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Legacy : A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Personal History [Paperback]

by Linda Spence
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 1997 080401003X 978-0804010030 1
In this practical guide to capturing those memories that have been stored away, Linda Spence provides the questions that are the keys to unlocking the memories that make up a life. Beyond the vital statistics are the personal stories that tell what it was like, what we did, and why we did it, how we feel about our choices, and what our circumstances were. Through encouraging coaching, shared memories, and open-ended questions, the process of producing a personal history becomes intriguing and engaging. With Legacy the possibilities expand: a personal record is preserved—with its myths, traditions, joys, pains, gains, and losses; a family opens a potential dialogue that will last for generations; the writer has an opportunity for insight and resolution; the culture of a time and place is noted; the tradition of personal story is revitalized, and our present and future find nourishment and knowledge in the past. Either as a gift that can act as a shared experience as the memories are recounted or as a personal way to take account of one’s experiences, often long since forgotten, Legacy is indeed a way to get one’s story down. Linda Spence writes and collects Legacy stories in Mill Valley, California, where she lives and works as a consultant.

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Legacy : A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Personal History + How to Write Your Own Life Story: The Classic Guide for the Nonprofessional Writer
Price for both: $25.45

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Editorial Reviews Review

Linda Spence's Legacy proves to be just that: the creation of a family heirloom that money couldn't buy. Through a series of thought-provoking questions about each phase in human life, Spence helps readers record their personal history, think back to feelings that any number of snapshots could never capture, and reflect upon their lives. What events occurred during your childhood? What did you like most about school? What do you wish your parents had done for you? The text includes sample essays by the author and quotations by other writers to encourage your muse.

From Library Journal

Aiming to prod the story out of the writer, writing consultant Spence has designed a book of questions and quotes that goes deeply into the hows and whys of the writer's life. The questions are well written and divided by time period, from earliest memories of childhood to life as seen from the vantage point of old age. People will probably want to own and spend time with this book because the project it proposes will take longer than a three-week checkout, but it would do well in libraries where patrons are interested in genealogy or local history as a springboard to getting people to talk about the past. It also has great potential for people working with nursing-home patients. Recommended.?Lisa J. Cihlar, Winfield P.L., Ill.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Swallow Press; 1 edition (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080401003X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804010030
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars While There Is Still Time! March 13, 2000
This book is a valuable resource for families to use when preserving the legacy of a loved one who is dying. My mother has brain cancer, yet has full use of her faculties and has LOVED going through the book of questions and leaving behind a history of her life. We have used the book as a guide for a *very long* audio interview. I ask the questions from the book - she reaches back and tells the stories. It has been a wonderful experience for me and my mother in these days we know will be cut short due to her illness. Preserve the legacy of your loved ones now - before it's too late! Thank you Linda Spence for helping my mother leave us a wonderful gift.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets You Started February 27, 2006
This book is a step-by-step guide to writing your life's stories as a legacy for other family members. The author has worked with seniors for many years, gathering their stories and helping them document their life histories. In this book, she presents a simple methodology that anyone can follow to help them get over the hardest step in the process-getting started. In the introduction, she urges the reader to set aside some time and space for writing, in a notebook, on an audio cassette, on a typewriter, or on a computer, whichever is most comfortable and convenient. Then she provides lists of reflective questions to get the juices flowing. The questions are organized by topic, including earliest memories, school life, young adulthood, marriage, children, grandchildren, and later adult years. Interspersed with these questions are quotations from unknown as well as famous published memoirists whose writing illustrates the topic at hand.

