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“Tell your stories”

October 15, 2020 October 2020 No Comments

As  guest speaker at First Church’s Mid-winter Monster Book Fair opening  night, Ted Preston challenged his listeners to “tell your stories”.    He explained why this was so important and offered ideas for getting started.  The message really hit home for many in the audience,  so here are some extracts from that speech for those who missed it.

“We all have our own tales, which we’ve been telling all our lives.  

  • to friends in the pub, at dinner, over coffee, on holiday
  • to family one-on-one and at get-togethers like weddings, visits and funerals
  • even to strangers via CV’s. applications, pepeha and various formal documents.

However we are not good at recording these stories.  So why should we?

Have you ever thought, ‘I wish I’d asked Grandma more about that’?   Maybe you have attended a funeral of a person you knew quite well but learned stuff from the eulogies that you didn’t know before?  When you meet an old person is all you see are wrinkles, the walking stick and the hearing aid?  If you knew their stories what might you see?  An athlete, scientist, teacher, artist, or business leader perhaps?”

My film-maker sister Gaylene constantly asks the question, “If we don’t tell our (NZ) stories then who will?  We musn’t let our stories die because we haven’t encouraged their telling and, importantly, their recording in some way.”

Ted says,  sternly , the sooner you start the better.   It doesn’t have to be high tech.  A notebook and pen are still perfectly good tools.   Just give it a go.   Here are some of Ted’s ideas to get you on your way: draw a timeline;  describe BIG choice points in your life and the people who have been significant to you;  write about various stages in your life (e.g. school or sport, leaving home);  discuss your favourite things – food,  music, books, places; jot down the things you are proud of, the scary times, or unexpected opportunities.

“All these reminiscences, yarns, myths, observations and memories come together as fragments or vignettes of your story.  Together they become an important part of your legacy.  While it is best to get facts right, eg dates, it’s the character of the stories that should shine through.   It’ll be a great read”  

If you would like to join others who have already started writing, here are some contacts.

U3A has a group called With Love – Gifting Your Stories to Grandchildren.   

They meet the  3rd Monday of the month at REAP House in Masterton.   

Convenor:  Wendy Woodhouse 377 0993, wendyw@wise.net.nz

Wairarapa South Rebus Club have a Life Stories Group which meets monthly.

Convenor:  Margaret Griffiths, 027 245 9663 of 06 306 8102.

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