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.

My Mother and My Middle Finger

Posted by on 4:52 pm in Family history, Family Stories, Life Story, Storytelling, Why Stories? | 2 comments

My Mother and My Middle Finger

I gave my middle finger to a particularly deserving driver and my mother (sitting in the passenger seat) about had a heart attack. Her generation valued “being a lady.” Mine decided “ladies” don’t get noticed/make history/climb the corporate ladder/etc. etc. . . . you get the idea. As a child, I was not supposed to be dramatic. Drama was for others with fewer manners. That was usually phrased as “a less refined upbringing.” I was to never create a scene. There were better ways to handle...

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Family Stories are #1 Legacy (not money) According to Poll

Posted by on 6:42 pm in Family history, Family Stories, History, Memories, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Family Stories are #1 Legacy (not money) According to Poll

According to a recent US News report, 86% of the Boomer Generation believes family stories are “very important” and make a more important legacy than money. (see Family Stories, Not Money, Is Best Legacy dated May 21, 2012). The article by Phil Moeller (@PhilMoeller) notes that when people think about their estates and inheritances, they tell pollsters that passing along personal and family values trumps possessions. Generations younger than boomers generally agree. The findings are part of the 2012 Allianz Life American Legacies...

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A Story and/or A Flower in A Teapot

Posted by on 4:14 pm in Fantasy, Funny story, Story Motif, Why Stories? | 0 comments

A Story and/or A Flower in A Teapot

This photo makes me smile. I found it in a collection of internet photos. No credit. No explanation. But TEAPOTS filled with flowers decorating a handrail made me stop flipping through the photos and wonder. Who planted these? Who thought to do that with teapots? Now, that’s a person I’d like to know. Talk about making the world a little better. Talk about making a little part of your environment greener. Better than better, flower filled teapots on a handrail make the world more whimsical. Don’t you feel like making up a...

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Fairy Godmothers, Disney Princesses, and a Big Question

Posted by on 7:43 pm in fairytale, Family Stories, Storytelling, Why Stories? | 2 comments

Fairy Godmothers, Disney Princesses, and a Big Question

I’ve just finished a book I’m calling PAY ATTENTION TO THE FAIRY GODMOTHER. Title comes from a twist my grandmother gave the ending of the  Cinderella story. At the end of that classic tale, she would sit back and say, “The prince is nice. Nothing better than a fine, handsome prince. But YOU pay attention to the fairy godmother; she’s the one who got things done.” Here’s the thing. She was my fairy godmother. She made me feel like I was somebody, a princess, capable of anything. I remember the day I bought...

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Mothers, Stories, and the Gift Economy

Posted by on 9:08 am in Family Stories, Storytelling, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Mothers, Stories, and the Gift Economy

Opened my email this morning and found several suggestions for remembering Mother’s Day–flowers (of course), a BOSE Radio, AirRibs, Godiva chocolates, a Mother’s Wisdom deck of cards (not sure what that is exactly), an Audiobook, and some kind of solar powered dancing flower knickknack. Not going there. With the recession, supporting the consumer economy is not a bad idea. However, I don’t think we talk enough about the gift economy–the things that increase only when we give them away. Love is the obvious example....

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Wolverines: Why Grownups Need Bedtime Stories

Posted by on 9:57 pm in Animal Stories, Old Storytelling Traditions, Storytelling, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Wolverines: Why Grownups Need Bedtime Stories

I hiked Glacier National Park last fall, tagging along with Douglas Chadwick, the famed wildlife biologist (see The Wolverine Way). We climbed up and down and all around checking wildflowers and bear sign–great experience That evening, after we’d kicked back in the Granite Chalet, he shared wolverine stories. Chadwick spent seven years studying mountain goats–not an easy gig. Goats go places humans find impossible. But mountain goats, he’d have me believe, were nothing compared to wolverines. It’s literally...

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Meta-narrative, no explanation necessary

Posted by on 12:18 pm in Old Storytelling Traditions, Story Motif, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Meta-narrative, no explanation necessary

Saw a bumper sticker at a stoplight today. It said WWJD? I’m not up on my texting terms. Took me a minute–What Would Jesus Do?  Our computer-savy dogs are also engaged in a story that can be expressed in a single line–My Dog Ate My Homework. No further explanation needed. Narrative is a coherent system of stories, like Biblical stories or Greek myths. Meta-narrative is an understanding so deeply embedded in the culture that you don’t have to repeat the reference. What would Jesus do? printed on a bumper sticker is...

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Wired for Story

Posted by on 8:47 am in History, Old Storytelling Traditions, Why Stories? | 0 comments

Wired for Story

Recent research indicates humans are wired for story. Keith Oatley, an expert in cognitive psychology and a novelist, thinks stories are like flight simulators. They prepare us for life’s ups and downs the way a simulator prepares a pilot for unseen turbulence. Steven Pinker, an evolutionary psychologist, similarly thinks that telling stories allowed us to see ahead and anticipate new situations. Those who were receptive to stories therefore had an evolutionary edge. Anthropologists note that storytelling is almost universal. Children...

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How Will Video Change The Way We Remember?

Posted by on 7:30 pm in Family Stories, Video Story, Why Stories? | 0 comments

How Will Video Change The Way We Remember?

Recently a friend pulled photos of her grandchildren from her purse to share. Hadn’t seen that in awhile. My photos are on my I-phone AND I have video. Video is everywhere. I’m not sure what that means in terms of family history but it seems significant. Long ago, only wealthy families could afford pictures of themselves. You had to hire a painter, dress-up, do a long sitting. The finished painting, one-of-a-kind, hung in the manor hall. Portraits in those days were of the Lord or Lady–not the children, certainly not the...

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Party Like It’s 2012

Posted by on 10:01 pm in Family history, History, Why Stories? | 2 comments

Party Like It’s 2012

Lots of talk lately about the end of the world. My son’s part of a reading group that’s emphasizing post-apocalypse books–reading one a month this year. My sister recently gave me all three volumes of THE HUNGER GAMES. I assume the current end-of-world mood is related to the Mayan Calendar that ends December 21, 2012, likely because the creators couldn’t imagine a date farther into the future–BUT here we are! Of course, the world as the Mayans knew it ended 500+ years ago with the coming of the...

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