Writing Your Living Legacy (TM)
Autobiographies of us “ordinary” people are rarely written. Do you think they’re only for famous folks or the fleeting, extra-ordinary events that pop up in life? Think again.
I wouldn't have thought about writing my own Living Legacy if I hadn't created the Blast from Your Past book series about pioneering Rock & Roll Radio DJs (1954-1979). Sometime during the process I realized that in writing their legacies, I'm also leaving my own ... as I interject personal memories about the era and listening to radio DJs in my youth, it struck me that everyone's history is important, so ...
I’m talking about “Writing YOUR Living Legacy”™ …
With the share-ability of the Internet, we are no longer stifled with just one book that truncates our lives at “The End.” In a Living Legacy, long after you have written your last word, future generations can laugh with you, cry with you, exclaim at your antics … and add their own through cloud a document you created, or personal website - or even consider a published book!
As a Boomer if you’ve written a book and it isn’t about your early life or anecdotes of your parents’ or grandparents’ lives, think with me for a minute … what will your family remember of you? Will your descendants three generations from now even know who you were? Do the books you’ve written tell them anything about you?
And if you have written your own story, perhaps we can discuss a couple of thoughts you have not yet considered. Leaving a Living Legacy goes beyond you and the focus of your autobiography; it captures as many memories and family stories as possible, in one central location.
For those who think they have no desire to write a book … well … this is for you, too. I’m hoping to instill a reason to at least make notes. Not simply journal notes – those are subtly different – although they can be helpful for an overall project.
Begin with your typical memoir stuff – where you grew up, went to school, got your first job. Just to get the juices flowing. In addition to stating simple facts, add a colorful memory. OK, I’ll go first.
A cousin recently shared one of his poignant memories of my mother. It was completely out of the blue, and
I entered my cousin’s memory into my outline of general events surrounding the year or so in question, and my thoughts about that time.
Now, it’s part of a Living Legacy …
Have you ever told a funny story to one of your kids or grandkids from when you were their age, about your mom and dad? How about a terrific summer trip to the beach or the zoo that was particularly memorable? Or did you relay a poignant tale of how you and your spouse met?
Probably … we all tell the tales at family gatherings, and laugh or cry or shake our heads in mock disbelief … and go on about our lives. It’s time. You need to take a few moments as often as possible, as soon as possible, and jot down the stories that breathe life into the names on your family tree, before they’re lost forever.
Although I’m speaking primarily to the illustrious group of those who are 50+, it is never too early or too late to contribute to your family’s archives.
Most of us can recall anecdotes from our own youth, perhaps some your parents told you about where they lived, how many times they moved, or why. And it could be a few tales trickled down from your grandparents.
Beyond that …
Studying our lineage is growing in popularity and genealogy sites are numerous. But few families have taken the time to interview their elders and record their thoughts, feelings, and wistful memories, for future generations. Until you do, your family tree is simply a two-dimensional spread of spindly limbs.
Memories make your life real. But what happens to those memories when you’re no longer able to share them? Don’t let them disappear. Start now. Help your family create a Living Legacy. Urge your extended family to share with you.
How, you ask?
After compiling some intriguing stories, you might be surprised to find there is enough material, or rather enough compelling material, to create a book for sale to the public, or simply to share with your family. What fun!
And if you have already begun a family archive of personal memories, why not expand your writing skills and bring together tales about others in your life who inspired or intrigued you?
That’s what I’m doing with the Blast from Your Past™ series. I’m sharing true behind-the-microphone tales of pioneering Rock & Roll Radio DJs, and jazzing their individual stories (legacies) with trivia, historical facts, and fun, personal observations of the era. It’s my way of giving back and preserving the pleasure these energetic keepers of Rock & Roll gave us all, “back in the day.”
Who inspired you? What is there about a decade or two in your life that is fascinating and worth preserving? Who were the people behind it? Are there unsung heroes?
C’mon! Let your colorful memories roll and rock that family tree of black-and-white names, ‘til they’re “read” all over!
LinDee Rochelle is available to speak to your group, organization or school, about how to begin and maintain Your Living Legacy, for sentiment, for sale, or for others. To schedule Skype sessions, in-person (SoCal/USA or with travel arrangements), or via webinar, contact for details.