Sunday, March 8, 2020

SOL 8/31: A Fortuitous Conversation!

Returning for year nine of writing daily in March with my Slice of Life writer friends! Check out Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life occurring every day in March.

The night before I headed to my first day at RootsTech 2020, my son asked, "Mom, do you know anyone going to this conference?" 

"No," was my simple, one word answer.

But it didn't take long for me to know several people. The two cousins I met through the Relative Finder app; the volunteer who marched me to the front desk to get a Rookie badge when she learned I was a first year attendee; Rae (my early morning meet with the fun quilted bag who I saw and chatted with again the next day); Jill, my seat buddy who answered all my questions and even gave me her home phone number for future queries; and seatmates too numerous to mention from each session I attended. 

Why do I always talk to those around me? Maybe it's because I have the gift of gab, maybe it's because I truly love people and their stories, maybe it's because turn and talk is in my teacher bones.

I am grateful for each conversation from RootsTech, but I hit the jackpot when I turned to chat with Brenda Hudson. I discovered that she was a presenter and would be leading one of the extra fee, two hour workshop sessions the next day. When I told her about my #52Stories effort for 2020 and the monthly story writing group with interested friends, she showed me her well-tabbed book, Story by Story: 15 Projects to Write Your Family Legacy. I wanted to buy it, but she had sold all her copies at an earlier session that day. We continued to chat until the session began. When I picked up my conference program, I turned to show her the words I had previously jotted under her session - "Great handout!" So even though I wouldn't be attending her sold-out workshop, I could access her handouts. As our session ended, Brenda mentioned that she might have another book in her hotel room, so I arranged to meet her the next morning, and I walked away with this incredible resource to help me in my #52Stories for 2020 project!

I used Project 13: The Letter as inspiration for SOL 4/31, #52Stories 9/52: Dear Grandma Scifres, my letter to Martha Ada Young Scifres who died ten years before I was born. Each project follows the same format: a description, a list of benefits, how-to instructions, variations to adapt the project to other storytellers or situations, an example from a finished project, and a reflection prompt. You can read more about the book, see sample pages, and purchase it (with free shipping in the United States) at Brenda's site, Voiced Life.

If you're interested in capturing your family stories, this book is the perfect companion for your journey.


  1. Wow sounds like you had a very fruitful conference in more ways than one! The book sounds intriguing.

  2. Your slice is a gold mine of resources! Thank you. I can't wait to explore all the linked sites and also love your story. Keep talking to strangers. No reason to second guess that decision.

  3. I just ordered it! I have been looking for something like this to capture my famly's stories before they are lost. Thank you for talking to others and for sharing!

  4. That sounds like a fantastic book! I really admire all of the writing and the contests that you keep up with!