Your StoryIdeas and inspiration for telling your own story
Stories begin with listening.
People often ask me for suggestions on how to start working on their own story or how to help a loved one tell theirs. The answer to this question is not “one size fits all.” Some are seeking to document family history or the witnessing of an important event, while others want to delve into spiritual memoir or explore self-awareness and personal growth. These are just some of the points in the broad spectrum of storytelling; there are many variations in between.
What’s your story?
No matter what type of story you are seeking to tell, there is one thread common to all: listening. Good stories begin with attentive, deep listening. Whether hearing your own voice and narrative, or that of another person, every story depends first on being heard.
My own interest leans to spiritual memoir so you will find more of those resources here than ones for archiving family history. This page is not intended to be an exhaustive inventory, but rather a starting place. I am adding to it a little bit at a time in hopes that something here might lead you to where you want to go.
Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg
Re-creating a Life: Learning How to Tell Our Most Life-Giving Story by Diane Millis
Tell it Slant: Creating, Refining and Publishing Creative Nonfiction by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola. Don’t be put off by the book’s subtitle if you are not looking to publish your work, but simply want to record it for yourself or family. I find the prompts at the end of each chapter extraordinarily useful and creative in helping us mine the details of our lives.
Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew
WEB & APPS
STORYCORPS is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” Their website has a multitude of stories to listen to for ideas on how you might like to approach your story. They also share tips on how to conduct an interview. You don’t have to share your story publicly on their site to take advantage of their resources. They also have a downloadable app for your mobile device that guides you through the interview process, gives you sample questions, and records the interview for you. https://storycorps.org/participate/
Author Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew maintains a website on Spiritual Memoir which includes a wealth of helpful information, along with writing exercises and links to classes and workshops. https://www.spiritualmemoir.com
StorySpeak is a new website I just created to explore the telling of story across all art disciplines. If you are looking for creative inspiration for a variety of ways to approach story, you’ll find useful ideas and conversation here. https://www.storyspeak.art
your story matters