Spend this time creating something precious for your family.
"Forget tidying the sock drawer, forget decluttering, use this time to do something that will be cherished by your family for generations to come. This is the perfect time to write your life story.
A survey conducted by autodotbiography, with people over 50, reveals that 98 per cent of people who are asked say they would like to tell their life story and the top reasons for not doing it are:
1. “I just don’t have the time.”
2. “I have no idea how to do it”.
Sadly, with self-isolation we all have more time than we thought. Spending time with grandchildren and travel is off the cards for months. So, time is no longer a problem. As for how to do it, Bryher Scudamore, creator of autodotbiography, has helped hundreds of people write their life story for their family.
She passionately believes that everyone should write their life story for their family. She was inspired to start her online system by the untimely death of her mother, Peggy. “When my mother died her memories died with her and I was left with so many unanswered questions about her life, her childhood, how my parents met. Even though we were incredibly close and spoke to each other nearly every day, her life story was a blank page. And so I vowed to help others to capture their life story so that it would be celebrated for generations to come.”
“It is particularly important at the moment for everyone to record how they feel about coronavirus and how it is affecting them. That way, families in 200 years’ time will have a first-hand account of life in these difficult times.
“We are living history, experiencing an unprecedented situation, but even before coronavirus we have experiences to share with our families. For instance, when I was at primary school, in the 1950s our school uniform was a gymslip and beneath that were a pair of voluminous navy blue knickers with a pocket for a handkerchief! Can you imagine having to lift up your skirt exposing your knickers in order to reach for your handkerchief? Also, in the 50s getting a landline telephone was difficult and millions of people had a ‘party line’ which they shared with a neighbour. Children now couldn’t imagine a world without mobile phones and the internet.
“From people who have used autodotbiography I know that their grandchildren are fascinated and amused to find out about their lives as children and what work life was like in the 50s and 60s.”
There are all kinds of ways to tackle writing your life story. Handwrite it – but it is a shame if only one grandchild gets a copy, or write it using a computer, so you can create a number of copies. Use a smart phone to video yourself talking about your life, or just do a voice recording.
The real challenge for most people is what to include, and staring at a blank sheet of paper, or a blank screen can be daunting.
Bryher says, “That’s where autodotbiography comes in. It is an online system that makes it easy for anyone, no matter how good or bad at writing, to create a beautifully written and lavishly illustrated hardback book of their life story for their family.
“It’s a virtual ghost writer and a virtual book designer, a step-by-step system that holds your hand through the whole process.”
“My ideal scenario is a grandchild helping their grandparent to write their life story. With Facetime, or Zoom, or Skype, they can work virtually and share the time and create a beautiful book that will delight future generations of their family. It also gives license to the grandchild to ask cheeky questions such as ‘Who did you (snog) kiss first?’ and ‘What were you like at school?’.”
For those who want to write their life story but don’t want to use autodotbiography Bryher has a couple of ‘How to…’ pamphlets which she will send out. Request them through firstname.lastname@example.org