Life writing and the stories of things

November is National Life Writing Month. While many writers are participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), you can start writing your own life stories and/or those of your family’s. Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings, but this year those gatherings will either be a lot smaller or done online, thanks to the rampant COVID-19. Whenever or however you are with family, that’s a good time to share stories. Maybe you’re lucky to have an elder grandparent or two to go way back in time – they are reservoirs of lived history and the culture of the times.

My dad and stepmom downsized this month from a big home to a little senior community apartment—thanks to hours of exhausting and dusty help from my sister and stepbrother. I was there a summer ago to at least start them off, seeing how things would have to (literally) go sooner or later. The trauma of dealing with a homestead jammed full of stuff got my sister and I to start to downsize ourselves, to avoid leaving our kids with a mess. Ha! That’s going slowly but surely, though.

My older daughter and her husband are flying in the week of Thanksgiving to visit his and then our family. We haven’t seen them in over a year but I will try not to get too close to them and will have disinfectant wipes on hand. I will, however, get my two girls together to point out some of my things that have stories attached to them, so those stories don’t get lost and so my girls can let me know which things they would like to inherit. Their great-grandma Grace’s beautiful rose china or some of her miscellaneous pretty cups and saucers? Antique furniture and kitchen items from when we lived in the UK? Can I sell any Japanese items at the next Japanese Festival?

Don’t wait until too late to pass down the stories—of your things as well as life. Life is difficult now, but we have many blessings and stories to appreciate.

While looking at some of the blogs I follow, I discovered Sharon Lippincott wrote about saving the stories of things! Check out what you can do: Stories Instead of Stuff

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, lifewriting, storytelling. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Life writing and the stories of things

  1. Jan Morrill says:

    I didn’t know November is National Life Writing Month! That’s just the inspiration I need to get started on a memoir I’ve been thinking about for a long time. It’s just so hard to get that “what will so-and-so think about this?” voice out of my head. Also, we’re also in the clearing-clutter mode, and I’m torn about what to do about all of my beautiful Japanese dolls. I’m going to first send a picture to my kids to see if they want any of them, and if not, I think I’ll post them on the new Japanese marketplace on Facebook (even though I’m technically “off” Facebook.) Same with us about Thanksgiving, too. We’re very torn about what to do about any kind of gathering, and I suspect, we’ll succumb to a small gathering with my dad, and again with my son and grandkids. But, my thoughts on that change every hour.

    You’re so right though–we have many blessings and stories to appreciate! ❤

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jan! Just get started on that memoir – write for yourself and then see how you can form it into something you’re brave enough to have others read. It does take bravery to publish a memoir, even just for family… sometimes especially for family! At least you have the wonderful and historical “The Red Kimono” novel inspired by some of your family’s stories. Regarding downsizing, it is painful to part with treasures, especially those with stories. We have to think of it as letting go to let someone else enjoy. Have a safe and sweet Thanksgiving, especially important with your dad!

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