How To Write Autobiography About Yourself
Good morning. Good evening. Good afternoon, everybody out there in podcast land. You aren’t tuned to another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homie’s perspective. This is Hamza. And I want to give a shout out to all of the families out there who had their family reunions canceled this year. I was one of those people in the middle of it and I am deep deep into tons of citations, what have you back in history of our family tree? And I have some photos which are great. What would be even better is if I had some autobiographies and so were that our ancestors may have missed out in the past. We have an expert today who is a guided autobiography facilitator. So we’re going to talk about developing an autobiography so that our family members in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years staff today which is hard to imagine, they actually Have more than just our beautiful elementary school photo. Our author is color your life happy, create your unique path and claim the joy you deserve. Without further ado, I’d like to welcome our guided autobiography facilitator, Dr. Flora Brown. Welcome to the podcast, flora. Thank you. so wonderful to be here. Thank you for inviting me. Yes, yes, indeed. And when we first got together, I do want to cover this part because it’s Dr. Flora Morris Brown, and I, I graduated from Clark Atlanta twice. And that’s an affinity with the Atlanta University Center. So when I saw Morris Brown, I was like, oh, my goodness, we have lineage here. I’m in the
I’m in the mirror.
And so you you kind of let the air out of my balloon a little bit. You
Part of that my second part of that was
part of the difficulty in in at least my family tree, or at least others that I spoken with is the women. Because in the United States, once a woman gets married as a generalization, she takes the husband’s name.
when you’re doing your searches or when I’m doing my searches, it’s like, if all we have is her married name, it’s difficult to get the the maiden name so as Morris maiden name, and it’s easy to find you in the brown family tree. Mm hmm. Yeah, Maurice is my maiden name. Mm hmm. So, yeah, that makes finding people difficult if you don’t know both names. Some people hyphenate them but I find that hyphenated can be troublesome because some people will fall it under em. Some people will follow that up. So I don’t hyphenate I just let brown be my last name and I but I use the middle name Morris because that’s my mother’s, you know, married name and a lot of people who know me from you know, the old days. That’s the name they identify with. So this makes it easy for everyone. Yes, yes. The, for everybody out there. You know what, and the other thing I found is when you start dealing with the mother’s maiden name, and then the father’s family name, it really shows how we’re all related. At some point, I think we need to bring back the blood drop when you get married because she doesn’t want to marry your distant cousin. No, isn’t it
kind of scary isn’t it?
Yes, yes. And let’s hope it doesn’t happen. I hope this is just the theory conversation. We’re having I don’t want anybody to go back. You’re like, Oh my god, I always thought this happened in this one state. That is the stereotype. It can happen. All right. Yeah, totally. Yeah. And that’s part of the benefit of having lifesource. Yeah, having access to your family’s details, because that can help prevent that. But it isn’t always available for people of color, especially those of us who are descendants of slaves because the written record wasn’t available. And, you know, in some cases, people of course, couldn’t write and read at first. But even when they began to it was not always safe to write things down number one, and number two, one, simple, got out of that horrible situation, and it’s true around the globe, wherever if you talk to Japanese who were interred in internment camps. You’re in California. If you talk to Jewish people, you know, families were in the Holocaust. Some of those feminists do not want to talk about the horrible past. They want to forget it, push it down, push it back. But we need that history. We need to know that. Those of us who come after, but it’s not so easy coaxing it out of people. It’s easier now than it used to be. Yes, absolutely. And I said, a shout out to my favorite man in the whole world. I got to give a shout out to Clarence papers senior. And because of just like you said, I wanted to respect my grandfather’s wishes, and wait until he passed because when I was talking to him, and grandma Won’t you know, when you come out of school and you’re excited, everybody’s talking about family tree and what have you. They’re like, we don’t want to dredge any of that stuff up.
But I think the other thing I think like you said, it’s really important because you can kind of piece things together. And one thing that we’re seeing in 2020 is so much is coming to the forefront that was hidden.
