Site icon Linda Ulleseit

Find Your Story

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

I’ve always believed in the importance of family stories. This is a tradition passed on to me by my grandmother, a way of preserving our legacy. Grandma told me about strong women who came before me, showing her pride in her family and inspiring me. In turn, I share these stories with my sons. Some of my female ancestors that Grandma told me about:

Not everyone has a grandmother who is a keeper of family lore, so you must do it yourself. Stories of those who went before can be instructional and inspiring. They can give us a connection to historical events and attitudes. I encourage you to find your story.

Recently at a writer’s conference, I spoke with a pair of memoir writers. “You should write a memoir!” they told me. I demurred. Me? A memoir? What did I have to share that was worthy of a book? After all, I write fiction, not nonfiction. One woman told me she’d be interested in reading about the change in teaching over the last twenty years, starting in a time before guns, screens, and rude children. The other one was from a small rural town. She expressed an interest in knowing what it was like growing up in Silicon Valley when it was still orchards. We talked more, about my life and theirs. I learned that growing up in a rural town wasn’t much different than my neighborhood had been in the ’50s. The parallels made it easier to understand the parts that were different. And in that lies the power of your story.

So before you assume you have no stories, talk about your life with others. Share where and when you grew up. What hardships did you face? Everyone has a hardship, whether it’s playground bullying, relationship issues, drug dependency, or sexual abuse. Don’t dismiss your trials as trivial. They were huge to you at the time, and may be huge to someone else right now. How you persevered and overcame obstacles is your story, and it can inspire others. Talk it out and find your stories. You just may inspire yourself.

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