracing his siblings? Who will record my granddaughter, Sophie, waking in the dawn stillness of her fourth birthday and eagerly whispering, “Gram, am I four?”
Your life stories are your most precious legacy—the most enduring “thing” you can bequeath to your family and our community, and the one legacy each of us can leave.
Botetourt County Libraries is sponsoring a four-week series of lifewriting workshops (Loose Threads: Spinning Your Life Story) on Saturdays, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in the Fincastle Library scheduled for September 10, 17 and October 15 and 22, culminating in a morning of public readings November 5— Botetourt Reminisces: Share Your Story.
No prior writing experience is required. (This is not English 101.) All you’ll need is a pad of paper (no laptops, please), a pen or pencil, an open mind and a sense of humor. Our guided autobiography workshop provides you with a starting point in telling your life stories. We’ll use proven methods for triggering your memories, and for planning and organizing your project. Group writing offers motivation as well as an interested audience in sharing each other’s journeys.
Join us to craft your greatest legacy – the story of your life!
~ Submitted by Susan Mason (writing instructor)