We All Have Our Stories

We All Have Our Stories

Sunset Lake Eyre July 2010

We all have our stories. But so often our stories are not heard. And if not written down, at least in Western culture, they are often forgotten.

I was reminded of this during an early morning visit to the local pool. (I’ve been swimming at the same pool for nine years.) Today, instead of laps I was walking up and down in the aqua play area, and so was a retired fellow called Harry. We always say hello to each other, but this morning, since we were walking at the same pace, we started chatting. And before I knew it, I was listening to an amazing story.

In ten minutes I learnt that Harry was from Greece and had migrated to Australia as a 24 or 25 year old. Married to a woman from his own village, and determined to support his family and have a life, once in Australia, Harry worked in the textile industry — 7 days a week! And he worked hard.

Truth be known, Harry had always worked hard. His parents died when he was seven years old, and his 16-year-old sister — who had one leg amputated — had brought up Harry and his younger brother. By nine years of age, Harry was accustomed to walking 35 kilometres to the nearest town to sell goods, and then 35 kilometres back home. All in the one day! And I can just imagine the condition of his shoes.

By nine years of age, Harry had become the man of the house.

Now a grandfather, when I suggested that Harry write his story, so his kids and grandkids could understand the sheer guts and determination that is part of their family roots, and their DNA, he confided that he’d learnt to read, but not to write.

And that got me thinking. What would be the best way for someone who is not able to write in their second language to record their story? It’s an important question because Harry is one of the many many people whose story is so worthy of being on the public record — not just for the public, but for his own family, and for generations to come.

Creative Writing: How to Start

Creative Writing: How to Start

Creative Writing: How to Start — How to Take that First Step
So you want to write your story. Wondering where to begin?
Here’s three questions to get you going. Take time to consider them.

1) If you were to choose six parts of your life to write about — they could be events, experiences, life stages, transitions or times when you’ve learnt something significant – what would those six things be?

2) Why do you now feel the urge to write? Is it because you promised yourself you would before you turned 30,50,60 or 75? Is it because you want to hand stories down to family members? Or to reflect on your journey so far? Is it to tell the story of others through your eyes? Or perhaps just to let your creative self flourish, and see what emerges?

3) Who would you like the audience for your writing to be? Are you writing it for anyone in particular? Or just for yourself? Would you like it published?

Once you’ve answered the questions, write down the six things you want to write about. And then write about them! It’s okay if you only write a paragraph on each. Or you could write pages and pages.

Then, once you’ve got that writing done, take a good look at it. Then put it down, leave it for a bit. And look again. What are the threads that are common to each of the six pieces? What might hold them together? What would you like to replace or add?

This might give you an idea of what you really want to write.
And at least it’s given you a starting point.
The rest of your writing could easily develop from this.

Rather than pressuring yourself to write a book, you might consider writing an overview piece that links the pieces you’ve written. Or perhaps you’d prefer to write on one of the pieces that just seems to grab you.

You never quite know what’s going to happen once you start on your own personal writing adventure… So, be brave, be creative, and allow the story to emerge.

Go for it!

Michele

ps. for all those who say they can’t write, then speak it, record it, and get hold of some apps or technology that types it up for you! (See, there’s no excuse not to write.)
pps. You won’t believe how good for your health writing can be!

*

Text and Image copyright Michele Gierck

Michele Gierck is author of 700 Days in El Salvador, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me, and co-author of Peter Kennedy: the man who threatened Rome.

Michele’s website: www.michelegierck.com.au

Michele is a member of The Australian Society of Authors.

Writing Your Own Life Story Can Be Like Scaling A Mountain

Writing your own story can be like scaling a mountain. It takes a lot of effort. Lots and lots. Along the way there will be times when you chug along; times when you sweat it out; and moments when the peak seems to far off in the distance giving up seems more than reasonable.

Thinking about the following questions before you depart, might be one way to ensure you make it to the mountain top. (Or help you figure out, before expending much energy, that it’s not for you.)

If you’re thinking of embarking on that journey — of autobiography, biography or memoir — here’s some questions that might get you going.
1) Do you really want to do this?
2) Why do you really want to do this?
3) Who is your audience; who are you writing for?
4) Which voice do you want this written in?
5) Am I happy to do this even if it’s not a best seller? Or published by a major publishing house? Or I have to self-publish?

ps It’s quite normal to change your answers as you venture along the writing track.

A Fabulous Read – When Breath Becomes Air

A Fabulous Read – When Breath Becomes Air

This is such a stunning book: so insightful about the meaning and purpose of our lives, so beautifully written, and incredibly honest. Basically it’s bloody fabulous (as we would say in Australian parlance). And so sad when the 37-year-old author, a neurosurgeon and scientist, dies. It’s an absolute must-read, especially for anyone facing their own mortality, (that’s all of us isn’t it?) and for those who surround and love them.
An inspiring story that will live on long after the last page is read.

Long live the memory of Paul Kalanithi. Que Viva!