And yeah, one argument
that we’ve had when you talk about people of color, specifically, descendants of slaves, a lot of those stories, either you didn’t want to share them, or for fears or whatever reason, but if you didn’t share them, then someone else can kind of come and hear your story. You’re like, that didn’t happen. That was a trigger. So I think, I don’t know if I’m doing your work for you. But did you come across some of these same conclusions to become an autobiography, biography facilitator? Did I come across some of these, you may know these ladies lead up to me wanting to do this work. Right? Very people, okay. In my case, I don’t If I wasn’t interested in helping people with their autobiographies at first, I was a writer, myself a teacher. When I retired from teaching, I was gung ho to try all kinds of adventures first, traveling. But then after I’ve traveled for a couple of countries, I decided to write my book. Well, once you write a book, on anything, people around you want you to help them they’re mystified, you know, too many people an author is this, you know, wonderful person that had this mysterious pill, and they start asking you about writing books. So I started off by helping aspiring authors to write their stories. They did not have to be life stories. But what happened along the way, for whatever reason, I started to not Feel as fulfilled helping aspiring authors because that’s one path that’s very different from writing your own memoir for your family. So along the way, I’m always researching and reading almost everything is a piece of paper blows down the street. Reading is a favorite. So I ran across a class in one of those community service catalogs that said, autobiography, or guided autobiography class, and I was like, What is this? Why haven’t I heard of this before? Because I was an English major. And I taught English and reading and critical thinking, I help authors get into get their books published, but I hadn’t heard of this. So when I investigated it, I fell in love with it because it was created for the ordinary person who wants to write his or her life story. Primarily as about yourself and your family and you know, from your perspective, but I fell in love with it because I thought these are people who come for they want to write this story. It’s very personal to them for whatever users some triggering event has happened, you know, that’s made them want to at this point. So I got interested in, I signed up for the training, and completed my training. And once I did that, I was hooked on bringing this feel to the ordinary person who doesn’t believe that they can write. Some people kind of keep it a secret that they want to write their life stories because they’re kind of hesitant that their lives might be boring, or that no one will want to read them. But I love giving them the courage and helping them to see that writing your life story is more than just that. You know, putting words on paper is more than just journaling. It’s actually a legacy you’re leaving behind for your children, your your ancestors, people you will never meet in the future. And if you don’t share some of those feelings, values, thoughts, everyday life, what was it like will be ups and downs, then we lose a lot of rich and valuable information that will help the rest of us live our life. So I fell in love with it. I want to point out one of the big flaws with it with the term autobiography However, because the professor This was created about Professor back in the 70s call this that an autobiography. But what we end up writing in these classes is really closer to a memoir, than it is an autobiography. Because an autobiography See is typically a chronicling of your life, from birth to a divorce early as possible, you know where you were born all those statistical things all the way to wherever you are at the time you’re writing it. So an autobiography tends to be a more
factual, are no factual historical documents. And that’s why many of those quote unquote great men and women throughout history, and when they got to a certain age, they would write their autobiographies. But we would expect them to have some factual content. So if you’re reading about Thomas Jefferson, you bet that if he cites certain dates that he was doing a certain date doing that, what was going on with wars and other kinds of things, you kind of trust that as a historical record. With your memoir, the focus is more on how you the author felt about what was going on in your life, and you tell him it from your perspective. So believe me, your relatives and people that you grew up with and around, are not going to necessarily agree on everything you share in a memoir, because it’s your perspective. So you know, you have five children and a family and each one wrote a memoir, theirs will be different. Because whatever happens in that family, good or bad, is due through the lens of the person writing the story. And if you don’t write your story he just pointed out earlier, if you don’t write your story, then that means that someone else gets to write your story if they choose to, or to tell about you, and you lose the power and the ownership of your story. And think about it. How do we know about what happens in You know, pavement days, or whatever, how do we know what happens in, you know, China with the building of the Great Wall. We know these things because someone wrote it down in whatever language or whatever form of communication they had. They wrote it. And they left clues and specific details and dates. And that’s how we know about history. How would we know about anything that has transpired if someone didn’t make the effort to write it down, but the common ordinary everyday person, and when I say common ordinary, I’m not putting people down. I’m just saying that isn’t their career. And they may not feel that still in writing. But no matter what their stories are precious, because the that’s an accounting of someone who has feelings, they had fears, they overcame things. They they actually distributed to the world. And we need to know about that, especially the family. I was playing with you a little bit before we started recording. And as you mentioned, your memoirs talking about what’s going on in your life. And in 2020, I think even more pertinent because outside of the US, it seems like everyone’s on one accord. But the date here in the United States is different. So if you’re not ready, well, you don’t know I’m here in Georgia. I don’t know what’s true to what’s happening here is just name truth, right? It’s like we’re all in different countries. So it seems like even more so we need a memoir for 2020 in America. Well, you know, do you just lead me right into what I did this year, when I offered my first online version of my life story workshop, which I call the trip The name I typically call it is write your life story two pages at a time. Because that’s the technique that this professor created back in the 70s. To get his students whose gerontology professor, he was the founder of the gerontology program at USC, that first day I found a day. And he was always teaching courses about aging and gerontology and these things. And he discovered one summer this summer course, that would have led to discuss whatever the students were supposed to have read that nobody had done their homework, maybe because it was summertime, maybe because it was being held up here, but he said, okay, hold it. He realized that whatever you assign,
did not resonate with the students. They didn’t take it seriously. So he came up with this off the top of his head, I suppose. He said, Okay, here’s What I want you to do, forget about that assignment. Just go home and write two pages about your life, and bring them with you next class meeting. And we’ll just share those with each other. every student, every one got so excited. And he observed how much it moved the students to not just read their life stories, but to see the reaction of the other students in the class, to their stories. Because whatever secrets you’re holding, whatever you’re ashamed of whatever you think is a horrible thing in your family or about yourself. Somebody else has something that could match it. You know what I’m saying? Everybody has something that they think is they’d rather teach themselves whatever reason. So those that big devils how this method started, but this year, I was set to offer my First online versions before COVID-19 came along, because last year and year before, I’ve been searching for a platform where I could offer my peddler materials available for the students to get in advance, and then also have a place we could meet online together in a classroom type setting. And I taught online courses at the university and I’m sorry, Mr. Universe, the community college where I retired. But the Academic Technology is different, you know, from what you can get as ordinary person or an entrepreneur. So I served for a couple of years and I decided I was going to offer them zoom before everybody else. Everybody knows what zoom is now. And so this year, I was all set right? And my course was going to have the same name right. Your life story is set by changed in day two in six weeks because it helps people to Kind of get an idea of how much time they’re committed to. But just as I was making my plans, the COVID-19 came along. And that was around. Well, we started hearing about it in December of last year or January. So then by February, it started to become apparent that this was not just a passing thing that was going to go away fast. No matter what you heard from other people, it was not going to disappear. So I began to think about my core.
