Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Beginning of My Storytelling Journey

As I talk to my family about our shared history, I must be careful. Too much detail or too long a story causes their eyes to glaze over. Blank looks on my siblings' beautiful faces tells me that I have lost my audience. 

This blog was born out of the desire to tell life stories of my ancestors. The blog is a quick read. My hope was to entice family with snippets that take but a moment out of their busy lives. It worked to a degree.

My latest endeavor was to write a family history. After spending three years researching my uncle's life, I was ready to write and I did. I had something to share.

Writing a family history has been a journey. Originally, I planned to write a proof summary complete with footnotes. This attempt at scholarly writing ended quickly as it was a dry read. If it was dry for me to read, I can only imagine my family's reactions. I quickly threw that idea into the circular file.

Knowing that my audience was my family, I took a turn and began writing a narrative. I wrote, ripped up my story and began again. This happened over and over. Would I ever find a way to tell my story?

I am fortunate to belong to a genealogical society that encourages writing and am a member of one of three writer's groups. I found my voice at one writer's group meeting thanks to Nancy Stein. The way she told a story resonated with me.  I had listened to Nancy and others tell their stories for years and I finally had my "Ah Ha" moment! 

The story I wished to tell was a sad story filled with emotion. I removed my emotion. I removed the desire to elaborate on my step by step research journey. Interesting to me, but not so much to others. I learned to simply tell the story of a life. Once I knew how I wanted to tell my story, it was easy! I began to write in earnest.

My storytelling journey had begun!