Get in touch with ourselves | Lifestyles


A writer friend of mine, Shawn Smucker, said recently at the start of one of his email newsletters: Stay out of range. But telling our stories allows us to better understand who we are.

Smucker mostly writes fiction with a bit of whimsy, but has also written many books telling the true stories of others, helping them preserve their stories. I have read at least four of his books: “Light from Distant Stars”, “These Nameless Things”, “The Day the Angels Fell” and “Break Away Amish”, a true story he wrote with Johnny Mast.

But now I’m reflecting on Smucker’s idea that “telling our stories connects us with who we are.” Did you find that to be true? Or is it too frustrating to write?

I’m not a great conversationalist – sometimes it is difficult for me to verbally express my thoughts in words and sentences, especially if I speak on the fly. As I get older, the word I’m looking for so often hides in my brain. I’m on the introverted side too, and although in this column I often write rather personal stuff, it works for me because my brain has time to process and rewrite. With the help of my trusty computer, I edit and rewrite until I am successful. Or at least, fair enough.

Over the past few months, as my sisters and I have met some of the people who care for my mother in nursing, I have learned that I am not very good at verbally sharing what we have heard or talked with. someone else, like my husband.

Another example, if I go to the doctor and come home and try to tell my husband what the doctor said, it’s kind of blurry in my head – unless I’m taking notes. . I often take notes if I go with my husband to his doctor, and it helps both of us. But in general, he’s more of a conversationalist, not a writer or note-taker.

A few years ago, a sister of mine gave our mother a journal with writing instructions. Things like “what was your first job” or “how do you remember your grandfather” and the like. Mom wrote a lot there that I can’t wait to read, but she said she didn’t want us to read these things until she was gone. So we basically honored that, but with glimpses every now and then. I’m so glad my sister discovered this kind of mom diary.

For 34 years now, I have been writing a weekly column. It’s kind of a journal. Recently I was happy to go to my 50th class reunion, a year late (yes, do the math, you know how old I am). I was especially happy to hear from different classmates that they like to read my columns. In Indiana, it is published in their local newspaper, The Goshen News. A few decent people have said, “I don’t always read it,” but they pretend to like it when they do. (Thanks, Gene, Galen, Jane and Jane!)

But my point here is to encourage writing or telling our stories to a loved one (maybe a grandchild or the child of a friend who needs to write / practice English) . There are many journals to choose from. A writer friend, Trisha Faye, published one titled “My Family Heirloom Journal”. This particular journal helps you keep notes of things that have been in the family and passed on to other family members – a good way to organize all those pieces of paper that your mom, dad, or grandchildren – parents may have noted and placed in old teapots or teapots. cups. Even a gratitude journal will keep your thoughts and feelings in one place over the months and years.

I would like to know what that inspires you to do, or what you have done to keep family and personal memories.

Send your comments to [email protected] or Another Way Media, PO Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

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