If you asked me five years ago what I’d be doing in 2012, there’s no way in hell even my extraordinary, Dr. Seuss-indoctrinated imagination could have come up with what my life is actually like. [sans Lorax]
It’s been a little quiet here on Tea & Glitter because I’ve had a hard time finding time to sit still long enough to write a post.
For example, several weeks ago I flew up to Pensacola in a badass little Cessna 172 I dubbed Marty with my pilot and travel companion slash partner-in-crime, Jim.
Me, Jim, and Marty the plane + some Starbucks, of course.
I felt so naughty using my phone while in flight. Rebel.
You guys…do not press the red button. Just trust me. Oops!
So this was my view out my window. A wheel and 2,500 ft. of air. Neat, huh??
Checking out the coastline while dodging banner flyers.
Why was I flying in a teeny tiny plane with Jim up to Pensacola, you ask? Aside from “just because“… Jim and I are starting a business together. We’re combining his mad photography and videography skillz plus his incredible business acumen (word of the day! Look it up, kids!) with my writing addiction and our collective love of people and their stories. I’ve been kicking around this idea for more than a year now, and mentioned it to Jim. We realized that with our powers combined, this idea could actually come to life.
You see, I love writing. But I’m sick and tired of writing about things I don’t care about, or that are purely for advertising, or that only serve capitalism. I want to write about things that matter, or where there is a serious reciprocity (another great word! ding ding ding!) between me and my client. I want to make money doing something that has value and where both the client and I feel like we gain something that’s not just a meaningless transaction.
So when my mom discovered several years ago an article profiling a lovely lady using her writing for something really interesting, I was hooked. I mentioned the idea to Jim, but although we both thought there was a lot of potential, other work and bits of life decided they wanted to take center stage; unfortunately, the concept got put on the back burner.
But the idea wouldn’t die, and here we are, a few years later, taking on this new (ad)venture!
What we’re doing is writing personal histories. We are losing the incredible stories of peoples’ lives, and if someone doesn’t document them, they could be lost forever. It’s similar to ghostwriting someone’s memoirs, but more than likely the person who will hire us will be the adult child of the subject who wants to chronicle their parents’ lives.
What we will do is set up a series of interviews with the subject, garnering at least 10 to 12 hours of recorded story telling. I will be doing the interviewing, for the most part, and recording. Once we have all the interviews recorded, we transcribe them into a document. The interviews won’t necessarily be chronological, and there will be a multitude of tangents and half-finished stories. What I do next is take this raw transcript and start organizing and editing, to create one seamless story of the life of our client, told in the first person.
From the stories the family has heard a million times to recollections that have never been shared, I’ll be creating a clear narrative of the life and times of our subject. Prior to interviewing, we’ll do research on the time period to get a feel for what was happening in the world at that time, and work to capture as much as we can. We’ll even gather and scan old photos to help illustrate the life.
After many drafts and revisions, our final product will be a beautiful leather-bound heirloom book that will become a family treasure.
Jim will handle the portraits of the subject, as well a video highlights reel where we’ll have the subject repeat some of the most poignant stories to include with the book as a DVD, so future generations will get to know the voice and cadence of their beloved relative. And then reading the actual book, they will be able to visualize the story teller, even if they’ve never met them.
There are also many supplemental products we want to offer, as well, from additional coffee table books to iPad versions to family trees and more.
And there you have it, folks! A general description of my newest (ad)venture! I hope that part didn’t bore you to tears, but this nerd is STOKED!
So welcome to Heirloom Personal Histories, and a new chapter in my writing career. [Burlesque & Brains…it’s how I roll.]
So back to Marty, Pensacola, Jim and me…
We were going to interview our first client, Mr. G, a Vietnam war vet. His adult children have never known any details of his time in Vietnam. It was pretty much, “I went to Vietnam. I got injured. I came home.” He was uncomfortable talking about his time there, especially to his kids. But they finally convinced him that his story is important to them and to their future kids, and they want to have a record of his stories and his life. He agreed to let me and Jim come interview him, and to share, in detail, his time in the war. TALK ABOUT PRESSURE for our very first client!
So I packed some relatively conservative clothes, my big girl bag, and did my research.
But the weekend was definitely not what I expected. The first thing we did after landing was go to a massive bar called Flora-bama, where there were bras hanging from the rafters and country rock n’ rollers drinking and carousing with beach bikers. Apparently this weekend was, in fact, the family 4th of July celebration, so I was in for lots of family good times, such as: hitting up massive bars on the beach, cook-outs, going out on the boat, and exploring Pensacola from the natives. Who knew?
Yeah. I definitely did not pack for this.
But the weekend was absolutely incredible. Jim and I were staying at the family’s beach condo, with views of the water right from the balcony. I could totally get used to this!
After Flora-Bama and dropping off our stuff at the beach condo, we went to the family home. They lived on the bayou and it was absolutely gorgeous!
There were also four dogs, and I fell in love with little Ollie.
The night was spent getting to know the family, eating shrimp skewers, playing with puppies, and enjoying the evening. Oh, and feeling like some weird random intruder on this family’s life. haha awkward!
The next day we
started the interviews hit up Starbucks (naturally), and then spent about eight hours interviewing Mr. G, our war veteran. Within the first hour, he had already told me stuff that made him cry. CRAZY! I knew it would be intense but I wasn’t expecting that. He’s a big guy who totally reminds me of my dad [the way he speaks and his cadence and mannerisms] so it was really interesting interviewing him.
That night we had dinner with the family again, and then went back to the beach condo. You guys, I totally went to bed at a normal time every night we were there! It was neat. :)
The next day, after getting our Starbucks fix, we did another round of eight hours of interviews with Mr. G, and then took a break to go out on the water! We toured around on the boat with four doggies and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip!
The next morning, we packed up our gear, said adieu to the beach condo and the bayou, and flew back home!
So cheers to our new (ad)venture! It kicked off in an unexpectedly beautiful and whirlwind way, and I’m excited for all the next steps to making this thing happen.