A few months ago when our speaker cried off at the last minute I was persuaded to give a talk about the articles I write. It went down quite well given the little time I had for preparation and at the end I mentioned that everybody had at least one story to tell… their own.
Several people commented afterwards that they were always being pestered by family to write down their stories or they had themselves considered writing them down “when I have time”. Recently the topic came up again and I asked how many had made a start. I wasn’t greeted by a show of hands. I offered to give a few pointers and it ended up with a group coming together for a chat. The rule was no actual writing, although notes of stories they were reminded of were permitted, and I offered one or two ideas to start people off.
I found a great quote to start off the session. There is never a right time to do something so do it now. The first thing I did was produce a box of prompts – items I had collected from a different era that might spark memories and indeed they did. A school beret had us going down the route of school uniform, the school day, getting to school, subjects people enjoyed or hated, and so on. After about half an hour, and lubricated by a cuppa, we switched to words or phrases that might inspire discussion. Lost was a particularly productive one with most of those present having been lost at some time. I found it interesting that no one talked about the loss of a person, pet or object, let alone a lost opportunity.
To end up I suggested a couple of ways stories could be recorded without a lot of writing which seemed to be the most common factor holding people back. We talked about photographs and not just listing the names of those in photographs but also the date, place and occasion that made it memorable. Q & A sessions with family members using a recorder was another possibility considered.
The time passed quickly and the group want to continue with more sessions which was not my original intention so now wracking my brains for new approaches and ideas. There must be others who have run such sessions …