As I have had the opportunity to do more and more Personal History recording, I have really developed a passion for it. Besides my conviction that this work is important, I find that the actual process of recording and editing brings me great personal joy.
I love getting to spend just a little bit of time with people who have lived and who have seen. I am usually smiling from ear to ear, or else open-mouthed in surprise at the fascinating stories every single one of my clients has to tell. From dangerous rodeo acts to starting an experimental lobster farm, climbing telephone poles to finding oneself after divorce, these people have stories to tell. Whether a childhood was spent in the shady cool beneath towering redwoods or inside a busy bicycle repair shop , it is a childhood worth hearing about.
Sometimes I try to take notes or just mentally will myself to remember a tip or a tid-bit for raising my son. " I used to be forever thinking, "How can I take what I'm learning and use it to make a good life for Henry?"
The thing is, I am asking that question less and less ; because all of my clients have had good lives. All of them have had bad ones too. And I marvel to see what that lifetime of that juxtaposition creates in people.
My clients marvel at what this type introspection creates in themselves.
Recording a personal history, whether with me or in some other way, is about so much more than talking about yourself. It's talking to yourself. It's examining the whole of your life and being pleasantly surprised at the truth of it all--that your life has been good, that your life has been bad, and that through it all you have become.
And isn't that what we're here for?