When there is a rock in our path, we can stumble over it or use it as a stepping stone.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Writing a Book

My original hope/dream/goal when I took a year off to work after getting my B.A. was to return to UCONN to get first a Masters and then eventually a Ph.D. in Archival Studies.   However, as Robert Burns said

"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft afley,"

Instead of going back to school myself, I ended up getting married and remained working to support my husband while he finished his PhD and then his Post Doc.   I was supposed to get my turn to go back to school after he finished but by then I knew it was not a marriage I could stay in (even though my ex-husband was and is a wonderful man, who I admire greatly).      Long story short, I never ended up going back for my graduate work.

I never lost my love for that whole field though and now I have started a project that is both a labor of love for my adopted family (my best friend's family) and a way to keep my brain active working in an area that I have loved for many decades.

My best friend's Dad is 83 (will be 84 in December).   He has many wonderful memories and is very good at telling anecdotes from his past.    I have decided to combine my life-long interest in American History (including a very strong interest in capturing oral histories) with my love of digital scrapbooking and take advantage of the wonderful opportunity that I have been given in living with a repository of American History, someone who lived through a large chunk of the 20th century.

I took some books out of the library on capturing oral histories to use as a guide as we work and most days, we take about 10 minutes for him to record some of his memories onto an Evernote audio file for me.      I am transcribing his memories and will use my digital scrapbooking software to turn them into an autobiography for him.      This will take hundreds of hours of work on my part but at my stage of life (and dementia) I can't think of a better use of that time than to take the memories of a living treasure and record them for his daughters and others in his family.  

They say that staying active keeps your brain going longer.  I very much believe that is true.    This will definitely keep me quite active mentally and is a project that is very much still doable for me as it uses skills that I still have.     Yes, my memories are slipping but I am recording everything in Evernote (before transferring it to my digital scrapbooking software) so I don't need to remember the data, I only have to record, transcribe and format it.

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