Everybody has had life experiences which are fascinating, amazing, or potentially edifying for others. The trouble is, so few of these stories ever get passed on because it's so hard to actually sit down and write them. With this book, Spence makes the task seem easy. Writers can sit down with the book, open to a page at random, and begin writing responses to her prompts. Or they can begin with the first question and work methodically through the book. Each question can easily require an entire essay to answer in full. Once the individual essays start collecting, the raw material is ready to edit into a book. Or, the answers can simply be left as drafts in the writer's notebook to be passed on to others as a legacy.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide July 27, 2004
I taped 16 hours of memories using Spence's book to interview my 87 year old father. It was a wonderful way of connecting as he lived more in the past as he aged. He was delighted to have my full attention and I enjoyed hearing his life story. The book helped me to organize material for the interviews. Last year I transcribed, edited and published the memoir as a gift for his children and grandchildren. He had seen a draft of it before his death and was thrilled that his life was recorded for posterity.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quoted from "Booklist" 10/15/97, Vol.94, No.4, pp.380 November 14, 1997
By A Customer
This review was written by Alice Joyce. As memoirs become increasingly popular reading material, so do individuals of the baby-boomer generation increasingly hunger for details about their own multigenerational family histories and the long-buried stories that, in accumulating, make up an essential heritage. Spence creates a compelling context for recording the stages of one's life. In each section, from childhood through grandparenting, Spence compiles a wealth of penetrating questions to help guide the novice and more skilled writer alike. An inward journey, it is meant to uncover intimate memories and experiences that shape the very foundation, walls and interior spaces of a personality. Quotes from authors associated with a style of mesmerizing and revelatory writing illustrate just how moving are the episodes and scenes that create the fabric of our everyday lives.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literally Step by Step August 13, 2003
This is a great book for writers whether or not you really intend to write a personal Legacy. I bought it on a whim (because I liked the concept) at Restoration (yes, the furniture store). I read through it and started writing. While working in through the book, an idea for a story I was already woriking on came to me. I became side-tracked with that idea and finshed the story which then became a series of short stories. In the meantime, I passed the book on to a friend who had retired and was thinking about writing something. I went back to some of the notes I had made while browsing through Legacy and decided to use the exercises and questions to build a set of characters, that intertwined. I used that as the base of a novel I am working on now. (I did a similar thing with the short storeis). Eventually, I do plan to go back and write a "personal" history about my family (sans me), but in the meantime, I bought another copy of Legacy for myself to use when building characters and another to spare in case I decide to pass the book on to someone else, I'll still have a copy of my own. It will get anyone writing and better yet, talking to your family. It will get you to learn about your family in a way we never really do. It's a very touching way to connect yourself to your family, yourself and to the world through great periods of time. You'll be surprised by what you learn and more so by how easy the writing comes to you. Thank you Linda for writing the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Legacy
I think this is a very good book to help someone start to think about writing herr story. It's easy to pick and choose which prompts fit your situation. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Susan Cline
5.0 out of 5 stars Our legacy is so important!
Contemplating and acting on our values for our legacy is in valuable and wise beyond words.
I love memoirs, and even more so, the clarity of of legacy...
Published 9 days ago by Perri Z.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Looks like what I am looking for to write my personal history. Easy reading and to follow the guild lines. Good guildlines.
Published 16 days ago by carol
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book to discovery your family memories
Purchased for my mother who is 84 years old. My sister asked her a few questions everyday. We have learned so much about her childhood memories. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dianne Mcdowell
5.0 out of 5 stars great seller AND book
If you are interested in letting your children/family know what it was like growing up and more, this book says it all! Read more
Published on January 8, 2012 by Dolores Gomez
4.0 out of 5 stars Life History on Video
A good reference for capturing the life history of a family member or for anyone who is interested in doing this kind of work.
Published on July 18, 2011 by Videomaker
3.0 out of 5 stars A Practical Guide to Writing your Personal Memoir
Linda Spence draws from the lives of seniors to document the stories used in "Legacy" as the model for a step by step guide to writing a personal history as a legacy for your... Read more
Published on March 13, 2011 by Richard R. Blake
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Memoir Writing Guide
As a Certified Lifewriting Instructor and a Personal Historian who works with clients to capture their life stories, I constantly search for additional materials that will be... Read more
Published on June 23, 2010 by Mary Anne Benedetto
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful professionally and personally
As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I occasionally have elderly clients, primarly women in their 80s, who struggle with depression and anxiety related to the aging process and stage... Read more
Published on April 5, 2010 by Lisa Turner
4.0 out of 5 stars Legacy - good guide
This is a book that has been very helpful when trying to remember stories throughout your life. It brings to memory issues and areas you might have never thought about. Read more
Published on February 10, 2010 by V. Sanchez
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