I’ve written before about how few of us know when our time on earth will end. That uncertainty alone is reason enough for us to take immediate steps to preserve our personal legacies for future generations.
But I often draw a chuckle or two from my students when I offer another reason for getting their stories down in black and white as soon as possible: If you’re the first person in your family to document an event, your version then becomes the story of record for future generations.
Think about that for a moment. I’ll bet you have different versions of some story floating around in your own family. You would expect that, given that no two people witness an event in precisely the same way. But the variations sometimes are remarkably different.
I’m a strong advocate for accuracy so I suggest that you check out a story as well as you can before passing it on. Be prepared for challenges to your own memory. Stories become more entrenched in our memories with each telling. That doesn’t make them more accurate. Once you’re satisfied, put it in writing. Seeing a story in print usually makes it more credible in the eyes of a reader.
Wouldn’t you prefer that story to be your version?
Writing tip of the day: Identify the stories in your family that vary according to the storyteller and determine the “real story.”
Flickr photo courtesy of 'Playingwithbrushes'.