visit me there!!!!!
Unless we pause to ask, “Why that story,” or “Why that story told that way,” we may find ourselves trying to live the story we’ve always heard. In my family we tell great love stories. Listen long enough and you might spend your whole life waiting to be swept off your feet.
Stories get better with time. Families exaggerate because they want the stories to be remembered. Pay attention. The whoppers contain clues as to what the family thinks is important. George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree; never said “I cannot tell a lie.” So why, as an American family, do we keep telling that story? When we stop telling it, what has changed?
Stories have voices. If all our stories are about hardship, we may not be able to hear good news. If our stories are about old hurts, we feel a duty to right old wrongs. Old hatreds are passed along the same way.
Stories are slogans. “In our family we ___________” is a sentence most of us can complete. Question is, who decides how to fill in that blank?
If you come from a family of war heroes, does it become unthinkable to not put on a uniform? If you come from a family that goes to college, is becoming a plumber an option or a failure?
Giving a new twist to an old story can make a huge difference. Have you examined your family stories lately?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Yes, I know people who bemoan the fact that no one writes letters any more. Those same people aren’t blog savvy. If they were, they’d know that bloggers are the letter writers of the 21st Century. I read blogs on everything from a-poem-day to the history of Yellowstone Park. I see photos of food in restaurants and police brutality in Oakland. I am informed about everyday things and history-in-the-making.
Christmas letters are something else. So far this season, I’ve gotten the good, the bad, and the ugly. Since I love family stories, why can’t I get excited about family letters? I’m thinking it’s because they lack the spontaneity and freshness of blogs.
Christmas comes once a year, and we try to roll everything into a summary. The result is often a catalog of what Tim, Tammy and George did. They competed, they won, they advanced a grade or got a scholarship. Yeah! However, as a lover of stories, I would rather know the ups and downs that went with that achievement and how they handled defeat–assuming they didn’t win everything. Defeat reveals more about character than success.
Our dogsitter just arrived to pick up the keys. She’ll be in charge while we visit the granddaughters. “Just wanted you to know, my father died two days ago. We’re doing the memorial in a couple of weeks, so I’m still good for taking care of things, but I thought you should know.”
Yes, I should know, so keep sending those Christmas letters. I need to know what everyone did last year. Otherwise we will drift too far apart. At the same time, raise a glass to blogs and bloggers everywhere. Bloggers keep us informed, entertained and aware of our shared humanity all year long. How good is that?
To borrow a phrase, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night” Or Solstice, Kwanza, Hanukkah and/or any other celebration that marks the season. The “merry” is the part we need to know!
Families know how to push our buttons. Families have issues. If you haven’t seen the new George Clooney movie, be prepared. It’s not a feel-good. It’s a reality check.
Speaking of reality checks, families are also good for that, too. They keep us grounded. Praise the Lord. Pass the gravy. We all need to stay grounded. The uncle/brother/ mother/cousin who drives you crazy may be doing you a favor, you know, keeping your ego in check.
If it’s politics that drives you crazy, listen. It pays to understand how the other side thinks. If you’re bored, ask yourself why. Are you so busy you can’t change pace for a half-a-day? If it’s an old issue that keeps coming up, remind yourself that it’s OLD. If you don’t want to deal with it, tell yourself you’re not dealing and shrug.
Here’s the key, according to me. No matter what happens, ask yourself what’s funny about the situation. How would this make an interesting story? Humor trumps anger. Even if you’re only amused on the inside, keeping your feelings to yourself, you’ll win. You’ll leave the family gathering in better spirits and maybe wiser for taking a step back and putting life in perspective.
That’s my Thanksgiving morning pep talk. I needed it. Have a good one with lots of food and amusement/amazement at the FUN in every family’s dysFUNction.
I did the hard way. Set up a photo stand and copied the old family photos via film using my old Nikon 100. THEN I scanned them, one by one, one by one. If you’ve ever tried to tackle the task of copying old family photos, you know why most don’t. It’s too hard, too iffy, and too time consuming. You could grow old yourself in the process.
So where are your old photos? Does this look familiar?
Enter ShoeBox–the same I-Phone app that let you scan receipts and business cards now lets you scan your old photos. You can even straighten, rotate, caption and tag the image. You might have to watch for glare, but that minor compared to the mind-numbing previous possibilities.
You can upload them directly to Facebook which is rumored to be creating a scrapbook function, soon to be available for those who want to document their life pre-Facebook.
OR, if that’s not to your liking, the photos can be stored in your I-Phone and/or uploaded to your computer. It’s nothing short of getting the old family photos out of the shoebox and into your busy life. I’m excited.