Taking A Visit To Memory Lane
Many of us regret not knowing more about our parents and grandparents. Photographs are fine while they’re still around to explain who’s who, but will a dusty album mean anything to future generations?
Writing your life story can help your children or grandchildren to learn more about you. You might not have been famous, adventurous or influential but your family and friends will find your story as interesting as any celebrity autobiography. Everyone has a story to tell; no one has had a completely ‘normal’ life.
If you fancy having a go yourself, start by selecting up to 20 key life events. List all the important and not-so-important-but-memorable things that have happened during your life and think about how you can link them to create a narrative.
It’s not always a good idea to start with your earliest childhood memory and move through your story chronologically; it can be more helpful to make a list of turning points in your life, big decisions and significant events. And before you start to write, do plenty of research. You might think you remember everything that has happened over the years, but look back through old diaries and photographs, listen to music, or visit an old address or school to trigger memories. Asking yourself some key questions, such as who the significant people in your life have been, can also help.
But penning and publishing a book can be daunting; while everyone has a story to tell, many of us need help telling it.
A life story writing service makes the process much easier. During a series of personal visits, an interviewer will chat about your life before shaping them into a narrative. Your words are edited, written and proof read – and you get to check and approve the story as you go through the process.
Memory Lane Books is one such Sussex-based life story-writing service. We build up a personal relationship with clients to gather stories and recollections, which are written and approved before finally being printed in a colour, hardback book. We can also help complete an unfinished project, or design and print a book that you’ve already written.
Grace Parker had been telling her two grandchildren about travelling to New Zealand as one of the Ten Pound Poms when she realised her story might soon be forgotten. Grace started the project, but found it daunting – arthritis in her hands didn’t help either – so she turned to Memory Lane Books. She says: “My family have now got a permanent record of my life and I hope the book will become a family heirloom.”
So go on, dig out those boxes of photos and diaries kept in dark and lonely places and start bringing your story to life.