Start writing your personal history with the 52 Stories ProjectOn nearly every headstone or marker, no matter how plain or ornate, is carved one universal symbol. It is a simple horizontal line – a dash – separating two significant dates. The first marks the day one precious soul entered this mortal life. The second marks his or her inevitable journey onward.
A well known poem by Linda Ellis, “The Dash,” speaks of this symbol.
“For that dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth. and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.”
We are each, right now, standing somewhere in the middle of our own dashes. Because its human nature to think of our lives in terms of beginnings and endings, the approaching New Year gives us the perfect opportunity to make sure we are making the most of that dash, filling in the details of our lives so our loved ones and our posterity are not left wondering what happened in between.
All of us are “in the dash”. But you may be thinking, “I’ve got plenty of time to record my story.” Or more often, I hear, “No one would be interested.” But a study published in the Journal of Family Life in 2010 states that they found teens who knew more stories of the extended family were more resilient in the face of adversity. They showed higher levels of emotional well-being, and also higher levels of identity achievement. Children with the most self-confidence have what’s called a strong “intergenerational self”. In other words, they know they belong to something bigger than themselves.
Don’t expect to sit down and pour out the events of your entire life in one epic writing session. Just like the journey of a thousand miles begins with the single step. Writing your history begins with a single story. Followed by another, and then another…
And that is where the 52 Story Project comes in. The idea is to write one brief story about your life, past or present, every week this year. You can do it in a handwritten journal, on your computer, or in a series of videos. At the end of the year you will have 52 little pieces of your dash.
Sounds easy enough in theory, but what on earth are you going to write about each week? Should you just start at the beginning and record all the events of your life chronologically?
Actually, no. That’s the most challenging way to go about this project. Memory isn’t orderly, structured, or predictable. Recollections are more likely to surface randomly, sparked by various external triggers. Embrace the randomness, and just start writing. You can always organize your stories later if chronology matters to you.
You don’t have to look far for a great series of memory triggers. Bee Hive Support will provide each participant in the 52 Stories Project, a weekly writing prompt from one of 12 themes, from “Goals & Achievements” to “Education& School” to “Holidays & Traditions,” over the year you will be provided a total of 144 questions, giving you plenty of options to choose from as you build your library of 52 Stories. At this time next year you will have a wonderful gift to share with your children and grandchildren.