And I began to wonder
so he’s the author of this course now people are so distracted I don’t know about in your area, but here there oh my goodness, you know this frenzy, or going to the grocery store and buying toilet tissue and people this document up then Is this a frenzy? So I thought I don’t know if this is a good time to offer my course. But I had been planning it and waiting to get everything in place. So I thought, No, this is a perfect time for the very reason you just alluded to. I thought, you know, when you are afraid, and you are stressed and Europe set, and I’m certain that all those things that were going on with us. There’s some kind of power that is within you that you can either use for good, or you can go and hide, you know, under your bed until everything’s over. So I thought, I’m going to still offer my course but I’m going to tweak it a little bit because there was no way we were going to have a course where there wasn’t going to be the opportunity for them to share about COVID-19 so I changed the name of it. I tweaked the name of it, and I called it do the secret power of scary times. Write your life story in six weeks. So I added to the front of it the idea that yes, we’re in. I call them scary time. Some people call them uncertain times all kind of days. But the point is that within this course then I created a journal that I gave them prompts that they could use in the journal was optional. They didn’t have to turn that in to me, but it gave them a structure a framework to do exactly what you said earlier. Share what is going on what are your feelings, what’s happening in your neighborhood, or your area or city, your part of the world and because if we don’t write this down, we will forget the details. And the details are the most important part. You know, you can relate to how you you know, once a Costco to buy your digital groceries and the line was wrapped around the store. And you know, how you felt and what was going on. So those Details are extremely important. And so I gave them an opportunity to journal. But the course already has structure. Because each week we write on a different theme. And we do activities that lead up to that to help them, jog their memories, and so forth. And it’s a wonderful way for people to get their stories done. Because there are a number of programs out where you can write your story or write one week at a time, send a lesson in, you know, kind of like the old correspondence course, and this will be sort of kinda, and, but this one is different, because when we come to class, you read your story that you wrote that week. And we say, we say two pages, you can write as many pages as you want. The problem is, in order to get everybody’s story read, keep it short, so we can’t hear you know, all hundred faces whenever we want about the first video. And when you finish, everyone who’s listening shares their reaction to your story. And this is the magic of this course. Because I have seen other teaching this a couple of years and you know, face to face. I’ve taught in libraries, five at homes, different places, I
would just say how people react to your story. It’s something it just is so gratifying. Because even imagine people are hesitant to share. You know their story at first lesson when they see that everyone in the class is on the same path with them wanting to share and to be open about the truthful, but they also have to develop, you know, the confidence. We talked about confidentiality, anything that’s shared in the class, is not to be shared outside. And this is the magic of it. People come away, feeling so empowered, that now they have a way to get their stories written, that they have some guidance that they also have some group interaction and support. You know, there’s nothing like accountability and nothing like support from like minded people. So that’s how I’ve got so when you say that his autobiography, I, you know, I could I don’t have that title in my course title. But that is the name of the program, the certificate that I trained under to learn this technique. But before I got into that I’ve been teaching for 40 years English and reading and many other things. So I of course incorporate, you know, other things that I use in my teaching. But yeah, it’s um, whoever tells the story is the one that rules the day. So if you don’t share your life story, All kinds of strange things. It’s unfortunate because there’s a quote, I think it’s an African quote, I don’t have it right, it’s gonna be about every time an old person dies. It’s like a library burning down. Because they are taking, and it doesn’t have to be an old person, it can be any age person who has lived, you know, a number of years. There’s their things that they carry with them, that perhaps would be wonderful to know about in the family, but also outsiders, people who are not in your family. Appreciate you. And you know, I looked up yesterday about the New York Times bestseller list. I was just curious that somebody mentioned it and something I was reading and I was looking it up to see okay, how would they determine that? Listen better than Adele but in the process, the top selling books Are memoirs, autobiographies, we do believe that’s what people love to read about other people’s lives. And now my students who complete my course, do not typically publish their story. That’s up to them if they want to, if they want to publish them, then we have a different conversation about how that, you know, in other words, publish it for retail sales. But most of them, type them up. They can take them to one of the, you know, print stores and get them copies made. They can even get a decent cover all kinds of different covers on them, or they can go online and have somebody just design a cover. And it’s still they just put it together and give their families who still isn’t in the public. So that’s all I got. fascinated with this. And I was especially drawn to it because I know how difficult it is to sit down by yourself and start writing your story. It is it’s difficult because you don’t know where to start. And I even my oldest daughter gave me a book a couple of years before I retired that was designed to help you write your autobiography. That’s what that author, this was not the same man who created the method. But this was like a sort of like a journal. And each page asks a question and you fill in that information and the idea of being at the when you get this book complete, you could give it to your family as is, or you could, you know, copy those types them up and so forth. But as much writing experience a much cheaper experience as I had. I found it difficult because you had these questions that were of course about my life and about life, but it just seemed random to sit and do that and without a group to share it with. It made it not easy to stick to a physical and get it done. So
