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Diann Martin

Director of Nursing Program, DeVry University

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Engage people in sharing stories through StoryASKING, where the asker poses questions or ideas and asks others to share their story .

I am planning to design a deck or a notepad with StoryASKING topics for people to use to generate their personal stories, either written or oral about a specific topic of interest. I would love to hear ideas that anyone has for what to ASK about and respond to this idea.

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    Aug 26 2012: I have been a professional memoirist. I love your idea.I probably have enough questions to fill several notepads.

    I like to start with the oldest ancestor my client remembers. Perhaps it is great grandparents or a great grandmother. What did she look like? What do you remember about her? Did you ever stay at her house? What did it look like. Describe the kitchen. (those old-fashioned kitchens make such wonderful stories, as do stories about the out house and life without toilet paper and one-room schools.)

    Progress to grandparents with the same types of questions.

    Introduce your parents (how did they meet? Are there any special stories you have heard about their wedding?

    What is your very first memory?

    Walk it through a little at a time. Ask them to describe their childhood neighborhoods and compare it with today's neighborhoods (where children do not play in the streets). What games did they like to play? What did you do before computers, video games, mobile phones, DVDs, things like that.

    As you get to the middle years, bring up religion, school memories, clothing, dance, etc.

    I think you get the picture.

    If you want to read a couple of my sample memoirs, let me know and I'll send you a link. They might inspire you. Let me know if I can help.

    I also suggest that the writing part of the page begins with Dear _(fill in name)__. If a person is writing a letter to a grandchild, that love will flow through the writing, intimidation goes away, and the writer will use simple words to tell the story. Writing at a 5th grade level is really ideal for what you are describing.
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      Aug 27 2012: Hey T L

      That sounds really interesting,would you post your links here?
    • Aug 27 2012: Thanks so much for your suggestions and thoughtful feedback. I really enjoy all things related to memoir so please send me the links. I would greatly appreciate it. Diann
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        Aug 27 2012: Well I would, but you appear to have turned off my ability to message you.

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