A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Memoir Through Journaling: guest Teresa the Journaling Woman

            Today I'm pleased to welcome one my earliest blogging friends.  Since Teresa often blogs about memoir related topics on her blog Journaling Woman and has a blog devoted to memoir topics--The Ruralhood--I knew she would have to be one of my guests here on Wrote By Rote.  The day has come and I'm proud to introduce Teresa and her Journal.  Be sure to leave a comment to be eligible for Teresa's special giveaway.  Details follow this post.

 Dear Diary, um Journal,
I’ve never written a memoir, but I’ve journaled for years and it all began with my girlfriend “Dear, Diary”.  It’s my personal belief that it is beneficial to record our life experiences for ourselves and for future generations. Trust me on this.
“Writers are the custodians of memory, and that’s what you must become if you want to leave some kind of record of your life and of the family you were born into.” --William Zinsser.
My parents are excellent recorders of our family history and their own daily activity through writing, photographs and orally.  I can’t tell you how many times in the past 10 years, I’ve asked my mom and dad to retell stories and family facts to me. Why the repeats? I didn’t pay attention the first time. And, I may have taken those family stories for granted and the storytellers.  

          Along with journaling, I record my life experiences through blogging.  I am the author of two blogs, The Ruralhood and Journaling Woman.

           The lovely "Thoughts" journal that you see pictured here will be given away to one lucky person who leaves a comment for Teresa.  Details at the end of this post.

The Ruralhood blog is where I reminisce about my life as a rural person both as a child and an adult. It’s important to me to leave memories for my children and grandchildren.  My intention is to create a blog book of The Ruralhood.

Journaling Woman is the blog where I post about my writing, practice my short story skills, and share my own kind of humor.  I reserve Sunday to post about my Christian faith and belief in God and hopefully inspire others along the way.

“Writing the story of your own life is a bit like drilling your own teeth.” -- Gloria Swanson

If writing about your life seems as unsettling as a Stephen King movie, it doesn’t need to be.  Preserving your history can be done easily through various formats and inspired by easy activities.  Voice Recorders can be used to record family stories and conversations. Video Cameras can also be used to record your family stories, facts and history.  Don’t forget to make copies for your children and grandchildren. You can never go wrong carrying a small notebook in your pocket or purse to jot down memories and events to write in detail—later. Revisit family places where your parents or grandparents lived.  And don’t forget to trade stories with your siblings and cousins. Memories come at all times of the day and night and from every day exposure. Being prepared to note the memories is important.

There are numerous ways to share memories with your family.

My grandparents may have used these instruments to pass on family information:
·         Cassette or spool recording
·         Typewriter
·         Handwritten journals, diaries, tablets
·         Storytelling
·         Handwritten letters
·         Telephone

My grandparents would not have used these instruments to pass on family information, but you can:
·         Blogging  (Family, public or private)
·         Blog Books (Did you know you can make your blog into a book?)
·         Ebook of family recipes, stories, photos
·         Photo CDs
·         Home movie DVDs
·         Emailing
·         Social Networking sites
·         Cell phones
·         Electronic tablets

Your ancestors did it, and you can do it too. Now, get started recording your thoughts and life experiences.  Your family history should not be forgotten.

Can you think of other fun ways to create memories for future generations?


             Yes, Teresa is giving away a journal that you can use to create memories of your own.  To be eligible,  leave a comment here with an email so Teresa can contact you if you are the winner.  You can also leave a comment on her blogs Journaling Woman or The Ruralhood--a comment at any three sites will make you eligible.  Whichever way you choose, please check out both of Teresa's sites so you'll see what she does.  The journal winner will be announced on Monday December 26th on Teresa's Journaling Woman site.  

             Thank you, Teresa!

             Next week a fun Christmas memory of my own and a bittersweet New Year's story the week after that.


  1. Hi Lee and Teresa .. I love Teresa's take on life .. having been an ardent fan for perhaps even years now!

    My father was the 3rd of 4, and my mother the middle of 3 - but her father died when she was 2 .. so I have no family histories .. oh yes - I tell a lie! I do .. but that's for another day after my mother has gone .. we have no next generation in our family.

    Yet both my parents' families have incredible histories .. of the 1800s, 1900s, 2000s .. I doubt I'll be able to access them .. but I can find out quite a lot more through .. the village websites, and the census, and genealogical sites .. to establish occupations etc .. When the time comes ..

    It's interesting - and it's wonderful that your parents, Teresa, are writing their own stories, as well as allowing you to record them ..

    I tried to get my uncle (married to my father's baby sister) to open up - but failed - before he died .. if I'd had more time to spend with him .. then I'm sure it would have happened ... c'est la vie ..

