Monday, March 18, 2013

Just Tell the Story.

Well, what can I say?  I'm back.  After a long dry spell, which as most writers know sometimes happens, I have gotten my grove back.  Of course, some of the problem was that from late September most of my energy was spent on kitchen remodeling.  I am so grateful to report that it is done, and the results are both attractive and functional.  The kitchen was neither of those things prior to this change.  I am one of those people who love beautiful things all the more so if they also have usefulness and fulfill their purpose.

This absence from the real work of writing has given me a chance to think about where I want to go with my own writing.  I find that there are stories, some already written, which need to find homes.  I have been sitting on them far too long.  I was also reminded that we all have stories even if we don't see ourselves as authors; and when we leave this place, those untold stories go with us. 

Not so long ago, I was sitting in a good Italian restaurant waiting to be taken to our table when I overheard the party nearby discussing the merits of recording your life story for children and grandchildren.  There were several stories exchanged that could make great tales for children to read.  The problem was that none of the speakers felt they had the talent to do a good job of writing them down.I know that there are many degrees of compatency when it comes to writing--many levels of literary ability. That should not stop anyone from telling the tale.

I have a gut wrenching tale my maternal great-grandmother wrote down in journal form.  Believe me when I say there are no fancy words, no literary devices--just a straight forward recording of what she was seeing, hearing, and most importantly, feeling. It is stark and it is real.  Because of that, it is powerful. I was transported to her time and learned more of that family than any oral tales of land ownership, linage or traditions had ever conveyed.

I think it is a good thing to know your genealogy; to know where your family came from and what drove them forth to change their circumstances.  I like knowing who the children were and how they fared in their times. I like just knowing the aunts, uncles, cousins and how they connect. But the written story of individuals keeps them human, believable.  Without them, all of our ancestors would be founding fathers and heroes.  That's just the prideful way that people think. 

I had been told over and over of how illustrious my great-grandmother's family was, how glorious was their past; but it was her story in her own words-- raw and painful-- that told me who she was and who several others of those illustrious ancestors were.  That is what you can't find in land records or census rolls.  I cried for her pain, but I'm glad she wrote it down.  Most importantly, I'm glad I got to read it.