I, when I found this method, I realized that this is a solution for all those people who wanted to write this story that they need guidance, they need confidence. And it’s been a wonderful experience. I’m so sure. And I want to ask you a health question since you are in California, because you were talking about memoirs and if you’re during this time when people will have so much uncertainty and with all of the toll in initially when all of the toilet paper was missing. You can see in other aisles where all the vegetables were still stacked and all the vitamins were right. That’s
could they use the toilet paper that they bought
Well, you know what? I wrote an article I wrote a couple of articles about, about family. But I definitely wrote one during the pandemic, that it’s on my website in my blog. I don’t know exactly why people went with the toilet paper. But I think it was something about, you know, that identified that with a need and of course, people were stocking up the sanitizing. And what else was that? Those cleaning products, cleaning products and sanitizers toilet tissue? It was a thing and I’m sure psychologists could, you know, delve into it, and try to explain why it was that but you’re right. And maybe the the Fresh vegetables and fruits kind of thing was something that they weren’t thinking immediately about, because it’s perishable. So they were buying things that weren’t perishable, and it would keep them physically safe. But you’ll have to read my article about. I wrote an article about ways to find relief, comfort and meaning during the pandemic. But I started off talking about the very thing we’re talking about now, is the panic buying. People want to feel safe, and having lots of toilet paper and whatever canned goods and things of that nature, made them feel safe and ready for because we didn’t know if we were going to be locked down to the extent that we could not make the choice of going out of our houses or what we didn’t know. And I have a picture in here. One is of course everybody has a picture in their head if they didn’t take a picture of the groceries. stores it was shopping. And it was scary to walk in a store. If you live in a city, like I do, I have three major grocery stores near me within one of them five blocks I wanted was a couple of miles. And those stores are always stocked, you know, and to walk in there and see empty shelves for as long as you can see down that whole aisle, or maybe one bottle of something sitting on the shelf. It that was a new and scary thing for us. So it was Yeah, but it’s something that people just they feel like they have to do something they have to run and hide Of course now you also have the fascinating entrepreneurs. So there were people buying toilet tissue and sanitizer pants on assizes and cleaning products and stocking To sell people, I guess I don’t know where they want to sell them. Maybe it’s a swap meets on Saturdays, whatever. But then the stores had to make a quick adjustment because they weren’t prepared for this. So they started saying, no return on solid tissue and hand sanitizer. So, if your garage is filled with hand sanitizers and you didn’t sell them, you cannot take them back to the store. So everybody had to pivot and decide what they’re gonna do. But after a while, you know, it’s settled into kind of the thing. But if we kept I don’t know, I think it’s kind of across the country in America. We had to pivot again. Because the very day I released my course, to make it available for sale was The 25th of May. And you know what day that was, that was the day that George Floyd was murdered. And I say murdered some people that died, but he’s gone from us. And we got to see a piece of it, we didn’t see all of what happened. But that changed people’s
feelings and it added more fear to our lives because especially people of color we already know the story about how vulnerable are our black males in particular are but we know from our experiences, you know what it’s like to be black and, and be possibly accused of something at any time. So that added more so of course, I had to add had to add some content in my journal that I created for my students. About that to about the protests and the social unrest. And I even found some articles that, you know, weren’t in my course before that pertained to systemic racism, and the history of eugenics and those kinds of things. I added those in the course. None of that is mandatory reading, but it’s reading that they can do this stuff to help trigger their memories and their feelings about all these things. So my course became different from what it would have been. Yeah, had these things happen. Yeah, I mean, there’s so many questions that are packed into that. I don’t know where to start. I do want to cover the eugenics part of it being not being mandatory, but from historic I want to put a pin on that one. Okay. You were talking about, some people were hiding under the bed until Everything is over,
it’s really interesting in the state that it because I want to get your opinion on this in March, right, the general consensus was, Oh, it’s gonna be over around Easter, which was, I guess, four weeks away. They kept putting it back like six weeks in a month. And so one in our family reunion was canceled. I was still doing some, I mean, it’s addictive, right, kind of finding all these ancestors. And so I was speaking to a cousin that’s like, third degree removed. And we were having a chat and we were talking about the family reunion. And on their side, it was also canceled. It was supposed to be this year, but they decided arts our family reunion has been postponed, God willing until next year, right. And with her, this particular person, they said, well, we’re gonna wait until 2022 to have our family reunion, because when influenza hit in 1918 that roughly lasted two years. So, you know, when you were talking about eugenics and knowing the history, history seems to repeat itself in certain ways. And if you don’t know your history, you’re going to repeat it. And I guess that’s definitely right. It gives you it keeps you unemployment. If you’re not writing that life story, because when when you talk about the eugenics, I know that wb the boys and those guys, they they kind of subscribe to that, too. So it’s important to read these life stories because there could be a narrative that you know, only one group of people thought this and, you know, look at those people, but oh, wow, somebody in our family. Uncle Joe really thought that way. Yeah. I guess the bigger question is, how big is an eraser in your class because What I’m writing down today may not be applicable tomorrow or I may feel differently about it tomorrow.
