A fit and well elderly lady whose life story book I recently completed was rushed to hospital a week or so ago with a serious infection in her brain and her daughter emailed me to say thank goodness we got the book done when we did. So often people's family stories and personal memories are lost forever when something unexpected happens. And you don't have to be elderly for this to occur - a dear friend of mine had a stroke absolutely out of the blue last weekend. It's so important if you want to do something, or say something, do it NOW. Alas, later could well be too late...
When I showed a graphic artist friend the book I did of Grandma's Stories for a customer she was stunned - and said it was professional enough to sell... I was stoked!
I guess years of working in magazines and supervising images and layout have stood me in good stead. But what I do know is that I SO enjoyed doing it. A chance to let my creative juices flow...so much fun!
OK, so it's not a life story - but I just adored doing it. It is a collection of stories a grandma made up for her grandchildren when they were little. She wanted to put them into a format so future generations could enjoy them too.
It was a lot of hard work, but more fun than I've had in a long time - sourcing the images to suit the stories, compiling all the images, one over another and making sure the stories fitted. Oh, and choosing the colours - lovely bright, wild colours, and making everything colour coordinated. It took me nearly an hour to get to her to give her the book and when she saw it, she cried. She said "I'm covered in goosebumps!" It was such a magic moment. We held hands as she turned the pages of her book. I also did a video of her reading one of the stories and set it to music - so she can play it on her DVD when people visit. I so love making people this happy!!
This is a Moleskine leather bound book I've recently created - the black leather is very stylish! It's ideal for a story of how a couple met, their wedding or even for a someone's complete life story - and one would certainly make a unique and classy guest register for everyone at a ceremony to sign. The pages lie flat and there is even the same strip of elastic to keep the book closed as you get on a those classic Moleskine notebooks. Remember them?
So many people have multiple house moves, and even move to different countries. While it's a good chance for a clear out - never, ever throw away old family photographs! Keep them in a shoebox, in a bag, in an envelope - in anything you can find, but never toss them out. There comes a time in everyone's life when it feels important to trace ones roots, ones ancestors - and these old images are priceless in recalling people, places and events. When it comes to having your life story written, these pictures tell a thousand words and once scanned and included in a book, will never be lost. And they will be treasured by future generations to come.
Rebecca Skinner has been a journalist and editor for more than 30 years working in newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. Her caring nature enables her to put people quickly at ease to help prompt their memories. As a writer she can weave anyone's story into a professionally written and produced book that makes compelling reading.