Telling your life story

A lot of people want to tell their own life story, but how do you begin?

First, get a clear idea of what you actually want to do. Ask yourself ‘why do I want to write my story?’
Is it:
to remember
to tell your side of the story
to celebrate your life
to share your wisdom
to bear witness to an event or a time because you were there
for inner healing
to leave a legacy for your family or future generations
to show your connection to the community in which you live
OR; do you simply want to talk about something you’re passionate about?

When we have a clear idea as to our objective, it will keep us from going off on a tangent and then becoming ‘lost’ or even ‘bored’ but the project.

So where do you start?

Think about your background, where you lived as a child. What did your parents do? Do you have any siblings?
If you don’t want to go back that far, focus on the topic you’d like to record. Think about the place, time, the people involved.
If you have photographs, think about the incident/ event and try to recall your feelings on the day. Who was with you? What were you doing?

Did anyone in your family (including aunts, cousins, etc.) have unusual or special characteristics? Was anyone especially funny, intelligent, loud, rich or talented?
Were there any school teachers you particularly liked or disliked?
Who were the people you were especially close to? Were there any adults you admired, respected or trusted? Did anyone let you down badly?
What advice did your parents give you? What lessons did they try to instill?
How did your relationship with your parents change as you all got older?
How have your relationships with your siblings changed over time?

Be sensitive to others as you write but don’t be afraid to tell the truth. Gather up various photos from throughout your life. Gather up other documents too, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, old school report cards, meaningful inscriptions inside greeting cards, diplomas and other life history documents. Make copies of these and insert them as you see fit in between the pages containing your written life story.
Decide what sort of a memoir you want. Will it be an album, a scrapbook, or a simple collage.
You may only want to record one event.

The devil is in the detail;
What sort of thing will interest your grandchildren and their children?
Think about the period – Bistros with red gingham table cloths and bottle of Mateus rose with a candle in it. Remember the drips all down the sides. Plastic flowers on work dividers etc.
Popular Drinks -Babycham with cherry on a stick
Popular deserts – Black Forest gateaux / prawn cocktail, cheese and pineapple of sticks
Things you did – made a sack dress in an afternoon / first date / first kiss
Places – Cinema and watching a film through a haze of cigarette smoke
Juke boxes / Lambretta scooters
Princess Anne’s wedding, Charles and Diana’s wedding, Evel Knievel, Condorman and the Rubik cube
What did you do at Christmas?
How did you celebrate your birthday?
What illnesses did you suffer?
What games did you play?
Think about your Aunts and Uncles, cousins etc.
What was your house like?
Include any funny / odd sayings you have in the family.
Don’t forget the obvious… what was granny’s name? your maiden name…?

Remember, less is more… keep it concise.

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