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Paperback Legacy: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Personal History Book

ISBN: 080401003X

ISBN13: 9780804010030

Legacy: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Personal History

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

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Book Overview

When Linda Spence asked her aging mother to write her life story, her mother stared at a blank sheet of paper and asked-"How? Where do I begin?" In this practical guide to capturing those memories that have been stored away, Linda Spence provides the questions that are the keys to unlocking the memories that make up a life. Beyond the vital statistics are the personal stories that tell what it was like, what we did, and why we did it, how we feel...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Gets You Started

This book is a step-by-step guide to writing your life's stories as a legacy for other family members. The author has worked with seniors for many years, gathering their stories and helping them document their life histories. In this book, she presents a simple methodology that anyone can follow to help them get over the hardest step in the process-getting started. In the introduction, she urges the reader to set aside some time and space for writing, in a notebook, on an audio cassette, on a typewriter, or on a computer, whichever is most comfortable and convenient. Then she provides lists of reflective questions to get the juices flowing. The questions are organized by topic, including earliest memories, school life, young adulthood, marriage, children, grandchildren, and later adult years. Interspersed with these questions are quotations from unknown as well as famous published memoirists whose writing illustrates the topic at hand. Everybody has had life experiences which are fascinating, amazing, or potentially edifying for others. The trouble is, so few of these stories ever get passed on because it's so hard to actually sit down and write them. With this book, Spence makes the task seem easy. Writers can sit down with the book, open to a page at random, and begin writing responses to her prompts. Or they can begin with the first question and work methodically through the book. Each question can easily require an entire essay to answer in full. Once the individual essays start collecting, the raw material is ready to edit into a book. Or, the answers can simply be left as drafts in the writer's notebook to be passed on to others as a legacy. It should be noted that Spence's goal is to help readers to document their life histories in a positive way so as to create a product that can be passed on to other family members, rather than to explore negative memories as a means of self-growth. The book is not about style, grammar, or esthetic qualities of writing. Spence finds it more important for writers to use their own voices naturally rather than to adopt formal stylistic attributes. The book would make an excellent gift for older family members who have stories to tell but just haven't gotten around to writing them down yet.

Excellent guide

I taped 16 hours of memories using Spence's book to interview my 87 year old father. It was a wonderful way of connecting as he lived more in the past as he aged. He was delighted to have my full attention and I enjoyed hearing his life story. The book helped me to organize material for the interviews. Last year I transcribed, edited and published the memoir as a gift for his children and grandchildren. He had seen a draft of it before his death and was thrilled that his life was recorded for posterity.

Literally Step by Step

This is a great book for writers whether or not you really intend to write a personal Legacy. I bought it on a whim (because I liked the concept) at Restoration (yes, the furniture store). I read through it and started writing. While working in through the book, an idea for a story I was already woriking on came to me. I became side-tracked with that idea and finshed the story which then became a series of short stories. In the meantime, I passed the book on to a friend who had retired and was thinking about writing something. I went back to some of the notes I had made while browsing through Legacy and decided to use the exercises and questions to build a set of characters, that intertwined. I used that as the base of a novel I am working on now. (I did a similar thing with the short storeis). Eventually, I do plan to go back and write a "personal" history about my family (sans me), but in the meantime, I bought another copy of Legacy for myself to use when building characters and another to spare in case I decide to pass the book on to someone else, I'll still have a copy of my own. It will get anyone writing and better yet, talking to your family. It will get you to learn about your family in a way we never really do. It's a very touching way to connect yourself to your family, yourself and to the world through great periods of time. You'll be surprised by what you learn and more so by how easy the writing comes to you. Thank you Linda for writing the book.

While There Is Still Time!

This book is a valuable resource for families to use when preserving the legacy of a loved one who is dying. My mother has brain cancer, yet has full use of her faculties and has LOVED going through the book of questions and leaving behind a history of her life. We have used the book as a guide for a *very long* audio interview. I ask the questions from the book - she reaches back and tells the stories. It has been a wonderful experience for me and my mother in these days we know will be cut short due to her illness. Preserve the legacy of your loved ones now - before it's too late! Thank you Linda Spence for helping my mother leave us a wonderful gift.

Quoted from "Booklist" 10/15/97, Vol.94, No.4, pp.380

This review was written by Alice Joyce. As memoirs become increasingly popular reading material, so do individuals of the baby-boomer generation increasingly hunger for details about their own multigenerational family histories and the long-buried stories that, in accumulating, make up an essential heritage. Spence creates a compelling context for recording the stages of one's life. In each section, from childhood through grandparenting, Spence compiles a wealth of penetrating questions to help guide the novice and more skilled writer alike. An inward journey, it is meant to uncover intimate memories and experiences that shape the very foundation, walls and interior spaces of a personality. Quotes from authors associated with a style of mesmerizing and revelatory writing illustrate just how moving are the episodes and scenes that create the fabric of our everyday lives.
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