Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Most Important Story

By Mark W. Danielson

Lately I’ve been writing a story whose characters and events stir my brain. I started it long ago and lost it somewhere along the way. The story I’m referring to is my own, and I am writing it because somewhere in the distant future, my family might want to know more about me. and a new television show of the same nature are proof that at some point most people want to know their roots. Consider how little you know about your parents and you will understand the importance of documenting your own history. To help get you started, think of something that inspired you. Mine begins this way:

You can because you think you can. These powerful words were written on a Hawk Flight ready room wall at Reese Air Force Base, and seeing them made me realize that had always been my philosophy. Be it confidence or arrogance, I have always believed I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. Whatever success I have achieved has been a direct result of this mindset . . .”

As I started writing, I began to remember details such as this incident that occurred to me in seventh grade:

. . . Admittedly, I was no angel growing up, but I generally avoided fights. But one time a fellow classmate kept hassling me in the school cafeteria. I warned him that if he didn’t shut up, I’d jam my cornbread down his throat. He said, “I dare you,” and so I did, grinding it in with the palm of my hand. He was so astonished, it ended right there . . .”

If you’re still hesitating, then consider this recent news story:

“It’s been decades since the baby of her family became a grandmother. But as Drina Welch Abel spoke of four grandsons now flying planes for a living, the 83-year-old former wing walker’s memories drifted back to times only gray photos can reach.”

Imagine the rich history that would have been lost had Drina’s story not been published.

Recently, a friend asked if I would look over his memoirs. I agreed and starting reviewing it as if it was a manuscript. I soon determined that his book was perfect as it was because it is exactly what I am suggesting. Granted, it won’t win any awards, but that doesn’t matter. His family will benefit from it regardless.

It normally takes years to develop writing skills, so don’t get discouraged if things seem awkward at first. Force your way through this assignment as if you were writing for publication, but tell it as though you were speaking to a grandchild. When you think you’re done, then read every word out loud. In the end, writing this story may be your most satisfying one ever.

1 comment:

Jean Henry Mead said...

You're so right that anyone can accomplish goals with the right mindset. Writing has certainly taught me that. Hard work and determination can accomplish wonders.

Love your early photo, btw. :)