I have finished the first draft of a book about how to record your family history and family stories. The proofreader is about to do their stuff. Some people have warned me about “selling the farm” in terms of writing a book about what I do, but the way I have got it figured, I couldn’t possibly record all the worthwhile stories out there in ten lifetimes so it is a better idea to show people how to do it themselves.
I have almost settled on a title. I can’t believe how difficult that has been. Every few days another better title pops into my brain and rattles around for a while. If you or someone you know would like to receive an E version of the book before it is published, for free, let me know. Simply send me an email I would be happy to send it to them. firstname.lastname@example.org
The proof should be back in a fortnight so I will email it out to anyone interested. I have really enjoyed writing it and it has forced me to go right back to the start and truly think through the entire process which has been great fun. While it is clearly not as simple as pointing an iPhone at someone, it can almost be as simple as that. The book shares interview skills, tips on interviewing particular types of people, question lists, equipment for recording, how to get started, even some parenting tips in there.
For anyone interested in how best to gather their family stories before it is too late to do it, this book will help you for sure. With Mothers Day just past, a Life Log would be a perfect present for a new mum.
In almost a decade in radio I had the pleasure of interviewing hundreds of interesting people. Sometimes it was challenging finding the newsworthy angle to the interview but it was never difficult to find the interesting bit. From time to time I got myself into hot water for pursuing the interesting bit at the cost of news but that was always fine with me. In fact it was that part that made it evident to me that I didn’t have what it took to be a journo.
In the decade that followed I interviewed dozens of interesting people, in my spare time, recording the talks, never really knowing why, maybe it would be a book, maybe it would be a podcast, but the stories were always amazing. In hindsight maybe it was partly me trying to discover where I fit into this mad,mad world. Whether my fears and struggles were legitimate when laid side by side with those of my peers and my superiors.
I interviewed survivors of World Wars, of family splits, of wrenching divorces and people who have spent their lives comfortably living lies while others spent their lives defending themselves because they told the truth. I have interviewed twins that were very similar and twins that looked identical and couldn’t possibly be more different. I have interviewed couples that almost got divorced mid interview and people who have cried in shame as they divulged a long-held secret.
As luck would have it, I now do this for a living. I have turned this wonderful craft into a business. The Life Log Project records stories for people who want or need to share them with others. I have recorded parents setting the record straight for their children, siblings explaining things, ageing patriarchs trying to explain the past and matriarchs recounting family tales and history.
The Life Log Project is the conduit through which generations are able to communicate and engage. The recordings are given to the family and them alone. They can share them with whom they wish. None of us really knows what’s around the corner, and though we would probably all like to think we will live to old age, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Many families also struggle with the gift for an older family member. Being told “your story is valuable to us, we would like to record it for our history” is pretty special, and a great gift for the entire family.
Footnote: You can find out more at the website http://www.thelifelogproject.com.au