Fall Tales – Writing Family Stories

writing family stories

By Karen Kendra

If you’re like me, the comprehensive to-do list you compiled at the beginning of the pandemic is only half finished.  At the time, it seemed like a great impetus to do all those things you’ve been putting off, but inertia soon set in, and binge-watching  television shows and shopping online have overtaken those good intentions. Since I have been interested in memoir writing for the last few years, I decided to spend more time at my computer recalling and writing family stories, and my own early memories.  Lots of us talk about doing that since sitting around and sharing family histories was already off the menu, rendered difficult because of busy schedules or geography, and are put off by that most basic roadblock---how to start.

You can do that in a number of ways.  Use a small notebook to jot down a few words about a particular memory or family story.  Very often, the flood gates will open, and before you know it, that will expand into a few stories that bring smiles, and will seed many more.  Another suggestion I found in a book on memoir writing, is to do a primitive sketch of your childhood neighborhood, listing all those people, places, and experiences you remember.  You would be surprised at the flow of memories that  exercise will prompt.

Our kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews know very little about our early lives and judging by my own experience, are thrilled to hear those stories.  Now that we are faced with another long season of isolation, we can indulge in some reverie and maybe compile an interesting holiday gift for them.  Do yourself and them a favor---go for it!