Tuesday, August 19, 2008

10 Questions

I'm reading this book called Legacy: A step-by-step guide to writing personal history by Linda Spence. I thought that ProfDoc lent it to me in a package of books she sent recently but when I mentioned it today she didn't seem to recognize so perhaps it came from somewhere else. Did any of you pass it along to me?

It's not exactly what I expected. In terms of a subway reading book it's been sort of a disappointment but in terms of an actual practical guide to writing autobiographically it's much better than what I thought I was getting. It's also perhaps not the calming choice when one's 98 year old grandmother is dying. Basically each chapter talks a little bit about a certain phase of life then lays out a metric shit ton (scientific term, it means a lot) of questions to prompt memories.

I'm finding the questions unexpectedly disturbing. Spence spends some time at the beginning of the book talking you through what to do in case you get to questions that unnerve you and when I read that I was prone to scoffing. Now I'm getting a little fight or flight response every couple of questions. It's illuminating. For my 10 things I'm going to hit you with 10 questions from the chapter I'm reading, "Early Adult Years." They'll be ones that speak to me in one way or another not necessarily ones that scare the shinola out of me.

1. If you were in school during your twenties and thirties why did you choose your field of study?
2. Why would you make or not make the same choices today? (as relates to field of study)
3. Tell about a teacher who inspired or encouraged you.
4. If you were working, how much were you earning? Give examples of the expenses you had to cover.
5. What were your career plans?
6. What was it like for you to leave home?
7. Who was your closest friend? How has the relationship endured over the years?
8. Tell of something you did that was adventurous.
9. Which was a road not taken and what are your thoughts about it today?
10. What were you thankful for during this period of your life?

It may be clear and it may not that these aren't meant to be short answers. However, if you wanted to throw some notes, impressions or leading statements into the comments section I bet we'd all be pretty impressed with you. I know I would be.


  1. I don't how how impressed you'll all be, but here goes:

    1. I WAS in school in BOTH my 20s and 30s. I chose to study English because a) I love it and b) I knew I could be good at it.
    2. I'd make the same choices today, though I'd probably NOT get my heart set on Deaf Ed. That proved to be a singular disaster and one that I kind of regret to this day.
    3. The lady with whom I finished my internship was and continues to be my professional model. T is inquisitive, ethical, and enthusiastic even after decades of teaching, and I hope to be just like her.
    4. I was working, but I wasn't earning currency. I raised children for 8 or so years while chipping away at grad school. I worked at fitness classes, but that doesn't really count.
    5. I would like to get settled into a long-term adjunct position at a local college or University. I'm hoping this upcoming teaching experience at L.U. opens some of those doors.
    6. It was the single most freeing and important thing I ever did. My only regret is that I didn't do it more completely.
    7. My closest friend in my 20s and 30s? Mr. Chili.
    8. Having children was DEFINITELY an adventure. I had no idea if I was ready (is anyone ever SURE they're ready for such a thing?) and parenting continues to be the primary focus in my life.
    9. The biggest road not taken was the aforementioned Deaf Ed. thing. I'm rueful about it, and disappointed. I wish I'd been a little less enthusiastic and a bit more practical and clear-headed about it.
    10. I'm thankful that there were -and continue to be - so many people in my life who serve as models, inspiration, and support as I continue to make my way toward the best me I can be.

  2. Anonymous10:19 PM

    No energy to write answers to your questions, but the book came from me - you picked it from my "I'm moving and need to lighten my load" bin. Glad you are getting something out of it!