Tuesday, August 28, 2007

After considering the possibility of recording my neighbor's personal history, I began some Internet research to find out how others have done this and quickly discovered that there are now professional "Personal Historians" who do this and make hefty fees doing it. Why am I not surprised? It is the American way.

Of course, it can be done without the professionals getting involved. WebBiographies.com offers free websites for the DIY amateurs, as do many others. Youth groups in conjunction with their public libraries have undertaken similar projects. Public radio has promoted different programs to encourage preserving these stories. Garrison Keillor said, "My mother told me the other day that there's a lot she'd like to know but there's nobody left to ask. The door to the past is closed."

I was also reminded that there are no boring life stories.

“There was never yet an uninteresting life.
Such a thing is an impossibility.
Inside the dullest exterior,
there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.”

- Mark Twain

Two hours later. My pool conversation today included some talk with Pam and Jean of getting Jean to write down her life story. Pam had gone so far as to buy her a journal with all the pertinent questions, but she hasn't written in it, at all. When it became clear that her writing anything down was not going to happen, I proposed my interviewing her with a camcorder, which she also was against. She didn't express as much resistance to an audio recording. We, at least, got her to thinking about it.

No comments: