Home Archive for category "Commentary"
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A thought on age and happiness from David Brooks

  New York Times Op Ed columnist David Brooks is one of those  people I love to hate, and occasionally hate to love. I fell for his mind back in the ’90s when I read his book Bobos in Paradise — he soooo “got me” as a Baby Boomer. Then I began to see how so much of his thinking came

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Not sure why you’d write your family’s history? Read this.

“The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative,” wrote Bruce Feiler in a recent New York Times article. Recent research has brought new breakthroughs in knowledge about how to make families, along with other groups, work more effectively. Feiler cited research from Marshall

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This Holiday, Save the Stories!

Published on December 18, 2012, by in Commentary.

When I recently came across this photo, I was reminded how important it is to save the stories behind the treasures and traditions of our favorite holidays. No matter whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, or Winter Solstice, you’ll soon be with family. Now’s your opportunity to create fun activities that bring generations together around

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Birthing a Book

Published on August 8, 2012, by in Commentary.

On May 28 I got an email from my old friend Seth Kahan. He was in trouble. His manuscript for his second book had been rejected by his publisher. There was a considerable advance at stake if he couldn’t produce a better book. The publisher gave him until July 31. His first book had been a

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Have the time of your life recalling your life

Published on July 16, 2012, by in Commentary.

When the great sportswriter “Red” Smith said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein,” he was referring to the agony of turning out a daily column. For memoirists, it’s so much easier—you just sit down, sans deadlines and bosses, choose a vein of memories, and

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Everything Old is New Again for Memoirist with Alzheimer’s

Published on July 7, 2012, by in Commentary, Guest Post.

One of my colleagues in the Association of Personal Historians, Joan Loven, posted to our group’s listserv recently about her work with a client experiencing memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease. Her story speaks to the tremendous benefits of having one’s life story recorded in a book. Joan writes: Do you remember Peter Allen’s lyrics

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Your words outlive you

Published on July 3, 2012, by in Book review, Commentary.

Association of Personal Historians member John Hawkins posted recently the members’ listserv about The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, which his bookclub is reading. “This paragraph leaped off the page for me as an APH member,” John wrote, “since it speaks so directly to the value of what we do. I highly recommend the book, too.” The

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Ever write a letter to “Dear Abby”?

Published on June 20, 2012, by in Commentary.

Me neither. But today a a response I wrote to a “Dear Abby” letter appeared on the Association of Personal Historians Blog. Titled “Dear Abby… May We Offer YOU Some Advice?” it begins, On Monday of this week the popular “Dear Abby” syndicated column published a letter from a reader encouraging seniors to write down their

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Will writing your memoir be good for your health?

In a word–YES!   Past APH President Pat McNees wrote about the beneficial effects of life story and legacy activities in the Geriatric Care Management Journal, Spring 2009, and posted a condensed version of that article on her website. Highlights: Research indicates that health care professionals working with cancer patients near the end of life should

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Personal Publishing: Blurring the Line?

Published on April 2, 2012, by in Commentary.

Two articles in Sunday’s New York Times caught my attention by the juxtaposition of values they convey. The first, a front-pager titled “Young Writers Dazzle Publisher: Thanks, Mom and Dad!” questions the value of parents helping their children to self-publish their writing. This is apparently a growing segment of the self-publishing market, one that in

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