There are so many ways to tell our life stories. From straight-forward narratives to poetry to metaphorical fiction, and from print to audio recordings to video to artistic renderings. The options for capturing our life stories are endless.
Each one of our grown sons is a storyteller of sorts. One writes short stories, another is a film student, and two of them write and perform music. Truths from their lives cannot help but filter into their stories, film and music.
Considering the WHY and HOW of storytelling opens a treasure trove of creative possibilities.
You do not need a profound reason for capturing your stories. The greatest “why” behind telling your stories is because your life is a story. If any part of it is to have significance, your story should be told. As you capture specific stories from your life, consider doing so a spiritual responsibility. “Telling your stories is the central part of a spiritual legacy,” says Daniel Taylor in his book Creating a Spiritual Legacy. He calls it “the fulfillment of a responsibility – the responsibility to pass on wisdom. It doesn’t matter whether you feel you have wisdom – your stories do.”
I shared my memories of our mother leaving the family when I was a young child in the essay “Forgiveness: Why I’ve Been Confused by Mother’s Day”. It became an act of self-discovery as God dealt with me regarding my adult relationship with my birth mother. I held that story for a long time before it was shared, and I learned much in the telling.
In his book Dancing with Words, author Ray Buckley says this:
“…there is both physical and psychological healing associated with the telling of our personal stories….we seem to be able to offer and identify the positives in our stories and confront the conflicts. In the same sense, others who hear our stories and relate to our experiences cease to be others and are pulled into community with us. It is through the act of sharing our stories that all are made aware that ‘I am not alone.’ “
How you present your stories is up to you. I’ve mentioned the collection of my father’s stories which I had printed at a local print shop. The resulting product looks quite professional and has been shared throughout his home community and with relatives as far away as Canada. The term “self-published” has been used to describe this avenue of book printing. More recently, the industry term is “independent publishing”. Either way, you are in charge of what’s in it and how it reads. Of course, you pay the full cost of printing and, unless you sell the books, may never recoup that cost.
Are you willing to share stories with the general public on a blog? On websites or in online literary journals? Over the years, my own stories have shown up in all these places. I currently tell many stories from my life on this blog.
Blogs have been around since the early 1980s. The term “blog” originated with the word “weblog” or “web log” — an online diary, where people kept a running account of the events in their personal lives. Such writers called themselves diarists, journalists, or journalers.
I write my blog on a site called WordPress. Setting up a blog can be as complicated or as simple as you choose to make it. WordPress offers great tutorials for setting up a blog, including a 33 minute step-by-step video that walks you through the process. With a little time and patience, yours could become one of an estimated 2 million blog posts published on the Internet each day.There are many ways to capture the melody of our life stories. Music is one of them. Click To Tweet
There are many ways to capture the melody of our life stories. Music is one of them. My favorite songwriters have offered many of their own life stories in song over the years. My list of favorites says a lot about my age and personal tastes, but I’ve decided to share it anyway:
- Harry Chapin
- Jim Croce
- John Denver
- James Taylor
- Mary Chapin Carpenter
- Rich Mullins
- Michael Card
- Andrew Peterson
I’m leaving you with a video of Andrew Peterson’s song “Rest Easy” from his album Light for the Lost Boy. The video was created by Nathan Willis and William Aughtry, winners of the “Rest Easy” music video contest. Words and film combine to capture this moving life story.