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My Broken Language


A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical coming of age story in a ...
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If your family's story is not represented on library shelves or in the cultural zeitgeist, do you believe you carry an extra responsibility to pass it on? Is sharing family stories freeing or daunting?

Created: 01/06/22

Replies: 13

Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2913

If your family's story is not represented on library shelves or in the cultural zeitgeist, do you believe you carry an extra responsibility to pass it on? Is sharing family stories freeing or daunting?

Every family has a story. If your family's story is not represented on library shelves or in the cultural zeitgeist, do you believe you carry an extra responsibility to pass it on? Is sharing family stories freeing or daunting? Are there parts of your own family history you'd like to ask more about?


Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PinkLady

Join Date: 01/22/18

Posts: 123

RE: If your family's story is not ...

I love my family stories. My grandparents immigrated from Sweden. We still have family there. Cousins on the Swedish side get together and share history and we share it with our children. Many of us have traveled there to learn more and to make sure the history doesn't get lost. Plus my family of Swedes is smart. Funny. And have great senses of humor. Much has been shared all my life. Little that I wonder about.


Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 369

RE: If your family's story is not ...

My maternal grandparents immigrated from Slovakia. They never learned English. My mother was bilingual but she always suffered from thinking she was not as good or as smart as others. Most likely because of how she was treated by others as a child. I am very proud that I am one half Slovak, one fourth English and one forth Iris! Throughout my sons lives I have shared many stories. And all my friends know my family history.


Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 231

RE: If your family's story is not ...

I think it can be both freeing AND daunting, the latter because of the sheer responsibility to convey the past if not in complete accuracy at least with complete authenticity. My parents and grandparents were wonderful story tellers and we absolutely loved to sit and listen to the stories of their youth. We would pick up and just randomly drop in on various aunts and uncles and inevitably the older folks would tell stories. Sadly, I think many in our generation don't have this same opportunity or tradition. I have recorded many of these stories, photographs and recipes for our family so especially the younger generations will have that to look back on when they have interest.


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 265

RE: If your family's story is not ...

It depends on the person I’m sharing with and whether they have a genuine interest in my history or if they’re only halfway paying attention. That’s what makes the sharing either freeing or daunting to me.


Posted Jan. 11, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 399

RE: If your family's story is not ...

I now love to hear stories of my family. Each family is unique and a story itself. Our family has recorded some stories, but alas, many are lost. I wish I'd listened more when stories were being told when I was a child. I have questions now that will never be answered.


Posted Jan. 11, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ssh

Join Date: 02/04/14

Posts: 51

RE: If your family's story is not ...

I think it can be positive (freeing is not really how I see it) but also daunting. Stories that were openly shared make beautiful memories. Past generations in my family sometimes kept things private though. I cringe now if I hear private things openly shared. I prefer to respect the wishes from when people were alive.


Posted Jan. 14, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melissa c.

Join Date: 01/10/21

Posts: 90

RE: If your family's story is not ...

I don't feel any responsibility to pass along my family's history/stories but do find it enjoyable and freeing when I do share with friends and family. As I grow older, I regret not asking more about my family's past since I'm sure many stories have been "lost" as the older generations die. For so many reasons, youth is really wasted on the young.


Posted Jan. 16, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christinec

Join Date: 03/09/20

Posts: 25

RE: If your family's story is not ...

Requires a vulnerability- so glad she did - we are all better for it - can understand others’ life experiences and perspectives and cultures - love the beautiful diversity of humans


Posted Jan. 19, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 342

RE: If your family's story is not ...

I used to beg my mom to tell me stories about her childhood. I loved to hear them because it was so fun to think of my mom doing kid things! Do I necessarily think that the rest of the world would enjoy them the same way- -uh, no. In fact, my son preferred that I make up stories when he was small, rather than to hear about my life! haha So I don't feel like my family's story needs to be out there for everyone to hear. That being said, my son did gift my mother a subscription to StoryWorth for Christmas. He is choosing weekly questions, and my mom writes her answers. After a year, the pages she has created will be turned into a book. My mom's decision to complete this project has more to do with what she gains from the process and less to do with passing something on to my son.

I think that if we look carefully enough, we can find similarities between our own lives and the lives of many others. Parts of Quiara's story, Jesmyn Ward's story, and/or Joan Didion's story may also be a part of our own lived experience. That is the great thing about telling those stories out loud. Maybe someone will feel less alone, less different, more inspired by identifying with something he/she hears. I think the most important thing is that we all find a way to tell the story we have lived- -be it to ourselves, one other person, or to readers worldwide. And there are many ways besides writing to tell our stories.


Posted Jan. 20, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bettiet

Join Date: 03/11/20

Posts: 7

RE: If your family's story is not ...

I think it is important to share family stories no matter what your cultural background is. It has been only in the last few years that I have learned of some of the remarkable achievements of some of my fore-mothers. Their stories were not passed down with the same fervor as some of the tales of the men, indeed some were not passed down at all but assumed that woman's work was not of the same caliber. I'm not certain if I would call the reaction "freeing" or "daunting" but it is certainly encouraging .


Posted Jan. 25, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
poniesnpearls

Join Date: 06/28/11

Posts: 71

RE: If your family's story is not ...

Both freeing and daunting can be part of a family story. I think it's good to know both sides of your family stories to help you understand why people might be the way they are - both the easy, fun stories and the harder, challenging stories.


Posted Feb. 03, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gaylamath

Join Date: 02/11/20

Posts: 39

RE: If your family's story is not ...

I can remember when our family would travel to Oklahoma to visit relatives in the summer to visit aunts, uncles and cousins that I didn't know much about. As I got older, I really enjoyed sitting around and talking and hearing stories of my elders as they were growing up. My family's history is nothing unusual, I don't have any famous long lost relatives, just a bunch of southern people with funny stories to keep us kids rolling in the aisles long past our bedtimes. Most of those people are long gone now and I wish I had written those stories down.


Posted Feb. 21, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gabi

Join Date: 02/22/21

Posts: 57

RE: If your family's story is not ...

While our family history is on the shelves, I am so grateful to others who share theirs. I want to understand different cultures, backgrounds and perspectives. Diversity makes life fascinating.


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