Sunday, February 22, 2009

Memories from a Photo

“Memoing” My Memories Topic 21:

Memories from a Photo

If you have not worked on your Timeline lately or cannot recall what else to add, try going through your old photos and jotting down events that happened around them. Hopefully, you have already written the names, locations, and dates on EVERY one of them! Your descendants would greatly appreciate that. If you are like me, you may do it in spurts! It took two broken ankles to get many of them done! I am not hoping to finish the job in the same way, however!

Often looking at the old photos, sharing them with your family, children or grandchildren, you start to recall why that photo was taken, the details of that trip, the wonderful times with those friends….

Choose a photo from your life or one of a family member and write about the circumstances around that photo; your thoughts and memories at that time. Take the time to reflect on how life was then, and possibly how it has changed. What were the people in the photo like; what are your fondest memories of them…?

Remember to include your photo with your computer or paper files.

Reminder: What other photos could you use to help add to your Timeline or stories?

Suggestion: This and the previous ideas are from my booklet "Memoing" My Memories which contains 130 similar prompts on a huge variety of subjects. This booklet is worth the value as it contains many ideas within each prompt. The sprial bound booklet is available by emailing me at:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award

Earline Hines Bradt at AncestralNotes has presented me with this award.

What a wonderful surprise. I'm very surprised and deeply humbled.

Thank you Earline!

Here are the instructions:
1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those sites on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

Although this was difficult to decide, my list of nominees are:
1. The Photo Detective
2. Dear Myrtle
3. The Geneaholic
4. The Chart Chick
5. Forensic Genealogy Blog
7. The Practical Archivist
6. The Genetic Genealogist

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Neighborhood

Below is another excerpt from my booklet. As you can see, those I am posting here are not in order listed in the booklet, but are some random topics to give you the range of ideas and approaches to writing your childhood memories and family stories. This particular topic developed from a teaching strategy and was written in 2003. It is a wonderful subject for many, many stories, and some of my writing students have used it as an underlying theme for their entire memoirs. Even if you lived in several neighborhoods, this can section your life in to various units and allow you to write many memories within the time span, giving the reader an entire picture of your life.

"Memoing" My Memories Topic 8:

The Neighborhood

As we have discussed your childhood home/homes in Topic 4, let us focus on the neighborhood in general and the activities and the events surrounding it. No doubt this could result in countless stories, so we’ll start with a great brainstorming technique to give you the bases for future writings, as well.

If you lived in more than one home, pick one for now, but try this with all of them, if you can. A neighborhood could just be the block on which you lived or the few houses surrounding your rural home.

First, think back to what your neighborhood was like. Was it rural, urban, or suburban? Did you live in a large or small town, in the middle of the city or on the perimeter?

Who were the neighbors? Can you remember their names? Which houses were theirs?

Was there a unique member of your neighborhood...a kind person who asked you to do errands and tipped you enough for a candy bar or ice cream...a grouchy person whose yard often harbored your baseball or balsa wood airplane...the person whom no one knew well…? Was there a bully on the block? (Even if it was YOU!)

What games did you play in the street or yards with neighbor kids? What games differed from the summer through the winter? Where did you play—a vacant lot, the end of the street, a particular yard? Did everyone get along?

After thinking about these things, draw a map of your childhood street. Add some features unique to each house and the names of the people in the houses. Now choose an event centered on this area and write. Be certain to jot down other ideas on which to write later. There is no doubt many great stories to tell….

©Aulicino, Sept 2003

Friday, February 6, 2009

Writing Your First Memory

Up to now, I have covered various elements of the writing process and will continue do so, but mixed with topics which may be of interest to those who are writing their childhood memories and family stories. The topics either appear in my current booklet or will appear in my second volume. They will be selected at random and will not be in any chonrological order. Most people accomplish more by writing what motivates them at the time rather than starting at the beginning of their lives and continuing to the present.

These topics are based on the idea that you are keeping a Timeline of your life and make reference to it periodically. There will be other reminders, as well.

I will not be posting a vast amount of my booklet, but only samples. Therefore, if you are interested in purchasing my booklet, please email me at:

“Memoing” My Memories Topic 1:

Writing Your First Memory

A bit of a double entendre here! Yes, this is your first writing piece and it will (for now) be your very first memory. Who knows how much more you will recall as we push forward!

Think back to your earliest days. You must honestly choose your earliest memory. YOUR memory…not an event your parents described to you or you recall from an old photo...unless you REALLY REMEMBER being there. In your mind, you have to seek the memory of actually being present. This may only be a fleeting memory…not long, but you can write about the circumstances around it.

Don't be alarmed that your first conscious memory may be later than others. I know some VERY intelligent people whose memories go back to age five or six only. There are a few who can remember back to age three, but, seemingly, not the majority.

You will get a chance to write about earlier events that your parents, friends or relatives have helped you remember all these years, but for now...the oldest memory YOU can recall.

Return to your Timeline and write this memory in the appropriate year. You may have to base the year on the location, who was present with you, what you wore, the season, the approximate age of the people around you, etc. Get as detailed as you can, but if you haven't the time, make notes in your file first...add as you recall the incident.

©aulicino, 6 Feb 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Take Time to Read Your Story Aloud

Edit Is a Four Letter Word, con't

The letter T is for:

Take time to read your story aloud

Reading your story aloud helps your writing flow with ease. When we write the words come silently from our brain. Often what we think we are writing and the clarity of it is not what our hand is doing. Our thoughts mask our actions. When we reread a story we have writing soon after it was composed, we often read what we intended to write. To us it may sound smooth, sensible, and clear. This is not always the case, and for this reason, we must read aloud and have others read our work aloud.

It is important to wait a few days or so after you have written your story to read it aloud, however. Waiting will help you find where your writing lacks smoothness and clarity. The same is true if you read it aloud at the various stages of editing. Your voice overrides what your brain intended to write, allowing you to read exactly what you did write.

Have others read your story as well. If you or another person stumbles in the reading, examine the sentence for clarity and flow.

Once you have decided that you are done, put the story aside for a few more days. Then return to it to see if it sounds as good as you had previously thought. Your readers and those great-great-grandchildren will appreciate your clarity.

There you have it: EDIT is a four letter word…one we can learn to love.

Educate yourself on grammar and punctuation rules.
Draft as many versions as needed for clarity.
Incorporate word and sentence variety.
Take time to read your story aloud.

Mary P., a student in my writing class once stated: We write for ourselves; we edit for others. This is so very true, and, as the purpose of writing is for others to read it, we must sharpen our editing skills.

Once you use these techniques I’ve outlined from Theodore Cheney’s book Getting the Words Right and those I have developed through my teaching, you will greatly improve not only your editing skills, but your writing, as well. When you edit with such focus that these methods require, you will begin to see your own personal writing style. A writing style evolves. Removing the excess and striving for clarity in your work, will allow you to recognize your style.

Writing Style will be a future topic.

Remember: Although editing is a difficult and lengthy task, you will develop skills that will improve your writing in the initial stages so editing will become easier. There is much detail here, so take one step at a time. Your readers will love you for the improvements, and you will be proud of your work.

©Aulicino 5 Dec 2008