    I shall make something happen somehow -

    Love these memoir stories Lee - and thanks so much Teresa .. I've used your Marbles stories with the old folk at the Nursing Centre - to job their memories and it did .. thank you ..

    Teresa's inappropriately titled post "Losing My Marbles"! http://theruralhood.blogspot.com/2011/11/losing-my-marbles.html

    Cheers - Hilary

  2. I love the way keeping memories has evolved over time, from handwritten letters, to blogging! Another way I've found to keep memories and tell a story is through a collection. I have a small doll collection that tells some of my story through the various places I've gotten the dolls from, and the types of dolls. I also have a ticket stub collection from the concerts I've attended, which is the basis of my memoir manuscript. It's amazing how much story can be culled from a simple collection.

    I'm not entering the giveaway, Teresa, but enjoyed your post. It's a nice time of year to collect our memories.

  3. Lee, Sorry it took so long to get up this Saturday morning but the dreams were good! Thanks so much for having me here. I love this blog. And, yes, you and I are old blogger friends.

  4. Hilary, I'm so glad you used Losing my Marbles with the group. Your blog is very dear to me--like old friends. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Joanne, Those are great ways to preserve memories. Your blog is where I come by to have coffee, virtually. If your memoir goes public, I will read it.

  6. Great tips. I did not know you could turn your blog into a blog book. I have heard of people taking portions of it and making a chap book.
    Did your ancestors use stone tablets? (*grin*)
    My mom is a great teller of family stories and community connections. I need to be intentional about preserving those stories.

  7. Hi, Mary, I DID forget to add the stone tablets. Yes on the blog book. I haven't done it yet, but want to.

  8. I am using the memories specially the ones on my mother's side, her aunts and uncles (huge families even 50 years ago) to create fictional stories with one or more of the events that shaped/changed their lives....we Indians (Asians generally) are still wary about public confessions, though the younger generation is more open about airing their personal stories.
    Enjoyed this thought provoking post.

  9. Thank you, Teresa for the useful tips. A very motivational post, especially for those of us wanting to write our memoirs but still debating about it.

    Have a blessed day.


  10. Rek, I am a very private person and revealing things about myself is often painful. But, I've learned that disclosing can help others. I also laugh a lot about--me.

    Doris, Go for it. Write it. It's so important, I believe.

  11. Thank you for sharing this with us, Theresa, and reminding us of how those who came before us preserved the memories of their lives. It's so important to future generations. By the way, I enjoy both of your blogs very much!

  12. Love that you quote Gloria Swanson --one of my favorite silent stars of all. Her memoir is quite the story, so it's inspiring to know that even someone with such exciting things to tell (including an affair with Joe Kennedy!) still struggles with the telling.

  13. Thank you so much lovely Teresa for these very useful methods for recording one's personal memoir and history. Communication in whatever form within the family is such an essential key! Good luck with your Ruralhood book to be! Yay!

    Thanks Arlee! Take care

  14. Not entering to win, but that's good advice for writing a memoir. Too bad my family history isn't exiting. Or maybe it's just me that's not exciting?

  15. "A juggler of words and phrases." May I borrow your words? I think I could use them one day.

  16. Teresa: Thanks so much for bringing back memories of the time I did my mother's life history (she died at age 97 in 2003). It took countless hours, with photographs and texts, but all of my children love it - and my grandchildren will, too.

    I feel so fortunate that my ancestors kept records and life stories. I've got a lot of good ones! Like your ancestors, mine didn't have the "instruments" you outline here. And to start with, I didn't either! I'm SO glad for the computer.

    I like your suggestion to carry a notebook to jot down memories. I've been doing this in bits and pieces; now I'm about to get serious, and you have spurred me on!

    Lee: I'm looking forward to YOUR Christmas memory.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  17. Thanks for the tips, Teresa! I'm enjoying your photos and stories on The Ruralhood :)

    My current mission is to create an autobiography for my children. I've got a first draft with lots of stories and people I still want to include. It's a great goal to write your life stories, and I highly recommend it to everyone!


  18. Love Journaling Woman and her take on life. She is an ardent supporter of fledging blogs and I suspect, fledgings in life also. A truly beautiful woman inspired with beautiful thoughts. Thank you for featuring her as your guest writer.

    I will be back to read more in the future!


  19. Loved the pictures!

    I regret that I didn't record my grandmother's voice, or my mother's stories on cassette tape.

    Thanks for encouraging me, and others to latch onto our lives and pass them on to our descendants! Susan Kane

  20. Since I'm in transit and will probably not be back on the blogs until after Christmas, I wanted to say thanks to Teresa for being here this week and to all who visited and left comments.

    Merry Christmas!


  21. Great post! You and Arlee are new to me but I plan to visit again!


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