Writers, Consider: When Words Divide Versus Unite

by Matilda Butler on August 18, 2014

catnav-news-active-3Post #106 – Memoir Writing News – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

When Words Divide Rather than Unite: Memoir, Genealogy, Scrapbooking

Memoir writers, genealogists, scrapbookers. Most people interested in recording their family consider themselves as one of these three. But only one. Memoir writers dig deep into their own lives to understand and share their life experiences. All words. Genealogists spend time researching historical records to document where their families come from and who they are related to. Mostly charts of names, dates, and places. Scrapbookers point their cameras at the people and events around them to document what is happening. Then they add eye-candy to make the books both interesting and expressive of their own creative spirit.

Of course, I’ve simplified these three groups, but you get the point. Although a memoir writer is unlikely to say she is a genealogist. A genealogist is unlikely to say she is a scrapbooker even though she may gather as many photographs as she can. A scrapbooker is unlikely to say she is a memoir writer even though she may write a brief story about many of the photographs. And so it goes.

I began thinking about the similarities and differences in these groups when http://WomensMemoirs.com was recently nominated as one of the top 200 genealogy websites. The top two sites will be determined by voting and we hope you will vote for this site.

***I’ll say more about that the contest below but just in case you are a “skip to the chase” kind of person, here’s the place where you go to vote:

http://www.county-clerks.com/genealogy-blog/

– obviously we hope you will vote for WomensMemoirs.com. As I write this blog post, we are #1, but it can change at any time. Since the list is organized by rank order (# of THUMBS UP votes minus # of THUMBS DOWN votes) rather than alphabetical, you might have to look for us. We thank you in advance for your vote.***

One way to consider these three perspectives on families is to name them — Looking In, Looking Back, Looking Around.

MemoiristLooking In
This website is focused on memoir writing. Memoirists examine their lives to learn from them and to share insights with others. Some of the stories are meant for family members for children and grandchildren. And those writers who want to share their lives more widely through printed books or ebooks are still leaving their stories to future generations in their families. Furthermore, memoirists often include stories about others in their family or about the places their ancestors came from, or the influence of parents and grandparents on their own lives. Memoirists are always Looking In, seeking to see through words.

GenealogyLooking Back
This website is also of interest to genealogists. Both genealogists and memoirists spend energy researching times and places and people. Genealogists are definitely Looking Back folks and go much farther back in records then a typical memoirist. However, the research sometimes turns up family stories — stories of tragedy and triumph, sickness and health, hated and love, betrayal and befriending, and more. And when these stories are uncovered, writing them brings the genealogist and the memoirist into the same set of concerns — truthfulness and expressiveness that connect the writer to the reader at the emotional level.

ScrapbookingLooking Around
Including scrapbookers as the third point in our relationship of words might seem a stretch unless you’ve been a member of our community for a while. We invented the word “SCRAPMOIR” a number of years ago. The power of scrapbooking photos and memoir writing is obvious. A family photo with a date and a name or two is fine. But what is the story behind the photo? What was the person in the photo like at that point in his or her life? Why was the picture taken? What story, even brief, will make this photo worth having in the future?

For example, I have one son who developed a stomach flu every year around his birthday. But that never slowed him down. He still wanted a party. So all the photos of those birthdays show a happy laughing boy with lots of friends. Only in the story would you learn that he frequently had to leave the party to go to the bathroom. Fortunately, he outgrew this mysterious birthday stomach problem. But we still repeat the story because it shows his personality — perseverance even in the face of adversity.

Memoirist, Genealogist, Scrapbooker

Memoirists, Genealogists, Scrapbookers: Overlapping Skills and Interests
You think of yourself as one of these — a memoirist, a genealogist, a scrapbooker. But your interests and skills and even desired outcomes are similar. So when you are in the learning as well as the execution stages, be sure to consider the related skills that may enhance what you are accomplishing.

We can all work at appreciating each other’s fields and incorporating information that is available within all three areas.

About This Genealogy Contest
Earlier we mentioned that we were nominated as one of the leading genealogy websites. We’re proud to be included in the group of 200 websites. We opened at No. 173. Thanks to those who have already learned about this contest, we are currently ranked No. 1. Wow. That’s really exciting.

The contest is run by the website County-Clerks.com. That website realized the difficulty in finding information available at the county level. Some county clerk offices have their access buried deep in the county government’s website. So County-Clerks.com put together the available information across all the US counties to simplify searches for genealogists — as well as memoirists who are checking birth, marriage, divorce, death records of family members.

http://www.county-clerks.com/genealogy-blog/

Why We Want to Win
There are prizes for the top two websites at the end of the contest — September 30. And yes, we’d like to be NUMBER ONE. But we also have a goal of getting out the word about the resources we have on our memoir website. Our free ebooks, our free videos, our free monthly blog digest all provide valuable information for genealogists as well as memoirists and scrapbookers.

So please vote for us using the link below. Give us your Thumbs Up.

http://www.county-clerks.com/genealogy-blog/

Know someone who is researching family history? Be sure to mention County-Clerks.com to them as a resource as well as our website:

http://WomensMemoirs.com

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Pamela Jane Bell Announces Women’s Memoirs “Opening Paragraph” Contest

by Pamela Jane BellAugust 5, 2014
Pamela Jane Bell Announces Women’s Memoirs “Opening Paragraph” Contest

Pamela Jane Bell, our regular guest blogger, has come up with a dandy idea for a quick contest. This contest — your best opening paragraph — ends on September 3 so get out your keyboard or pencil and get to writing. Read all about it in this article and check out some of her favorite openings.

Read the full article →

Memoir Writing: Why Do You Need Another Book About Writing?

by Matilda ButlerJuly 28, 2014
Memoir Writing: Why Do You Need Another Book About Writing?

Check out this video about a solution to the frustrations writers have with their skill level.

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Memoir: Lanie Tankard Reviews The Place of Dance by Andrea Olsen

by Matilda ButlerJuly 23, 2014
Memoir: Lanie Tankard Reviews The Place of Dance by Andrea Olsen

Are you looking to memoir as a tool for healing your life story? Then be sure to read Lanie Tankard’s review of Andrea Olsen’s book, The Place of Dance, for it teaches how movement as well as writing can be healing.

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Memoir Writing Prompt: What’s Your Gift?

by Matilda ButlerJuly 19, 2014
Memoir Writing Prompt: What’s Your Gift?

Writing is hard work and time consuming. There are also benefits from writing. In this blog, Matilda looks at the “gift of writing.”

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Writing and Healing: The Fifth and Final Hurdle to Publication

by Pamela Jane BellJuly 1, 2014
Writing and Healing: The Fifth and Final Hurdle to PublicationWriting and Healing: The Fifth and Final Hurdle to Publication

Pamela Jane Bell returns with thoughts on five key steps to seeing your memoir in print. Where are you in this process?

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Overstory, Understory: Writing Prompt Worth Considering

by Matilda ButlerJune 24, 2014
Overstory, Understory: Writing Prompt Worth Considering

What’s your understory? Your overstory? Consider this new approach and then use the writing prompt to get you started.

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