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 Joe. 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 Joe was from Italy 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, Joe worked in the textile industry -- 7 days a week! And he worked hard. Truth be known, Joe 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 Joe and his younger brother. By nine years of age, Joe 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, Joe had become the man of the house. Now a grandfather, when I suggested that Joe 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. (I can't help it. I am a memoir writer, having written two of my own memoirs, and quite a number for other people. I'm always thinking about life stories.) 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 Joe 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. Image and text © Michele Gierck
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
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
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
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
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 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