After my latest book, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me, was published, I was often asked to speak about end of life. Fraying was written from the perspective of a daughter, with no medical qualifications; a daughter struggling with the medical maze and the decisions to be made. When Breath Becomes Air is from a medical professional’s perspective, one who becomes the patient. The questions Paul and his wife, Lucy Kalanithi, must face, and dare to ask, are confronting. But they are also, in essence, questions about what it means to be human, and at what point living becomes too much of a burden.

This book is a precious gift to readers.

Michele’s website: www.michelegierck.com.au


Fabulous Reader Feedback

SigningFraying

It’s great getting reader responses to Fraying. So many people whose parents have had dementia have written to me, and I find their stories so moving.

Here’s a few lines received this week.
‘I purchased a copy of Fraying and I simply couldn’t put it down. It was like I was reading my own life experiences with my mother… Thank you so much for writing this story for me too. It will remain a most treasured book on my bookshelf and shared with others.’

All I can say is thank you, thank you to readers.
The more we share our stories, the richer the community. Stories, after all, are our treasures.
Michele Gierck
Author/Freelance Writer/Speaker

So You Want to Write Your Own Story

So You Want to Write Your Own Story

Michele Author

So you want to write your story. Wondering where to begin?
Here’s three questions to get you going. Take time to consider them.

1) If you were to choose six parts of your life to write about — they could be events, experiences, life stages, transitions or times when you’ve learnt something significant – what would those six things be?

2) Why do you now feel the urge to write? Is it because you promised yourself you would before you turned 30,50,60 or 75? Is it because you want to hand stories down to family members? Or to reflect on your journey so far? Is it to tell the story of others through your eyes? Or perhaps just to let your creative self flourish, and see what emerges?

3) Who would you like the audience for your writing to be? Are you writing it for anyone in particular? Or just for yourself? Would you like it published?

Once you’ve answered the questions, write down the six things you want to write about. And then write about them! It’s okay if you only write a paragraph on each. Or you could write pages and pages.

Then, once you’ve got that writing done, take a good look at it. Then put it down, leave it for a bit. And look again. What are the threads that are common to each of the six pieces? What might hold them together? What would you like to replace or add?

This might give you an idea of what you really want to write.
And at least it’s given you a starting point.
The rest of your writing could easily develop from this.

Rather than pressuring yourself to write a book, you might consider writing an overview piece that links the pieces you’ve written. Or perhaps you’d prefer to write on one of the pieces that just seems to grab you.

You never quite know what’s going to happen once you start on your own personal writing adventure… So, be brave, be creative, and allow the story to emerge.

Go for it!

Michele

ps for all those who say they can’t write, then speak it, record it, and get hold of some apps or technology that types it up for you! (See, there’s no excuse not to write.)

*

Text and Image copyright Michele Gierck

Michele Gierck is author of 700 Days in El Salvador, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me, and co-author of Peter Kennedy: the man who threatened Rome.

Michele’s website: www.michelegierck.com.au

Michele is a member of The Australian Society of Authors.

Michele will be on tour in the USA and Canada in June and July 2016

Michele Gierck Author Tour in USA & Canada June/July 2016

Michele Gierck Author Tour in USA & Canada June/July 2016

Montselvat7

Michele Gierck, author of Fraying and 700 Days in El Salvador will be on tour in the USA and Canada in June/July 2016. If you’d like Michele to speak at your bookshop, university, corporate, community, library or not-for-profit event, please contact her via the contact page on her website.
Confirmed cities so far are: Washington DC, Chicago & Halifax.

Michele’s website: www.michelegierck.com.au

A Big Thank You To Readers

A Big Thank You To Readers

SigningFraying
Thanks so much all those readers who have written to me, and shared their stories. I’ve been really touched, and attempted to reply to all emails and letters. I’ve even recommended that one story, about a son accompanying his ageing mother with dementia, be published. Our stories could well be the most important thing we own.

Michele’s latest book is Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me.

Author, Michele Gierck, speaking in Adelaide – 23 September, 2015

Author, Michele Gierck, speaking in Adelaide – 23 September, 2015

Author, Michele Gierck, will be speaking at an Alzheimer’s Australia South Australia event on Wednesday 23 September, 2015. It’s a fab day, all part of Dementia Awareness Month. (For the fine details, please go to the Alzheimer’s Australia SA website.)

At 7.30pm that evening, Michele will be part of a panel speaking about dementia on ABC Radio, Adelaide, with host Peter Goers, broadcasting across South Australia. Naturally she will be speaking about her book, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me. 

MontsalvatMichele SOLOMay2015

 

Looking for good read?

Looking for good read?

How fab, having Alzheimer’s Australia VIC endorse my latest book, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me, as a good read.
Underneath this endorsement Carers Victoria commented: ‘It is great. We are looking at having Michele speak with carers during National Carers Week in October. Very insightful and honest.’
As the author, I am delighted by this positive response. (And all the likes.) Great to see that news about the book is spreading.

AlzAustFacebook26June2015

 

Refer Facebook page: Alzheimer’s Australia VIC, 25 June, 2015