Monday, November 26, 2007

You have a story to tell

All the students in my class now have their own video blogs and podcasts. I wrote this to my class on our class blog

Six feet under final six minutes

Sit down, I have something important to tell you...
I was in my twenties when my father died. My youngest son was about a year old. My dad died of a rare disease, but this is not about my dad, it is about you. Every day is a gift. This is not just a gift to you. Each day of your life is a gift to all the people who love you and anybody who does now and or will someday want to know you. Believe it or not what happens to you is important. We think we have a long time, but we never know, we likely do, but...

My first wife was thirty-three when she was killed in a car accident. In a blink of an eye she was gone and I was a dad raising three kids on my own. Her story passed to me to tell them. But, this is not about her, or me, it is about you. You may live to be over a 100, but someday you will not be around to tell the story of who you are now. But, now you can tell that story, you have the power to tell that story now, to the whole world.

Gone the Sun
In the book Gone the Sun, Winston Groom writes, “Sometimes I think we should be issued another paper, a Life Certificate if you will – which could contain some brief statement for historical purposes that could explain how a person lived and what they accomplished and where they failed and why.”

You have a story to tell to people who may not be alive yet
Someday somebody will wonder what it is like to be you, now. Maybe your children, grandchildren, great...

Maybe that person will be you
You may someday look back on life and wonder what it was like to be you, now. You may someday be your own audience. You can also share stories as you remember them of folks you care about who are already gone...


"Hey, my name is Rianna,
I am a Junior at Tesoro High School and I am on the varsity song team." This is what Rianna's MySpace blog says. According to the LA Times, "Rianna Woolsey, a 16-year-old cheerleader, last logged onto on Dec. 6, 2005. She died the next day when her car smashed into a tree near her home in southern Orange County." Her page that has not changed since her death. The page is a time capsule of a life cut short. The only part that is different is the section where readers post comments. Since her death over two years year ago, friends have written probably over 1000 messages there. Her friends whom she authorized to post to her page still are posting there, to her, to this day. When I mentioned her on our class blog last year, I received a nice Email from a member of her family thanking me for mentioning her, for remembering Rianna. This person found the post through Google. As I mentioned in that blog post:

Every blog post we make builds our legacy and tells the story of our lives. This is so important, this is what folks will look back on when we are gone. This is our lives with permalinks and cached in Google. Her (Rianna's) words, my first wife Candy’s words, or my sister’s (who died from Cancer a few years ago) words, or my father’s words, all these words and stories I have, and the stories you have, that we hold in our memories can now be written and shared in the world by us and those living with us and preserved for a world without us. Rianna’s continuing story is in the comments of Rianna’s MySpace page. Her memory is shared for those who never knew her there. It is a story started by her before her death certificate and still being written by those who remember her.

As you contemplate your final movies for this class or even your next post to your blog or MySpace or Facebook, or wherever; remember, you don't have to be heavy, or try to do something poignant. Your memory of the best burrito you ever had in your entire life is a good story, an important story. It is a story that may be real important to someone who wants to hear that story either today or someday. Perhaps that person, someday, may be you. I wish I had videos of loved ones lost telling the story of the best burrito they ever had.

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