Guest Blogger Nancy Cullen writes:
“I am a rescuer of stories hidden among the ordinary. I give these stories voice as a template to inspire others with untold stories so that they will know the satisfaction of rescuing their own stories.” – Nancy Cullen
My BLOG, THE STONEBRIDGE, began as a place I could record and share stories. Stories stemming from four areas outlined on the BLOG’s “About” page. It is my version of a Sacred Bundle, a practice began by my father.
Capturing, or as I like to say, rescuing, stories from our thoughts, memories, and obscurity is a learned skill. There are processes, template frameworks, and yes, a bit of discipline involved. These are not apparent as one reads a particular post but run in the background like a good operating system in a computer.
Although, not complex, nonetheless they must be identified and adapted to your own style. Once in place, becoming a hero at rescuing stories feels natural.
My Hero Model Template
My father was a quiet example of a story rescuer. His method was quite simple, as were the tools he used:
- his thoughts and observations
- a quiet place to think and write
- a manual typewriter
My tools are the same, except I have replaced the typewriter and paper with a laptop and this BLOG.
Dad wrote during quiet hours in the office at “The Shop,” his place of business where he sold new and used auto parts.
He stored his writing in a dark blue vinyl satchel. Occasionally he would let one of us read these musings.
I write in my “vision room,” then store them on this BLOG for the world to read, comment on, and, I hope, receive inspiration.
Find Your Personal Why
How can you become a Hero at Rescuing Your Valuable Stories?
First, define why rescuing stories is important, then why it is important to you. This is a great support in not only getting started, but to remain consistent when life conspires to derail your efforts.
The “why,” for me, comes from either discovering some delightful piece of information previously lost or losing a significant person in my life and realizing how much passed with them.
An example of the former was an entry in the Rightmeier family bible about my maternal great-great grandfather’s birthplace in Germany. It was discovering a piece of my own history. That piece of information eventually resulted in me traveling to the German village mentioned in the notation.
Of course, the loss of a person from this earth is sorrowful, but the loss of their stories for lack of recording only compounds that sorrow. Taking the time to write these down is a way to preserve their legacy.
There are many other “whys” for rescuing stories. What is your “why?”
Your Hero Model
Second, what kind of stories do you want to record? Your personal observations of:
- daily life
- family events or conversations
- the story behind specific objects and what they represent
For instance, a collection of seashells. Where were they collected? What was the occasion? Who were you with? That painting that was always present, where did it come from?
Third, assemble your own simple tool kit. Decide a time, place, and means where these rescued stories will be recorded and stored. Look for ways to fit “rescuing” into your life routine, for example:
- Use a voice recorder during your daily commute or walk
- Journal each morning, evening, or once a week, with thoughts and details on your chosen topic
- Catch ideas as they fly by on a digital voice recording or App such as Evernote or OneNote
- Tried and true paper files still work!
A Place To Start
Below is a template as an aid in deciding what kind of stories to rescue along with some suggested ways to begin “storing” them.
What kind of story will you rescue this week?
Nancy J. Cullen grew up in Rooks County, Kansas, where she was introduced to aviation by her father. Flying in the same airplane she now owns, her early days of traveling with her dad to rural destinations, landing in pastures, grass airstrips and attending local fly-ins lay vivid in her memory.
What she did not realize was that her father was also cultivating another legacy he would pass on to her: writing. Other than the technical writing she did over her 30+ years as a federal civil servant, an air traffic controller, and air traffic staff support both in the United States and Europe, she had no aspirations to write.
It was not until her father passed on to her his writings, what she called his “sacred bundle” did the desire to rescue stories come to life for her. She has preserved his writings in a self-published book, “The Writings of HANCOCK.”
Since 2013 she has developed her own writing platform through her BLOG, The Stonebridge, where she shares her rescued stories and endeavors to inspire others to begin their own rescue operation.
Nancy holds the Premier Degree in French from the University of Strasbourg, France. She is a private pilot and owner of a 1961 Aircoupe she has restored twice and assists in its annual maintenance. She and her husband of 43 years own a 133-year-old Kansas State Historic Landmark home in Historic Midtown, Wichita, KS which they are in the process of restoring. She serves at the Chairperson of the PBS Kansas Citizens Advisory Board and actively participates in several aviation groups, locally, nationally, and internationally.
She inherited the EAA Biplane project from her father which she is building with the support of the local Experimental Aircraft Association chapter.
#amwriting #justwrite #creativewriting #lifestories #biographies