Now, what do you mean? How big is an original class? Well,
oh, anything with when we talk with our elders, like one of the popular things for family reunions is get the matriarch, get the patriarch, and film home and ask them questions and get it on tape because they are not used to writing it down. But they have the luxury of looking at their whole life. And they can package and compartmentalize it that way. Because they live, but when you’re in the middle of it, you may think about something different today than you would a year from now. So it seems like a work in progress that incorporates a lot of erasing. It is but not you know, necessarily erased but erase it. Because if I talk about how I felt about life when I was a teenager I can’t erase that. That’s the way I feel. about life when I was a teenager. And then when I got married and my children, I may have changed my mind about some things. It’s just like growing up in a certain religion, your parents, you know, raised you as a whatever Baptist, Methodist Catholic. But as you grow and evolve, you may explore other religions, other ways of thinking, expand your spirituality, you don’t go back and erase your Baptist suffering. I don’t. But I have expanded my spirituality, as an adult as a mom and all that. So all of that is still part of this story. So no, you don’t erase it. Even your, the way you felt about the events that are going on, or the information you had about events at a different time, may change as you get more information. But you still can share how you were feeling and what you thought before and what has made you change your mind. I think that’s very useful information, you know, to say, you know, I was the Baptist. And when I became an adult, I became a whatever. I think that’s very useful for people to read, what made you change what things led you to even seek a change? And then what elements of this new thing this new religion, spirituality, made you change? And, you know, what are the differences in the features under this and that, because my thinking as a parent, and as a teacher is to expose you to a wide variety of information, and then you make up your mind. I have four children, and each one of them has a little different approach to Spirituality choices. But that’s okay because they are adults. I expose them to a wide variety of things. It’s like exposing your child to classical music. But they may choose to move into hip hop when they become or make their living even from Hip Hop, and that’s completely fine. So no, you don’t erase. You keep all that information because it shows development and progress and how do we evolve? That’s very important to find out that, you know, the Bible is full of stories about, you know, people changing and having their, you know, their road to Damascus experience, I think so. We need to know both we need to know the progress and the changes over time. So no, we don’t want to erase any of that. But things like the antiracism resources, the From our articles from our YouTube videos, those were very many of the students that thank you so much for including that in the in this course, even if they didn’t address it directly in their stories, they were just, you know, overwhelmed with over just blown away by what happened historically. And that was, you know, I wasn’t trying to give them a thorough education about all these things because I’m just learning about manages to, but it did extend because there once the social protest is started, there were many white people who were asking us to help them understand what is what, how we feel what is going on. And what things are appropriate for them to do? Because many of them started to worry that they were being
disrespectful because they didn’t know what was the right thing to say or not say, you know, they didn’t realize because they’re in their heads and their bodies and their life experiences and were in ours. And so many people were very pleased and told me I’m so glad you included those things in our and some of those were very hard to watch. But like I say, I gave them they had set exercises that they had to do. And then they had to choose from one of like 14 prompts on a given theme, although they could always create their own prompt, but the other things that they were reading, were to give them context. background, give them a glimpse into What other groups have been through historically, to help them understand why we are where we are today? Because many people think that one of my co workers one day, asked me, he said something to me like, Oh, what a black people going to stop talking about slavery that’s been over a couple hundred years. And I sit well, I guess when other groups fell talking about their history, hmm. That’s when we’ll stop. That’s our history. And unfortunately, a lot of us don’t know it. It’s really a shame because there’s a lot of value in knowing what your people have been through. But it wasn’t common knowledge. I mean, that even the American stories for white people is not very, very well told. And very deep. Because the textbooks our profit organization, textbook publishers, and they write what they think school districts will buy. and school districts die what they think the parents will tolerate. And if they worry about the parents not being receptive, then they’ve got, you know, to address it. So they tiptoe around everybody tiptoeing around this and children who learn their history in childhood are blessed. Because probably their parents had what the Jewish kids have Saturday school. They go to school on Saturday, and some private families have had,
