For my 2016 (and beyond) project, I need your help.
Let me start with some background.
In the last few years, several deaths have hit me hard, especially the passing of women who influenced me and whom I admired. I wondered if they had told their stories, or better yet, written them. Stories about who loved them, what made them laugh and/or cry, where they most enjoyed visiting, when they learned their hardest lessons, why they chose their lifestyle, and how they learned to cope, give, and appreciate.
Mainly, I wondered if they would have recognized the woman in their eulogy.
Curiosity and concern prompted my next project, encouraging rural women, American women who currently live or were raised outside cities and urban areas, to write their stories. Women like you and me. Women like them.
It is up to us to tell our stories. If not us, who? Who else would get it right? We might think our parents, spouse, kids, friends know us, but they don’t – not like we know ourselves.
If we don’t tell our stories, they will be lost. Forever. If we don’t tell our stories, nobody will know who we really are. Our stories are important to us right now, and writing them is therapeutic and courageous. Stories keep our family’s history alive.
At a friend’s funeral, little was said about her other than when and where she was born…went to school…got married…had kids…died. More was said about her husband, kids, and grandkids than about the woman who was so special to many.
I hired a rural woman to redesign my website from promoting my book to giving rural women a means to share their written stories. The site also includes my blog and a Dear Dr. J., similar to a Dear Abby, where women can ask me questions and get straight answers. Both stories and questions can be posted using a fake or real name.
The primary purpose for the site is a safe place to post and share stories, and to ask me questions about life’s challenges.
Check it out, try it out, help me get the bugs out.
THANKS! Let me be on your support team.
I have no agenda for the stories women post on my website, and I don’t even know if women want to write and share their stories on the internet. I proceed with the project knowing the mental
health value of writing one’s stories, wanting to continue offering support to women I admire and care about, and the hope of, “If you build it, they will come.” If it worked for Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams, it could work for us.
As a rural woman myself, I understand small town and county living; value of family, limited services, heart connect with women friends, love of the land, and isolation.
Teaching, supporting, and counseling women has always been my calling and passion. The idea to create a website where I could continue to help rural women, even though I am semi-retired, was like flipping a light switch.
I am excited to read stories women submit. I also look forward to questions about life; partners, raising kids, aging parents, dual family operations, in-laws, grandchildren, business, family dynamics, etc., in Ask Dr. J.
I ask for each story to be 400 + – words. Each of us could write hundreds of 400 word stories about our life as a rural woman. I know they would all be rich with colorful characters and challenging situations, such as one I remember: …My mother-in-law and I had the title of ‘GATE’ while sorting cattle. “Don’t let that black one out! #$%^&**&^%$“,” he bellowed from atop the big white horse…
There are examples on the site for you to explore. Don’t worry about grammar, just write. I will do simple edits before posting. Attach a photo enhancing your story, if you have one. If not, I will use one of mine.
Submit as many as you write.
If you can’t or don’t want to physically write your stories, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, I will call, interview you, write and post your story for you.
Share our story site with friends on social media. Start a story club and share your stories with each other. Encourage your kids and parents to write their stories. Teachers, ask your students. Put all your stories in a binder, and you will soon have your memoire; your memories.
Your life matters – write YOUR stories – while you can.
Check it out: Go to the Home Page on this website…Click on “Tell Your Story” and post stories (Write them on your computer – copy and paste)….post often.
Until the next time: Live while you live!