I recently took on the task of writing a history of my mother's life, an idea that started when my sister and I were pre-planning our mother's funeral - which hopefully won't be for many years - but a good idea to get most of the decisions made in advance. It was when we saw the prices charged by the funeral home for a visitor's book and for memorial books that I suggested I would make a handbound book that we could customize as we wanted.
We would include not just the story of her life, but also some photos, a family tree, and, when the time comes, the obituary and funeral program and a section for visitors to sign. The book I have since made is hardcover with a fabric cover, and bound using Japanese Stab Stitch style.
Writing her history was not as daunting as I first thought it would be, indeed the more I learned about my mother, the closer it made me feel to her. And I think it will be an interesting read for family and friends, to get to know a bit more about her, not just as an aunt or grandmother, but as the woman she is, her interests, her legacy.
I started with a mind dump of facts as I knew them, and then organized the information chronologically. Next I added more facts and dates that I found in photo albums and old scrapbooks, plus some information gleaned from a few family members. To make it read more like a story I rearranged and re-wrote some parts, at times jumping ahead a few years, then picking up again where we had left off.
The edits are almost done, I'm very pleased with how it reads. I do feel I know more about her than I did before starting this project. She has had some interesting stories throughout her life and now those are recorded for future generations. Of course her story is not over yet, and so the final version won't be put into our handmade book for some time yet.
I do want to mention one person who was of tremendous help to me during this project and that is writer Lee Ann Eckhardt Smith who was invited to my book club one evening a few months back. When we learned she gave workshops on writing memoirs and family histories, we were hooked and arranged for her to give a workshop to our group. It was that workshop and her guidance that allowed me polish the story and make it a story that others will want to read. For more information on Lee Ann's workshops, visit her website at http://www.leeanneckhardtsmith.com/
Awakening the heart
Artist - Anne Warburton
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It's taken years to discover the medium I enjoy the most. And how what I have learned before somehow fits into what I am doing now. Even when I travel my needles and threads are with me so I can continue to create while away.