you know, lessons at home, you know, just like some homes have Bible study. There are some families that teach their children about their history. Unfortunately, it is not being taught on a grand scale. When we’re young, we tend to not take that very seriously. It was just interested in here and now when we’re young, but yeah, it’s very important to have access to those to the history and because of what has happened. Now, these guided autobiographies facilitators around the world who, you know, have the training like I have no surprise, the majority of the teachers are white in this group, but there was no discrimination against anybody could sign up for the training, but many didn’t have other races. Now that organization is really clamoring to see how they could be more responsive, and what kind of things do they need to change about even how they are recruiting, and they’re not actively recruiting like, because they’re not a profit organization. So they haven’t been out actively recruiting recruiting people just tend to find them just like I found them. But, you know, browsing through our services catalog, but now they are having that conversation. And wanting to know, you know, have you know, have we been I’m in love with white people know that we’ve been complicit in all of this, because we didn’t know this. And now we know we’re learning what can we do? And there’s a lot of good articles about that out there for them what, what they need to do, but yeah, no, just forget that eraser. And even be consistent. And be careful about what you delete. You know, when you’re writing you can write different versions, you know your story unless, for some reason, you know, you have a date mixed up or whatever you can say the old version. As you edit and come up with the one that’s going to be the final one, there, there, you’re not going to get all of your facts in or all of your feelings and all that you want to say, in one memoir. Or in one story, that’s why some people write three, four and more memoirs. Because typically a memoir is a slice. If you think about a pizza, let’s say the 12 slices, that whole pizza is like your autobiography. But one slice out of that pizza is a memoir, because it tastes a part of your life. Typically, you picked some part of your life, let’s say your, your childhood, and you write about that, or it can be even narrower about something very specific about your childhood. And that can fill a whole book because remember, your book length, your story length is up to you. So we’re not talking about writing warranty. We’re talking about Writing on the phone, whatever theme you’re on, until you have satisfied yourself and feel that you have said all that you want to say about that at that time. But you can turn around and write another memoir on some other aspects of their life. And that’s kind of weird themes that we cover in our class are the typical themes that run through everyone’s life. And the other part of that that I want to ask you since you said you can have so many different parts of your book, what should you particularly include an autobiography or memoir or life story? It makes me think of a couple of years ago I had dabbled into comedy, and I was doing stand up around the city and what have you. It was great. I loved it and me this first sales just being in front of a lot of people and getting over that fear but did notice in my dating life, that people were kind of hesitant to share themselves because they thought I would use what I was going through on stage. And so when I asked, which you should include for your autobiography, I was looking at your site, and I was thinking about the holidays. Because just from a genealogy standpoint, you know, everyone’s like, yeah, we’re family, we’re family. But when you start breaking it down, and you find half sisters or step sisters and step brothers, it’s not clean anymore. And people find out that you’re writing an autobiography, and they’re like, Oh, we can’t say anything around this person because included in the book. So are you having to book like, one is the public book and then the other one is a post humorous book.
I suppose that’s a possibility. My theory is and I’m I think other people who teach about writing memoirs would agree. Your story is your story. And as long as you keep it on your story, and I think one of the problems people get into when they talk because other people are part of your story, right? There’s no way I can talk about my growing up without my mother, and my father and my sisters being involved. But the point is, if I’m writing about my feelings, how I felt about what happened. That’s all I’m responsible for, at best all I really know. It’s not my job to say why my sister had the relationship she had with my mother or why she did something she did, because I’m not in her head. I wasn’t her head. I don’t know. So my responsibilities tell my side of it now. What’s gonna happen is, this is People get into trouble when they write a revenge memoir. When you have someone that you’ve paid it, for whatever reason, you’ve all been responsible for everything that happened or didn’t happen in your life. They want to then, you know, bash this person, and it just becomes a mean and hateful thing. That’s not the purpose of memoir. But the other side of it is, no matter what you do, if I tell my life story, and I decide, okay, I’m not going to name people by name, I’m just going to say a friend, or a cousin or whatever. Everybody that grew up with me knows who those people are. So you can try to mask it with because people who worry about that they want to be able to sue their business, fictitious name, but people who grew up with you and nowadays and social media might be business, there’s so much about your life online, people just have to sign up and become your Facebook friend, your Instagram friend, your follower, all these things to really learn about you because people don’t realize how much they’re disclosing. But you can’t worry about what other how you gonna feel because or your friends, they may be afraid to talk to you and you do can decide as a stand up comedian for example, that you’re going to steer clear of those but that’s your rich content. I imagine to share your your relationships with your friends and family and those who want to stop talking to you. Oh, well. The one thing I told one of my friends who was from a big family and her father was famous. And her one of her sisters wrote family I don’t know if she called it a autobiography or memoir, whatever. But my friend said that the family was upset when she published her book this, this one sister. And because they didn’t agree with the way she portrayed her father and her mother, and so I said to her, Well, then you know what? You need to write your book. And you get to portray people the way you saw them, but you can’t get upset with someone else for portraying the way they saw things. And, and, you know, the exception is, you know, if someone is intentionally writing the whole thing to attack, and it’s, you know, get revenge on this person. But yeah, each person is entitled to write their own version so you don’t like my version.
