Monday, August 11, 2008

Writers Capture Life Stories of the Terminally Ill

In recent years, writing memoirs and life stories has become quite popular. Numerous local and internet groups have formed providing a platform to share the hundreds of thousands of stories now in existence.

I conducted an internet search and found 96,000,000 sites by entering “life story writers.” Many were probably duplicates, but that was still quite a large number.

Opportunity to share life stories

Story circles abound giving people an opportunity to share their life with others if they choose, self-publish if they desire, and receive writing assistance when necessary. Using outlines and writing prompts help keep writers on track.

Some stories are told chronologically while others are an anthology of anecdotes. Many times photographs and personal recipes are included.

Terminally ill given final opportunity to share

Often people write their own stories, but a growing trend is to write life stories for those who are terminally ill.

A group in my area volunteer their services through local hospice centers or by word of mouth. They interview the person while taking notes and taping the conversation. They willingly spend hours writing a small book, which is bound and presented to the terminally ill person and his or her family.

The bound book can be soft or hard cover and the person interviewed controls the content. They see a final draft before the book is printed, and that allows them to edit whatever they may decide to leave out of the final copy.

It is their book, and the content and how the story is told is their choice.

Later, families of the deceased often describe the book as a gift given to them by their loved one. Life story books hold information only the storyteller could know and is told in their own voice.

That is a powerful legacy to leave their loved ones after they are gone.

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