If you’re famous enough, someone is going to write a book about you. Even if you’re not famous, someone might write a short story about you called an obituary. I’m not a famous person. Here’s why I want to write my own story.
First, I’m a Little Vain
I pay attention to my appearance. If I’m going to be in public or on camera, I give a little thought to what I’m wearing and how I look. You could call me a little vain.
I do care how I’m remembered or will be remembered. I would like it to be for something I said or did that made people think. I want people to be clear about their own purpose in life.
Who Else is There?
I look around and I don’t see anyone else who has been around for all of my significant life events. My parents were there for the early years. They have a very good recall of my early life.
My wife has been a witness to my last thirty or so years. It’s more than my parents, and it spans most of my adult life. She can certainly tell stories. But in some ways, that’s putting a burden on her. She has her own story to tell afterall.
I Want to Meet this Stranger
The details of my own life are familiar to me, but by themselves they aren’t a story. Most obituaries don’t make highly interesting reading. That’s not the fault of the deceased person or the writer. It’s more a matter of the consequences: there’s not a lot of time, and the obituary writer doesn’t have a lot of material to work with.
I have a little time, and I have a lot of material to work on. I’m eager to meet this character who will emerge from my own life story. I also want to get a little ahead of things. I hope to write the script before the action happens.
If I write my own life story, I can do it twice. First, I get to dream the story and then I get to live out the dream.
Beyond Vanity, I Want to Own My Story
Others can take a crack at writing my story, but only I get to author it first in my mind and then in real life. To own my story means I’m fully living it. When I’m gone, I hope my story is interesting enough to help others want to write their own life story.
Resources: Here are some good books on writing your life story
Opening Up by Writing it Down by James Pennebaker
Your’s Truly: An Obituary Writer’s Guide to Telling Your Story by James R. Hagerty
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