It is so easy to write your own book these days, even to get it published. You can get it up on Amazon within 72 hours of submitting it to them And write your own. There’s no way that we’re going to all agree on our experiences even though we’re in the same family. We had different approaches. So yeah, people might have been a worried but tell them that you should be worried because I am going to share my perspective on things. But, you know, as long as you’re not doing it, like I say, to get revenge or to be mean or to attack and belittle people just for the joy of getting, you know, paying them back kind of thing. I think
that’s the kind of the line.
Well, I’m also thinking, not being ages, right. But if this is our best content, we can only live in the present. Then when you’re talking about social media and what have you from a generational standpoint. There were generations before us that didn’t share that information. Right? And so, from always, I like to look at it like a two year old to the two year old always like why, why, why? Why? with older generations, you get little pieces, and that’s only after someone passes away.
And you’re like,
Well, I didn’t have all this information and somebody was like, why didn’t you ask? And then the other side is probably protecting like they’re probably protecting a family member because they didn’t want to share that. Find out like 30 like oh my God, my whole life was a lie.
is it but is it easier now working with clients because they are so more like you said, all you have to do is follow someone and people are sharing so much information. But I don’t have my grandma’s showing her what she ate for lunch today or social media. Well, it depends on the kid so grandma’s a pretty savvy, I’m a great grandma. And I go, I was online with my youngest daughter’s friends watching Hamilton the other night. I seen it. My dad watched by myself and then I was watching it again because I was going to be going to a chat, we’re going to discuss it. So I watched it with a bunch of 39 year olds, and they’re all I guess, late 30s and it’s very different watching it with them. Then watching it with somebody my age or watching it by myself because they have perspective. But I love hearing those perspectives. I love hearing you know how they see something very different in it then then I see and then I saw and if there are more grandparents and great grandkids and all on social media then you think so but there’s a bit better. You’re thinking about them not sharing I, when my mother was kind of the keeper of the family history, quote, unquote, but she wasn’t writing it down in the sense of what we’re talking about. Now. When I got ready to try to create my first genealogy chart, I did not own a computer back then. And I just decided, Okay, I’ve got to create some kind of worksheet to start getting these people to send me information. And so I started gathering information from the hits of households and I made this chart Well, I knew that my mother had been married. Before she married, my father been married before she married my father. So and she had a picture of this man that she’d been married to a short time and his name on the back. It was his nickname to so I was like, mother. Tell me about guy you said you’re married to and blah, blah, blah, who’s his real name? Blah, blah? Because I need to put that on the chart. Oh, my goodness, I haven’t been she was very forthcoming before this with all the names and stuff, but when I dug into that, she said, Oh, don’t here’s needs to go on the chart. Just because you said you’ve married him. So is your first husband. Well, we were just very, very short period of time. So that doesn’t need to be on the chart. That’s not important. I said, it is very important. I said, I tried to appeal to her understanding of money. I said, suppose this man dies. And they’re looking for his last wife, no matter how fast you haven’t identified with him in any way, shape or form. You’re just gonna miss out on that money that you really get. And she was like, Well, I don’t care about that. I don’t think Name needs to be on there. It’s not important. So and I had another person that called me and she was upset, and we’re talking about just identifying whose pins, okay? I’m not even talking about the story, that whatever went on.
But one cousin called me and said,
I want I received this information and you have my you have my father listed as a stepchild that too was in a race, but I said, well, that’s not true. They treated him just like a family member. They loved him all his life. I don’t think you should have it listed as step child Well, I hadn’t looked at it that way because I didn’t really have the official doc the software yet of how to say these things and how to show the relationship. Sue so upset and I said listen I am sharing information that other people shared with me. Whether you were a step child or not, is no reflection on you. It’s a relationship so that we can understand. Those of us who didn’t know or you know will be left behind. She goes on to goes, Well, my husband and I don’t have any children. And so we don’t really need to even be on the seat did not want her father listed as a stepfather because the parents have raised and I’ve been wonderful to them. Well, that’s great. She also probably didn’t want me to know that that was her stepfather. Right. That wasn’t her father. And how did I know because one of the other cousins told me the story that she remembers that she was at the wedding of this. My other peasants mother and father, and they were about 10 or 11 years old. He described what they were wearing and the porch he got on the porch and got married, blah, blah, blah. And she’s maybe she didn’t know that. I knew that too. But she was so upset. She said, we’ll just pick me up a family tree. Well, you know what? We’re not taking anybody else down the tree. I said, if you don’t want a copy of it, fine. I said, but the we have a responsibility. Whoever’s grading that chart to tell the true connections to the best of my ability. I said the only way I will have lies and bosses on that chart will be this somebody told me a lot. You know, so many people love their stepmother stepfather, you know, because they raised them and they just, you know, would love to have them that be their blood, parents, but they’re not and that’s okay. But they Don’t want it written down anyways, though, she didn’t i didn’t have much, many more conversations. But yeah, she was pretty upset. And that’s part of the problem when you start talking, showing true relations. And even even more amazing is when you go to a funeral, and you read the whole vision on off the funeral program, and at the end, you know, they say she, she leaves to mourn her this and you know, her five children blah, blah, blah, he will five Juliet for children who are here. And it’s like, also, you’re gonna acknowledge them on the funeral program. But nobody knew before this so that they could not that she doesn’t sort it out or a relationship with the person. But it happens and they’re here they were born they typically are adults, but now you know, so It’s very tricky, and you’re gonna have some upset relatives when you start talking in real relationships. That’s not even been to the story yet, which is talking about the tree. But there’s a lot of interesting leaves on it, okay? And he’s shaking that tree. And it’s really scary when you have people you were very close to that you grew up with. And you know what happened in illusional the timelines, and they have re order to talk about eraser. They’ve reordered the history in their heads, and they’ve convinced themselves that no, this this is her father, whatever that was before DNA testing became easy to do easy to do. But yeah, there’s a lot of potential minefield when you start this, but that’s why you keep the focus on you when you’re writing your story. how you felt about business situation. And it’s in the kindest way you can but the danger of not sharing your truth story is it’s not forgotten. It’s in you and you’re carrying unnecessary weight and pain and suffering inside of you. When you share that you have released it.
