Dashing this off in a flash because it’s the start of a big fabulous busy busy day & want to make SURE it gets posted. My apologies for any typos, wretched grammar or disconnected sections, but Washington DC beckons & we’ve gotta be on our merry way!
Everything I needed to know about the importance of leaving a legacy I learned from my Mom, who shared with us kids wonderful stories of her life, of what she knew about Dad’s. Because of what she told us over her lifetime, I came to understand family human dynamics with a depth & reality no course or training could convey.
Everything my mother needed to know about the importance of leaving a legacy she learned from ME – it was little ‘ol moi who got her to WRITE THEM DOWN, to write them down first in journals, then online.
For years, doing my darndest to get her to write down her wonderful stories met with stubborn resistance tagged to her unyielding belief that NO ONE cared about such an ordinary life. Over twenty years, I probably gave her ten journals of various types & sizes. She’d write down one, maybe two, stories, then set it aside & never write another until she got the next journal.
But online – ah, that was different. Different because we did it as a team. Mom had more than a pen & paper. She had another person, an engaged energy listening to her, an interested face looking back at her. That turned the tide. She not only had me, she had a circle of online friends who let her know, loud & clear, that her “little” stories had a big impact on their lives. Mom had my interested, engaged face looking back at me -and- the loving, enthusiastic replies from men & women around the globe who felt forever touched by her writing.
I had never appreciated the power of a genuinely interested listener. It was just recently that I learned that the biggest factor in whether a recounted story positively affects a person’s memory capacity is the person it’s being told TO – sharing just one (1) a single recollection cab have a positive long-term impact, IF & only if it is told to an interested, engaged listener.
All of this is my rambling way to introduce this week’s featured website – NancyMurdoch.com.
“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in heart forever.” – Native American Proverb
Nancy tapped into her inner storyteller when her daughters were little. She made up adventures to tell them, turning them in a book series. She wrote personal growth books, included storytelling into radio shows & podcasts. But it took becoming a grandma for Nancy to discover the greatest power of sharing personal, really-happened stories.
Grandma-hood hit Nancy with the full impact of how important it was for children & grandkids to know who we are, that we had an existence before they were born, that we were once little, teens, survived (maybe barely) high school, dated, had relationships, became parents. That we are “human beings who have suffered through hardships and celebrated achievements . . . and learned and grew through the good times and the bad.”
Nancy’s mission – beautifully laid out & supported through her website – is to help people breath life into their memories, their life experiences. She does what I did for Mom – nurtures an environment where sharing such personal moments feels safe & natural; asks questions to help lead people to a place where they can connect with what waits to be said, with often the smallest story having the strongest connection.
Mom thought writing about making chocolate chip cookies with her near-by grandchildren or walking her Aussie grandkids to the “milk bar” for a treat was just fluff – – but those stories go straight to their hearts, especially as they edge upward into the forties. Nancy helps everyone make that basic connection, which for some perverse reason seems so hard for so many to accept.
The adage of English professors everywhere – “Write what you know.” – has to be tweaked for legacy writing – – “Write what you want to be known.” That is easy to write; it is NOT easy to do.
Mom’s friends would tell her, “Kay, if I wrote as openly & naturally as you, I’d share stories, too.” At which Mom would howl with laughter – “It can be like pulling teeth for Elsa (aka me, DEEV) to pull out stories. For both of us! She constantly peppers me with questions. It is easy now, because I know that people like my “little” stories, but it took a LONG time & a lot of shutting down to get here!”
I write that, wincing. Yes, it was sometimes painful, especially in the beginning, before Mom had received bouquets of love for sharing her life stories. Nancy is far more adept than I at easing out beloved memories & favorite moments into the light of recollection. Through her website, blog & podcast (more on both of them tomorrow), Nancy helps nurture the remembering muscle.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Mom would have plunked down the money for Nancy’s online podcast class – How to Create Audio Memoirs for Your Grandkids & Loved Ones! It’s lovely reading what Mom shared through Mindwalker1910; how special would it be for her great-granddaughters – whether in Texas or New South Wales – to could hear her voice sharing those tales!
It fascinates me how people who love Mom’s Mindwalker1910 shares balk at the thought that THEY have such stories to share. Invariable, they roll their eyes & say, “My children don’t care.”
It’s always a shock when, instead of protesting, I lean into their space, look straight into their eyes – and don’t try to convince them otherwise. Instead, I tell a story – – “You’re probably right. Your children probably don’t. My mother had four surviving children when she wrote her Mindwalker1910 shares – and three of them beseeched her to stop. They did not care. But her grandchildren do.”
Now, I can cap that true tale, handing them Nancy’s website address.
I love legacy writing, have advocated its importance for many decades. Nancy makes it do-able. Thanks to her, people can write in the cozy comfort of their own home or pull together writing circles, people – men & women – sharing those priceless “little” stories that have such a big impact on our heart. Hard to imagine a better Christmas or special occasion present for parents or grandparents – what a wow way to socialize connect engage generation to generation!
Nancy Murdoch – embodying (& emboldening) the call to LIVE, LOVE & LEAVE A LEGACY!
In Nancy’s own words: I created this business so baby boomer grandparents can learn how to preserve their own stories, and the stories of their parents, grandparents and family members, because I didn’t get this chance when my grandparents were alive. But the knowledge and tools I provide is for everyone who has a story to tell. I love helping people tell their stories.
When I first started writing and recording my stories I had to jump over a lot of hurdles. I had no idea if I would ever be able to tell my stories with the passion and emotion I felt when living the actual experiences. I made a lot of mistakes, and learned as much as I could along the way, and here I am. Now let me save you the time and trouble of learning the hard way. I promise to you that with your passion and my know-how, I’ll get you there too.
Tomorrow – we will delve into Nancy’s blog & podcast!