‘Telling our Stories’

by Patrick O'Brien

"Keep telling your story ―all must be heard." ~ Anonymous.

“Keep telling your story. All must be heard.”  ~ Anonymous

In 2009, a woman wrote asking my help to write her story which she intended leaving as a legacy for her granddaughter from who she’d become estranged following a family feud. I hitchhiked a week to reach her home, camped on the lawn, and, for several more days, sat on her porch drinking tea while listening as she answered my questions.

The project was ambitious — a broad, sweeping canvas comprised of all events that shaped and formed her life. Photographs; poetry; favourite recipes, prayers and quotes; family-stories handed down; birthdays and anniversaries. There were the celebrations; the triumphs and the failures, the tears and the laughter . . . a rich and human account.

I left her with a simple plan:

(1) Build a personal Blog using WordPress. Access to the Blog can be public, private, password restricted or limited to only certain people, as one wishes.

(2) To provide structure, run the Blog for a 12-month period (or, 365 days) with the beginning and end dates to suit oneself (here’s an example of this structure at work).

(3) Using a yearly planner, mark out all the birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates to be recorded, and schedule a post to be published on each of those days. This might also include days for such things as letters and photographs, or any event which can be dated.

(4) Remaining days can be used for anything and everything one might wish to write or post. Thoughts; dreams; hopes and wishes; one’s view of the world, much like a diary.

Had my grandmother left me such a gift  . . . it would be a priceless treasure.