Many of us have problems sharing blame for something that we didn’t really do we’re responsible for when you expose it, there’s a Bernie brown wrote something like gum. Same cannot survive in the light. So when you share something that you feel shameful about or whatever, it weakens it. It doesn’t make sense and that go away. But we can set in motion that was holding you captive all these years. So part of what you’re doing In writing your story is getting it out of you. So it’s no longer controlling or diminishing your life because that’s exactly exactly what it’s doing even when you don’t realize it. Absolutely. So what we’ve established is everyone has a story and how do they start? How do they know they’re on the right path? I think that they need an autobiography facilitator. And so how we get in touch with
what they can do to
get that process going. And also just the right the the read that book, the color your life happy, create your unique path and claim the joy you deserve. So how can people get they can book and learn more about you? Okay. the book by the way, was written a second edition was written in 2015. So it was written before I even started teaching the vet and other battery classes, but they didn’t get my book. on Amazon, what I recommend is to go to my author page, if you want to see all the books, I’ve written about 13 books for the trade, you can see all of my books there. Or you can go directly to Amazon and type in my name for Mrs. Brown was probably the best way to type it in. But there’s an author page that you go to that each author who wants to set up and mine is amazon.com for slash author, forward slash flow around and that page will show you all of the books that I’ve written, and it will have some other a biography and other information. And you just click on the book, the particular book that you want to buy or you want to learn more about, and it will take you into the sales page of this bat book. And so the color life app is available as a free built in as a, an E book, and I had it also as an audio book until recently, I decided to redo the audio because I hired a narrator before, which was fine. But I decided that I was going to read my own story. First, I didn’t want to read the book, because it’s a long process making a good audio book. But I decided that now that I’m into storytelling and the importance of stories, that reading my happiness book, myself, would be an additional benefit and treasure for my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. to have not only the print book, but have my voice. hearing me read my own book. And so I’m going to be doing that this year and it’ll be available as far as the life stories or anything else. I’m doing. main website is my name Flora brown calm. And when you go there, you can pick off from there two other things. You know, looking along the navigation bar there at the top. There’s information there about all the various things I do. And I urge all the listeners to get if you’re interested in life stories at all, when you go to my website, I ask you to ask for the free download. I wrote an ebook called seven reasons you have trouble writing your life story. And they can download that and read about what those seven problems are that people have been talking about them today. But what are some of those problems and what’s the difference between autobiography and and memoir and the kind of life stories we do? And so on and so forth. So that three download is very valuable starting point and then From there, they have my all of my contact information they’ll have on that on my home page. If they want to contact me on Facebook, I’m on Facebook, I’m on Twitter I’m on was that very funny on
Know what was gonna happen, I don’t know. And then any of the social media, the common ones, I’m even on LinkedIn, I don’t post there as much as I used to anymore. But Facebook and Twitter for sure. I have a YouTube channel that I haven’t added to lately. Gotta get back to that. When you’re on my website for brown Comm. If you go to blog, click, click that you’ll see a lot of all the blocks that I’ve put there all the blogs I’ve written on there. I’ve been kind of selected because I’ve been writing blog since 2008. But one of the main ones that I think you’d be interested in at some new listeners is in February, I wrote a blog a day about I’m gonna say famous, but maybe not well known African Americans for Black History Month. So, Black History Month was 29 days this year. So there are 29 different articles, each one spotlighting a an African American who contributed to our history in different ways. And guys spent a lot of time researching to pull out the key information about them, and you’ll see photographs and a lot of information, some places, I’ve had links, if possible, I’ll have a link to them speaking or singing or whatever that they did. So that’s over there on my blog, I think you’ll enjoy that but also have articles about like stories and why they’re important and so forth. So
foreground data Time is
kind of the best place to start to get to all these things. Fantastic. And I’ll definitely check out that month of February. That’s, that’s right up my alley. Yeah. Yeah. So with that you have just been in tuned to another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homeys perspective. This is Hamza Dr. Flora Morris Brown. It was a pleasure speaking with you. Let’s definitely stay in touch. Thank you so very much for having me. It was a fun experience.
Thank you. Cheers.