Monday, March 12, 2007

From Sarah McKerrigan...

Do you know your family history? Is it recorded?

Every time I do a signing at a Scottish festival, I'm regaled with tales of mythic proportions about this or that clan. It seems everyone is related to Robert the Bruce. And inevitably, a Guinness-tipsy Scottish-American will wander up, determined to tell me about his family so I can write my next book about them.

I always say the same thing. YOU should write that book!

It doesn't matter if it's riveting or spell-checked or publisher-worthy. What's important is getting down the information and putting a little piece of yourself into the writing.

I can't tell you how many times I've wished my ancestors had written something, ANYthing, about what their life was like. My family kept no diaries, no love letters, no appointment books, no grocery lists, nothing.

I don't know if my great-grandparents were wallflowers or party animals, drank lemonade or bootleg rum, voted Republican or Democrat, dressed for fashion or comfort, liked fancy hotels or tent camping, were lovers or fighters.

How nice it would be to stumble upon a faded journal from some long-gone relative, complaining about the cost of lettuce in Durham or gushing over the beauty of the sun touching the Sutter Buttes, or fretting about the Japanese internment camps in California.

So those of you who keep putting off writing your family history, PLEASE consider your descendants, who would love to know anything about who you were. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be complete. It doesn't even have to be WRITTEN. I interviewed my living relatives a few years ago on tape and transcribed their stories. But do something to preserve your memories.

You are a significant person. Your thoughts, feelings, and ideas are as important as those of a published author to your future generations. So write that book!

Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007

1 comment:

lwlehmer said...

How true. Ordinary people really aren't ordinary at all and their descendants will want to know about them just as we want to know about our ancestors. I wrote about that on my blog about personal history just this week at Thanks for your timely post.