Jul 292015
 
Selective reading of history -- words crossed out

Is there a selective reading of history in your family? How do you deal with it?

As southerners have debated whether the Confederate flag represents hate or heritage, several articles have addressed the idea of a “selective reading of history.” Which is, when you think about it, something families are really good at doing.

A selective reading of history isn’t quite a revision of what happened. It’s an intentional focus on some facts and a brushing-under-the-rug of other events. As storytellers, we play a role in selecting what’s told and what’s kept mum. Admittedly, sometimes the selective reading of history is appropriate. There’s a “truth” of the story that needs to come through loud and clear, unobscured by complicating details and the noise of side stories

However, other times, those of us recounting the family’s history slowly become aware of the crumbs lurking under the carpet. We feel uncomfortable as we sense them crunching under the family footfalls. Continue reading »

Mar 032015
 
Making your stories public

Is making your stories public like acting your life out on stage?

There’s sharing and then there is sharing. One of the more difficult decisions memory collectors and memoirists make is how public we want to make our stories.

Making your stories public can be difficult. Sharing everything is akin to living life out on a public stage and can make sharing your imperfections hard. I remember watching The Jetson’s as a child and thinking how intrusive the video phones were. Jane had her “morning mask” that she used to answer it, but what if the house were dirty?

Even today, before I skype or hangout on Google, I go put on a nicer shirt, brush my hair, and wish plastic surgery were an option. Continue reading »