You may have heard that the world is made of atoms and molecules, but it is really made up of stories. — William Turner
Recently we listened to an excellent webinar featuring Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Disease International. He said, “Sharing your stories is one way you can make a difference.” I asked several writers and storytellers to share their motivations and insights.
Sharing Stories Reduces Isolation
“Journaling helped me maintain my sanity when faced with the unpredictability of my parent’s behavior due to cognitive decline. Sharing my stories with other caregivers helps us to realize we aren’t in the boat alone. As the saying goes, ‘A shared burden lightens the load,’ and hopefully reduces our stress levels and perhaps even elevates our coping skills.” — Vicki Tapia, author, Somebody Stole My Iron. www.SomebodyStoleMyIron.com
Writing Stories Clears the Mind
“Just writing down my thoughts on scraps of paper helped me clear my head and face my day. I wrote about the rough spots and about my changing relationship with my mom. I found it helpful to read my stories aloud to people in my writing group; it was comforting to share and hear that people identified with me. As caregivers we often feel invisible. I wrote my book because I wanted to share my day-to-day life as a caregiver.” — Martha Stettinius, author, Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter’s Memoir, http://www.insidedementia.com
Using Stories Ignites Public Conversation
“When I was writing my book, I had one objective in mind: I wanted to use our family story to ignite a public conversation about care. Not just any old conversation — I wanted people to talk about social policy around the dinner table the same way folks discuss politics. I wanted our story to be anyone’s story.” — Donna Thomson, The Four Walls of My Freedom: Lessons I’ve Learned From a Life of Caregiving www.donnathomson.com
Telling Stories Makes a Difference
“As a speechwriter, I’ve known that stories can make any topic come alive. As a speech coach, I’ve seen that otherwise ‘ordinary’ speakers can produce ‘extraordinary’ presentations by including memorable stories. Storytelling has the capacity to make a difference anywhere. When my mother suffered a sudden stroke, I told her stories. She couldn’t speak, but her face lit up as I spoke. She liked the stories I’d tell her — simple stories about our friends, our home, the weather, and good times. You don’t have to be skilled or sophisticated to let storytelling make things better. You just have to get started.” — Joan Detz, author of How To Write & Give A Speech www.joandetz.com/speechwritingblog
Deborah is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.