Family Folktales- a book review

Lynn Dorman, Ph.D. // Aging


March 31  

Family Folktales: What Are Yours? by Karen Pierce Gonzalez

This is not only a fun book to read, it’s super helpful for those wanting to document family history and be at a loss as to where or how to start that process.

Karen likens the family history process to writing folktales – you know – those stories you loved as a child and may still love. They have heroes and heroines; great feats of daring, wild hairstyles and clothing, silly but catchy anecdotes, tunes and lyrics, etc.

Well – doesn’t your family have tales that have things just like those? Mine certainly does.

In fact, not that long ago, my now 30-year-old son and I had this conversation:

“Mom you ought to write about your life.”
“Why?” said I
“Because it’s unique,” said he
“Eh” said I

Maybe that’s part of growing up in Cambria Heights,
[Queens, New York City] in the 40’s and 50’s.

But – thus began the writing
and this display

That exchange started me writing about my own life and the words above were the opening description of a photomontage for a museum exhibit – and that montage is now expanding into an e-book.

It has grown as I write about things I remember thru phone calls with friends, family and even newer neighbors – you never know what will start the flow of thoughts and words. [I never thought that that conversation with my son would lead to where it is now going.]

So it’s great that Karen provides her readers with all sorts of useful tools and hints to get that writing brain in gear. She lists different folk “characters,” places and events that might joggle the memory, and things or items that might do likewise.

What I liked best, though, was she offers a process for actually getting the writing done and this is a good process for the doing of folktales or for whatever you might be writing.

In short: Warm up, find a “spot,” don’t try to be perfect, don’t worry about the format, don’t edit as you write and more.

She even has starting sentence stubs and blank pages in the book to get you going!

And great suggestions on how to enhance and share what you do and concludes with some sample family folktales.

It got me going just in doing this review – I’m on a writing roll again.

Thank you Karen ☺

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About the Author

Native of NYC who moved a lot, got several degrees, and has been a lifelong writer and reader... I am interested in many things - and I write [and teach] about them - especially the human lifespan and healthy aging

Lynn Dorman, Ph.D.