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.

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

Seeking Some Peace

Seeking Some Peace

BeeDivesInOct2014

Just finished a magazine article on The Human Face of War. Afterwards, I sought some peace in the garden. And what a delight to see this bee — head first, diving in. Just the way life needs to be lived!

Text and image copyright Michele Gierck

Michele’s other blog: what inspires her www.michelemuses.wordpress.com

Cultivating Creativity

Cultivating Creativity

We are off to cultivate a little, or lots, of creativity. To non-writers, it’s called a holiday. Whatever the name, I can’t wait. We”ll swim with fish and coral, climb mountains, and breath deeply.

And when I come back I’ll be relieved, refreshed and reinvigorated.

Text and Image copyright Michele Gierck View from the road Wilpena Pound

Patience

Patience

BirdPecksGumnutAug2013

Wildlife photography and getting your book published have their commonalities. Both require patience. Waiting and hoping. Wondering. What will happen? Waiting some more. Then finally, finally, often when you’ve almost given up, that magical moment arrives– like this honeyeaster pecking at the eucaplyptus silver princess. Or an equally delightful agent’s call. As always, I wait in hope.

Text and image copyright Michele Gierck

www.michelegierck.com.au

 

Delight

Delight

Bee &Callistemon

Sometimes, when I’ve been buried in writing, or the intricacies of life, the garden offers a place to rest my weary soul. It’s so full of delight, of surprise, of tranquility.

Text and Image Copyright Michele Gierck

 

Storytelling and Surprises

Storytelling and Surprises

JohnReflectingAn old friend, a respected Australia journalist and storyteller, once told me that when it comes to writing people’s stories, put away your preconceived ideas and biases, and simply meet them as a person. Listen without judgement. Be really present. And you might be surprised. How insightful.

Tune in

Tune in

BirdBillHoneyeaterI was speaking at a conference this week. My topic was storytelling. There’s nothing more precious than our stories, except of course a healthy memory to file them in. There are so many different stories all around us, if we tune in–and listen.

The Shape of Your Life

What shape is your life

If you drew your life story as a shape, what form would it take? A square, with sturdy sides? A thinly lined circle? Or a long meandering squiggle? (The trunk of a scribbly gum tree, covered in a mass of squiggles, comes to mind.) Would your shape be vibrantly coloured, covered with daubs, dots and blotches, gently shaded or perhaps painted with thick oils? How might you choose to express the shape of your life?

Stories

Stories are a precious gift. And good ones are long remembered. Sometimes simply slowing down, being present, and listening, we unearth amazing stories. And nowhere is this more apparent than being out in the wilds of the world.

Photo: The Flinders Ranges, South Australia
Photo and Text: © Michele Gierck