Dia de los Muertos, NaNoWriMo, and your family history

Today I went to our history museum to see the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. I love this celebration, kind of like the Japanese Obon time but more colorful and fun. Both these celebrations honor family members who have passed into the other realm. We welcome them back to the earthly world to enjoy relationship again and then send them back to the spirit world. Incense, candles, flowers, and favorite foods are involved, and dancing. They are beautiful ways to remember the dead.

Dia de los Muertos and pretty falling leaves got me thinking of our limited time on earth. We never know when we will be called away.  I want to finish writing my dad’s family history while he and his brother can read it, as a way to honor them as well as all their ancestors, and so they won’t be forgotten. My families on both the Dutch and Japanese sides had hard lives, so I especially want to honor and show respect for what they went through personally, historically, and culturally. Thanks to them, I am here today.

November is NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. Writers worldwide have started rough drafts of their novels, aiming to crank out 50,000 words by month’s end. That’s about 200 pages. Instead of writing a novel, you can use this challenge to work on your memoir or family history . My goal for the month is to finish my dad’s family history book, which looks to be about 100 pages. It’s almost done, actually, but I need to insert photos, work on a cover, and get print copies mailed out before Christmas. Surely I can do this despite a lot of busy days ahead.

Won’t you join me by working on your family stories? Begin by writing what you know. Thanksgiving with the relatives is the perfect time to gather more stories to add to your collection. Maybe this time next year, you and your ancestors’ spirits will be dancing together over a book of treasures.




About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
This entry was posted in family gathering, heritage, history, holiday, lifewriting, memoir writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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