I’ve called myself a writer for years. Not because I spent countless hours reading literary classics with the desire to emulate the great authors who wrote them. Not because I have impeccable spelling and grammar skills and aced my way through every writing course I ever took. But because I look to make a connection to the reader through words and inspire them.
I started this blog with the hope that I could use the experiences in my life to help share the lessons I’ve learned so other can continue paying it forward. That’s because each moment that passes shapes who you are, and anything you do to help someone else avoid the trials you went through could help make them a better person. Still, with all this focus on the future, there comes a time where it’s necessary to look at where you came from, and appreciate the journey others took so you could be where you are.
My Missing History
I grew up constantly hearing about the major historical figures who helped shape our lives, but I never knew much about many of my ancestors. I didn’t grow up learning what kind of people they were, what they valued or how they endured in times of trouble. In fact, I remember my seventh grade history project. It was a scrapbook with about 12 of the 50 pages filled. On the first page, there was a pencil drawn family tree stretching four generations, half-filled. That was followed by a written account of my family history and a brief autobiography. I think I must’ve written both of my essays in size 16 font and double-spaced them so they’d appear longer.
Can you believe I still have that project? It’s no longer in the scrapbook, but parts of it are in a folder I keep as a continue to learn more about my family. Having to do that project really made me come to terms with my lack of knowledge and sent me on an all-out manhunt for my biological father and more information about my mother’s family. I learn more and more as the years go by.
I guess I’ve said all this to say that I don’t want my future children to have to search for information about their great-grandparents and other relatives. I want to make that information readily available to them. I want to share stories about those who came before them so they know where they came from, and never forget where they came from.
Learning To Chronicle My Life
The photos we keep and the stories we tell help us connect with those who came before us, and in some way, they help shape the people we become. That’s why I was so excited to go to Clara O. Barnes’ book signing for her debut novel, ‘God’s Amazing Grace’. I love the concept of the book, which tells the story of four generations of women in the Taylor family, from her great-great-grandmother to her mother. Mrs. Barnes writes about how faith sustained the family in times of struggle and hardship, tragedy, and triumph.
While there, I got the chance to talk to Mrs. Barnes and learned so much. She discussed the process she went through to write the book, and stressed the importance chronicling your life, especially if you want to be a writer. She even recounted memories of times spent as a small girl playing underneath an old wooden dining table. And she spoke with the same vivid imagery I imagine she writes with. I haven’t had the chance to read the book, but definitely plan to. And I plan to continue chronicling my own life so I can one day leave the memories of my past.