Blog

This blog is focuses on family stories, collecting family stories and the wisdom that comes from paying attention to our family stories.

It includes raw material for my memoir.

Mostly it is additional musings.

Wine, Laughter, and Good Stories

Posted by on 6:01 pm in Event, Family Stories, Life Story, Memories, stories, Why Stories? | 3 comments

Wine, Laughter, and Good Stories

I’m on my way out tonight. Dinner with friends. I know how this will go. We will drink a little, eat a lot, and tell stories. At least once during the evening someone will say, “Did I tell you about ____?” I hope we say, “No, not yet,” because the stories that you have to ask if you’ve already told are the ones worth repeating. Dinner with friends equals wine, laughter and good stories. Stories are how we share our lives and friends are the people we share our lives with. We share our lives by telling about...

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Make Them Laugh; Otherwise They’ll Kill You

Posted by on 3:06 pm in Event, History, Why Stories? | 1 comment

Make Them Laugh; Otherwise They’ll Kill You

Watched the political conventions. Reminded me of  Oscar Wilde who famously said: “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” There was no lack of passion from the Republicans and/or the Democrats. Speaker after speaker argued that their point of view was the one all Americans (if they’re really Americans) ought to embrace. All that passion aside, a week later, the only thing I remember are the stories. The mother whose baby needed another heart operation but who’d hit...

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Origin of All Fairy Tales

Posted by on 8:02 pm in Animal Stories, fairytale, Fantasy, Funny story, Old Storytelling Traditions, Story Motif, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Origin of All Fairy Tales

Learned today that some scholars think the Panchatantra is the origin of all fairy tales. That’s probably not entirely true, but it is one of the oldest sources. It was written in Sanskrit in the 3rd Century BCE by Vishna Sharma who gathered his material from even older versions. Tales from the Panchatantra have spread widely. Today they can be found from Java to Iceland. The enduring/endearing power of folk tales is the subject of a chapter in my forthcoming book. When you look for family stories, you almost always find stories of the...

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Why “Lady” is Not a Nice Word

Posted by on 4:54 pm in Family history, History, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Why “Lady” is Not a Nice Word

An older friend, retired now, signed-up to volunteer for a charity that required a half-day of sensitivity training. Next day, he took me aside. ”What’s wrong with the word ‘lady?’ My mother would have slapped me up-side my head if I didn’t show a woman proper respect.” I tried to explain that to be a lady a woman is expected to conduct her life in a ladylike manner, following rules she didn’t necessarily make. There was a judgment implied. Who’s to say which women were ladies and which...

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Same Story Except for Mad Men and White Supremacists

Posted by on 3:19 pm in Family history, Family Stories, History, Memories, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Same Story Except for Mad Men and White Supremacists

At dinner with friends, my husband mentioned Mad Men.  He’s been catching up on that old television series. Our friend shook his head. He couldn’t watch that series. There was nothing about the fifties and early sixties that he wanted to relive. The conversation moved on. Maybe it’s a sign of having really moved on because I was home getting dressed for bed before I realized what he meant. He was a black man starting his career in the 1960s.   I was at a writers retreat in Washington State. Each writer had her own...

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Travel Is Story:Recounting the Adventure

Posted by on 2:26 pm in Family history, Family Stories, History, Personal Narrative, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Travel Is Story:Recounting the Adventure

Took a class in the ART OF TRAVEL at University of Colorado recently. Not how to travel. The philosophy of travel–why we go; what we report, etc. etc. We talked about explorations, pilgrimages and tourism. In every case, unless someone recorded the adventure, it was lost to history. For example, we learned Lief Ericsson wasn’t the first Viking to arrive in America. According to the Vinland Sagas, he found evidence of earlier Viking settlements, maybe as far south as Hudson River Valley, but no one wrote of those adventures. Basho,...

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Racing Through Life and Disney–Give that Man a Paddle!

Posted by on 2:01 pm in Family history, Family Stories, Life Story, Personal Narrative, Video Story, Why Stories? | 2 comments

Racing Through Life and Disney–Give that Man a Paddle!

Our son announced that he wanted to be an animator when he was five years old, sitting on the couch, watching Saturday morning cartoons. “Fine,” we said, thinking he’d outgrow it. When he was sixteen, still watching Saturday morning cartoons, and still saying he wanted to be an animator, we started to wonder—where do you send your kid to college if he wants to make cartoons?  The answer is California Institute of the Arts, and he was lucky. He caught the leading edge of computer generated animation. Now working at...

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Wings, Not Angels–Telling Family Religious Stories

Posted by on 11:05 am in Family history, Family Stories, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Wings, Not Angels–Telling Family Religious Stories

“So what?” “What’s the point?” “And the moral of the story is . . .?” Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think a story needs to prove a point or why bother. These are usually the same ones who think everything has to be useful, or it’s useless. If you happen to come from a family with a strong religious background, you likely have two problems. 1. That engrained idea that stories have to have morals. 2. A family history so entwined with your religious tradition that there’s no way to...

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9/11 My Story–Everyone’s Story

Posted by on 2:58 pm in Event, Family history, Family Stories, History, Why Stories? | 0 comments

9/11 My Story–Everyone’s Story

We all have a 9/11 story. We know where we were when the terrorists flew into the Twin Towers and forever changed life in America. I was dressing to go exercise with a friend. I happened to have the television on in the bedroom. I hardly left that bedroom for the rest of the day, glued to that television. My husband had flown to Boston the day before–rented a car–was engaged in business. He assumed by Friday when he was scheduled to fly home, the airlines would be flying again. He ended up driving his rental car from Boston to...

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Laughter, Wisdom and Story–Same Thing?

Posted by on 6:56 pm in Family Stories, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Laughter, Wisdom and Story–Same Thing?

Stories give us wisdom which is better than knowledge and more useful than information. In fact, I’ve come to believe that story is the way we capture wisdom and hold onto it. With that in mind, let me share a few thoughts . . . Truth gives us no comfort in time of trouble and no sense of direction. For that, you need good stories about how others handled hard times. Good stories bend the details but always tell the truth. That’s because they’re about larger things. Small people insist on the truth. Those who intend to live...

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