Of the importance of personal stories

memoir5None of us want to be alone.

If I could go back in my life, with all the wisdom I have now, I would unite the world through story.  Stories from people.  Stories about the times of their lives.

I think that’s why genealogy has become so popular in the United States.  So many of us live far away from our roots, and the fast pace of modern life keeps us more isolated than ever before in human history.  We are more connected, but more apart.

Five years ago I wanted to become a personal historian, but life circumstances prevented that.  I needed to earn a living more than I needed to follow a passion of mine.  Now I’m off in another, equally as passionate direction, but I still wonder what my life would have been like if…

I had so much fun interviewing Steve Brenner and capturing his experience being close to an exploding volcano.  He’s a wonderful story teller.  I got caught up in his moment.  Thanks, Steve, for sharing that with me.

Personal histories can be amazing, entertaining, heartwarming.  I’d like to share two of them that I recently found on the blogsphere:

Rarasaur writes about her tenth birthday, the day she was forgotten.  Her father explains why personal story is important:

She cut him off.  “Dad, why do we need people who remember?”

“We only exist today by the virtue of their light tomorrow.” he replied, “The ones with that gift are holding onto our very humanity.  They remember, and that remembering reminds us.”

Another favorite poignant story was about a young boy’s Christmas that was threatened by poverty.

Still need more convincing that your story matters?  StoryCorps created a fun animated video of some of their short stories.  Watch and hear how story matters.

Don’t know where to start?  The Association of Personal Historians has some tips and resources for you.

Go back and read two of my blogs, Writing Your Life and New Ideas.

Why don’t you add “story” to your list of new year’s resolutions?  Your generous sharing will change the world.

Many blessings!

Chris

6 thoughts on “Of the importance of personal stories

  1. Getting to know more about forebears can be fascinating, sometimes shocking, and frequently a most emotional experience. I have known my wife to be in tears after coming across a very old letter written by her grandfather about being held up by weather in going for a job interview which would have been his dream occupation. She knew that, instead, he got a job which resulted in his death at a young age.

  2. One of my biggest regrets of life is that I wasn’t interested enough in my parents’ stories to take the time to sit down and ask to hear them. I know only the sketchiest details about their lives, their histories from their youth and from before I existed. I have no doubt that, from my perspective today, theirs would have been fascinating, dramatic, tragic, funny stories, stories that, because my parents are gone, I will never hear.

  3. What a beautiful post, thank you so much for including me. 🙂 You’re right that so many of us are fascinated by our roots for good reason– there’s a story in every root, I think. 🙂

  4. This was wonderful. Sometimes, I feel that I am so wrapped up in my own stories that I don’t always appreciate others’. But, I have the capability, as people have told me that I am a good listener.

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